A new kind of troop storms into Gillman Barracks these days. Not of the military sort. Armed with sunnies, a keen eye and curiosity, these explorers seek a different connection. You see, these former British colonial barracks nested amidst the lush vegetation of the Alexander area form the backdrop to Singapore’s possible Renaissance of the arts.
Consisting of 13 local and international galleries, anchored by the Centre of Contemporary Art Singapore, Gillman Barracks aims to be the new contemporary art destination in Asia. With creative programming and adaptive reuse of the white structures, old columns and beams frame artworks, while halls are filled with a new vibrancy that contrast with the external old world charm.
Mizuma Gallery’s inaugral show brings Korean portraitist Hung Koo Kang to the forefront. Having held an exhibition at the Singapore Arts Museum earlier last year, Mizuma’s “Crossing Grazes” displayed pieces such that no two were of the same style or subject. Hung Koo Kang himself was present present to share thoughts and ideas behind the massive and intricate portraits, giving new light to his works, his insecurities and his inner thoughts.
The only local gallery in the cluster, FOST Gallery showcases local artworks with “Untitled” (Singapura #90). Anchoring the FOST space is Tang Da Wu’s installation “The Hamers”, creating a whirlwind of red axes that pounce upon one another, drawing one’s attention to the results of this antagonistic dance scattered across the ground. Chun Kaifeng's “Some deeper recognition is at work,” makes reference to Void Decks (the first storey) under public housing blocks. The stark and somewhat cold extraction of the recognizable space take on a different persona in the white gallery space. Ever so disjointed and yet coherent.
Unoccupied halls were filled with installations. From Donna Ong’s “And we dreamt we were birds,” paying homage to the barrack’s former use, to a giant bright pumpkin by none other than the artist of this season Yayoi Kusama from Ota Fine Arts.
Showcase complements study and fuels creation. Amidst the buzzing cicadas and the warmth of the hot tropical sun, the birth of Gillman Barracks is timely. With the development of the National Art Gallery, the International Artist Residency Programme at Gillman will faciliate the creation of pieces by emerging local and international artists, thus bringing the dialogue beyond the white walls of the gallery, into the practising realm.
Time to fall in and march on.
Galleries: Equator Art Projects, FOST Gallery, Future Perfect, Michael Janssen Gallery, Mizuma Gallery, Ota Fine Arts, Partners & Mucciaccia, ShanghART Gallery, Silverlens, Space Cottonseed, Sundaram Tagore Gallery Singapore, The Drawing Room, Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore
Address: 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00 (Sunday until 18:00)
Closed on Monday
Text and photos: Fann ZJ