Reﬂecting Singapore’s unique geographical location, the National Gallery Singapore features Southeast Asian modern art providing a critical survey of the region’s artistic developments. Occupying two important heritage buildings, the City Hall and the former Supreme Court, the Gallery occupies about 64,000 square metres. It’s the largest visual arts institution in Singapore.
Today’s art museums function as anchor points in the fast changing cultural landscapes of our societies. In particular, the Gallery highlights the inherent tensions in mediating between the presentation of the art historical development of a country and the nationalist imperative to represent the nation through art. This is further complicated in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, where nationalism and nationhood have served as important themes in artistic modernism, at the same time as the modern art of Singapore has served as a space to potentiate individual expression. How can national galleries, which are tied to national histories, tell stories of art that are fully responsive to the changing contemporary conditions of art today? What does it mean to stake a regional perspective in contrast with a global one?
Through its two permanent galleries, the Gallery will examine the shared historical impulses in the region, highlighting the complexities and relationships between national and regional art histories. This is further complemented by projects which contextualise these developments within a wider global context.
- Opening of the National Gallery Singapore, courtesy of My Art Guides editorial team