The National Gallery Singapore’s latest exhibition, See Me, See You: Early Video Installation of Southeast Asia, is a two-part series that explores the rich history of video installation in Southeast Asia, featuring artworks from the 1980s and 1990s made by artists who were working out of Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This free exhibition showcases the works of pioneering artists who challenged the boundaries of traditional art forms and contributed to the evolution of contemporary art in the region.
Located at the Gallery’s Ngee Ann Kongsi Concourse Gallery, the first part of See Me, See You features five Southeast Asian artists with five video art installations. To imbibe the liveliness and spirit of one of the artworks, the Gallery will be featuring live chickens and chicks for the first time for three days only, during the exhibition’s opening weekend from 5 to 7 May 2023. Visitors can expect to encounter chicks and chickens as part of the video installation, How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock (1985) by renowned Thai artist, curator and art historian Apinan Poshyananda. The artist’s intent was to draw a parallel between his own position as a newly minted lecturer at Chulalongkorn University and the young and impressionable minds of the undergraduate students who, like chicks, were docile and eager to learn. This installation uses humour and wit to explore the relationship between art and its audience. With the inclusion of live chickens and chicks, viewers will have the unique opportunity to experience this installation in a new and unexpected way. The inclusion harks back to how the artist originally included live chicks and chickens in his first exhibition of the work in 1985.
The exhibition opens to the public on the 5th of May, a day after International Respect for Chickens Day. The Gallery is working closely with Ground-Up Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to community building through nature, and the chicken welfare group, Chicken Rescue Rehome, for the loan and care of the chickens and chicks that form part of the installation, How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock. To shed light on chicken welfare in Singapore, William Lian of Chicken Rescue Rehome will be sharing about responsibly caring for chickens for a limited audience in the Spine Hall, near the entrance of the exhibition space. The talk will take place on 6 May, Saturday, at 11 am.
Visitors can also look forward to experiencing other See Me, See You artworks, most of which have not been exhibited in public for decades. For instance, See Me, See You (Revenge of the Giraffe) (1986) by Jean Marie Syjuco is an interactive piece involving an abstracted giraffe sculpture, which shows the fusion of art, playfulness, and technology. Another installation is Medium is the Message (After Marshall McLuhan) (1989) by Malaysian artist Baharudin Mohd Arus. The artwork involves a moving automaton equipped with a video camera which displays live feed on one of the two televisions it encircles. Choose (1982) by Johnny Manahan, which may be the earliest surviving video artwork in Southeast Asia, is being exhibited as a two-channel work, fulfilling the artist’s original intent. Last but not least, the exhibition also features one of the earliest multi-channel video works made in Singapore, Sin of Apathy by Chng Nai Wee. This artwork was created in response to an open call for artwork entries to the 1991 National Sculpture Exhibition, to question the contemporary condition of Singaporean society and confront the problem of indifference.
Venue: National Gallery Singapore
When: 5 May 2023 - 4 Feb 2024,
By: National Gallery Singapore