The Singapore Art Museum and Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Foundation announced the APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018 finalist artworks today, which will be on view at an exhibition held from 25 May to 2 September 2018 at the National Museum of Singapore, the venue supporter for the Prize’s finalist exhibition.
The triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize spotlights outstanding examples of contemporary art from emerging and established artists produced over the last three years, and for this fourth edition, has expanded in scope to include Central Asia in addition to the Asia Pacific region. The Prize is worth SGD 100,000, with SGD 60,000 awarded to the Grand Prize winner and SGD 15,000 each for two Jurors’ Choice Award winners. A People’s Choice Award of SGD 10,000 will also be offered to the artwork that receives the highest number of public votes on-site at the exhibition. The winners of APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018 will be announced after an awards ceremony on 29 June 2018.
This year’s finalist artworks were selected by a panel of distinguished jurors comprising Mami Kataoka (Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo), Bose Krishnamachari (President of the Kochi Biennale Foundation), Joyce Toh (Head of Content and Senior Curator at the Singapore Art Museum), Dr. Gerard Vaughan (Director of National Gallery of Australia) and Wong Hoy Cheong (artist and independent curator). The 15 finalist works were chosen from 113 artworks nominated from over 40 countries and territories. Ranging from painting to video and installation, the finalist artworks span the length, breadth and diversity of the Asian continent and beyond, hailing from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Over the course of the exhibition, visitors can look forward to artist performances, artist and curator dialogue sessions, panel discussions with the jurors, and various talks with artists, specialists and representatives from the art community, all of which will delve deeper into contemporary art practices of the region, as well as the themes explored by the artworks.
Finalist artworks for the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018
- Based extensively on archival material, Malaysian artist Au Sow Yee’s mixed media installation The Kris Project (2016) reimagines history by collapsing the divide between fact and fiction. Juxtaposing found footage from existing films with documentaries of wartime Malaya, the resulting narrative presents a fragmented, hypothetical history of Southeast Asia.
- A contemporary take on traditional rituals, South Korean artist Bae Young-whan’s four-channel video, titled Abstract Verb – Can you remember? (2016), features a feather-clad performer dancing and gyrating to a pounding, percussive beat – an interpretation of shamanistic dance rituals of various communities for an MTV age.
- Japanese artist Chikako Yamashiro’s Mud man (2016) addresses issues of cultural identity, geopolitics and the persistence of historical memory. Through a video shot in Okinawa and Jeju Island, the work features a lyrical and enigmatic narrative of a community of people awakened to poems of their history, nature, and other similar communities.
- Ex Nilalang (Balud, Dyesebel, Lola ex Machina) (2015) by Australian artist collective Club Ate, comprising Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra, is a video trilogy that reimagines Filipino myth and popular culture as celebratory narratives, drawing upon the artists’ personal experiences as Filipino-Australians in an exploration of cultural and gender identity.
- Taiwanese artist Fang Wei-wen’s Republic of Rubber Tape (2016), features a structure that recalls his childhood home: the Kampong Ayer (Malay for “water village”) in Brunei Darussalam, built entirely of wooden stilt houses and connecting walkways. Tape that surrounds the installation recalls countries’ boundaries as depicted in maps, portraying an imaginary realm inspired by the artist’s adolescence.
- A painting teeming with depictions of everyday life in Bali, interspersed with the artist’s own versions of famous paintings from Western and Indonesian art history, Indonesian artist Gede Mahendra Yasa’s After Paradise Lost #1 (2014) portrays an entire imaginary universe. The work also serves as a political analogy, with divisions between important figures of history and ordinary crowds broken down.
- Sculptures of 20 sleeping animals make up Indian artist Jitish Kallat’s The Infinite Episode (2016), depicting a zoological utopia, where the state of rest renders aspects of size, location and hierarchy irrelevant. The work prompts questions on coexistence and inequity – urgent issues that remain relevant to the human species.
- Museum of the Lost and He was lost yesterday and we found him today (2015) by Hong Kong-based husband-and-wife duo Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong, portrays unidentifiable figures in a series of staged photographs that are based on images from their collection of archival material. Through the amplified presentation of these minor characters forgotten by history, the work questions the biases of historical representation.
- Kaokao #1 (2014) by Mata Aho Collective from New Zealand is a sprawling installation of high-visibility tape produced from a form of Māori weaving, and featuring a chevron-sharped design called a kaokao. Conflating the military association of the chevron with the traditional use of the kaokao pattern on birthing mats, the artwork is a tribute to the strength and endurance of women.
- Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen’s Tropical Siesta (2015–2017), is a 2-channel video installation that tells an imaginary tale of a rural Vietnam populated only by children. Set in an agricultural community, they reenact the observations recorded by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (considered the father of the romanised Vietnamese script) as he travelled through Vietnam in the 17th century.
- Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao’s interactive installation, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book. Vol I: Written in the Margins (2014–2016) (2014–2016), interrogates issues surrounding the destruction of books and libraries. The installation includes drawings, a book on the topic written by the artist herself, and a series of videos featuring testimonies from individuals involved in such incidents, such as firefighters who tried to save libraries on fire, and cultural workers who smuggled books and paintings to safety.
- Alluding to the recent socio-political turmoil in his home country, Thai artist Thasnai Sethaseree’s Untitled (Hua Lamphong) (2016) is a vibrant collage of coloured paper streamers overlaid on a canvas of Buddhist monks’ robes, enfolding into its surface images of modern architecture, political violence in Thailand and printed texts of the new Thai Constitution, fusing symbols of everyday life and political upheaval.
- Vietnamese-American artist collective The Propeller Group’s AK-47 vs. M16 (2015) is a re-creation of the one in a billion chance of two bullets, shot from opposing sides of a battle, colliding into each other. The colliding bullets from an AK47, invented by the Soviets, and an M16, the brainchild of the U.S. army, highlights the horrifying scale of wartime and political violence throughout 20th century history.
- Kazakh artist Yerbossyn Meldibekov’s Brand (2014–2015) comprise a series of leather panels crafted from the branded hide of the grunting ox, a species native to the highlands of Central Asia. Juxtaposing the use of natural materials from the region against the iconography of numeric symbols, the work also bears darker connotations, such as to similar atrocities committed during the second World War.
- An installation comprising concrete sculpture fragments, found objects and several videos, Japanese artist Yuichiro Tamura’s Milky Bay / 裏切りの海 (2016) explores the image and the idea of the body, based on the life of famed Japanese author, Yukio Mishima. Also informning the work are various narratives that make reference to episodes of post-war history in which bodies and the male physique feature prominently.
Exhibition: APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2018
By: Presented by APB Foundation and organised by the Singapore Art Museum
Dates: 25 May to 2 September 2018
Venue: National Museum of Singapore