National Art Gallery of Singapore

with

Coordinates: 1°17′24.9″N 103°51′05.6″E / 1.29025°N 103.851556°E / 1.29025; 103.851556

National Art Gallery, Singapore
Established Estimated to be completed by 2014, official opening in 2015
Location Downtown Core of Singapore (City Hall MRT station)
Type Singapore, Southeast Asian art, International art
Website http://nationalartgallery.sg/

The National Art Gallery, Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡国家美术馆; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō guójiā meishùguǎn) is a planned art gallery to be located in the Downtown Core of Singapore. It will incorporate two national monuments, the Old Supreme Court Building and City Hall, and is scheduled for its official launch in 2015. The National Art Gallery aims to provide an understanding and appreciation of art and culture through a variety of media, focusing on Singapore's culture and heritage and its relationship with the cultures of the Southeast Asian region, in Asia, and the world.

Contents

About The National Art Gallery, Singapore

logo of The Gallery
Interim logo and working title for the Gallery

The National Art Gallery, Singapore (working title) is a new institution which will contribute towards positioning Singapore as a regional and international hub for visual arts. It manages the world’s largest public collection of modern Southeast Asian and Singapore art. The Gallery focuses on displaying, promoting and researching these artworks, relating them to the wider Asian and international contexts, and hosting international art exhibitions.[1]

Situated in the heart of the Civic District, the City Hall and adjacent former Supreme Court building — two important heritage buildings symbolic of Singapore’s nationhood - will be converted to house this exciting new visual arts venue, and is anticipated to be completed by 2015. The National Art Gallery will be a civic and creative space, established for the enrichment, enjoyment and engagement of Singapore residents and visitors from all over the world.

The Gallery will also be an integrated development that could include food and beverage and retail components to make it a lifestyle destination within Singapore's Civic District, which overlooks the Padang. The government targets to attract one million visitors a year to the Gallery. The combined floor area of 60,000 square metres [2] at the Old Supreme Court Building and City Hall will be developed at a total cost of S$532 million.[3][4] The National Art Gallery will have at least 11,000 square metres of exhibition space.[5]

Gallery Objectives

  • Research, exhibit and promote Southeast Asian artworks for the enjoyment of all
  • To be a central civic space, providing a platform for artistic expression and learning as well as a lifestyle destination, built for the engagement, enjoyment and enrichment of Singaporeans and visitors
  • Facilitate exchange of knowledge through regional partnerships and collaboration with other institutions
  • Drive, develop and foster visual arts development in Singapore and Southeast Asia, as well as establish a leading position in the international museums and galleries scene
  • Inform and educate audiences, through multi-sensory media and engaging experiences

Board of Directors

History

The need for a National Art Gallery

With a vision of becoming a global city for the arts, Singapore has carefully nurtured the arts and culture scene over the past two decades. The island city has witnessed increasing attendance and participation in key events and festivals such as the Singapore Biennale, Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Art Show. These events have helped propel Singapore onto the international scene, highlighting her prominence as an international arts hub - a place where the global arts community can come together for exchange and collaboration.

At his National Day Rally speech on 21 August 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned the government's plan to convert the Old Supreme Court Building and City Hall into a new national art gallery.[6] On 2 September 2006, Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts officially announced the setting up of the National Art Gallery of Singapore, during the Singapore Biennale 2006 at the National Museum of Singapore.[1]

The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) proceeded to implement a process designed to enable stakeholders and interested parties to contribute their expertise and their views to the project. A steering committee, chaired by Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MICA, oversees the art gallery's implementation plan. The steering committee is supported by an executive committee and four advisory groups. The advisory groups provide advice on museology, architectural conservation, finance and communications.[1]

Design competition

On 23 February 2007, MICA, together with the Singapore Institute of Architects, launched a two-stage architectural design competition to identify the most suitable architect and design for the National Art Gallery.[7][8][9] The first stage of the competition called for design and concept proposals, and began on March 19 with a site tour of the two buildings for competing architects to get design concepts and ideas.[10] It drew 111 entries from 29 countries worldwide, with five proposals shortlisted in May 2007. Members of the jury consist of a panel of eminent local and international professionals headed by Tommy Koh, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large and chairman of the National Heritage Board, and include officials from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet in France and the Asian Civilisations Museum.[11][12][13][14]

For the second stage, the shortlisted candidates had to develop their designs, from which the winning proposal will be selected by the jury. As the Old Supreme Court Building and City Hall are national monuments, certain aspects of the buildings cannot be altered, such as the façade, the Surrender Chamber, the office of Singapore's founding Prime Minister and the panelling in four rooms of the Supreme Court. However, this still leaves open many design options such as the addition of roof and basement floors.[5] The participants also had to submit entries within a budget of S$320 million.[12][13]

On 29 August 2007, the seven-member international jury panel named the top three designs out of the five shortlisted.[12] The three firms — Studio Milou Architecture from France, Ho + Hou Architects from Taiwan, and Chan Sau Yan Associates from Singapore — each received S$150,000. The jury made their decision after appraising models and digital mock-ups, as well as engaging the five finalists in a presentation and question-and-answer session.[13] The other two firms that were shortlisted in the first stage are DP Architects and Australia's Smart Design Studio.[14][15]

An exhibition of the five finalists' proposals was held at City Hall in October 2007, and the public will be invited to give feedback on the designs, programmes and events. The jury's decision will be presented to MICA, which will then decide on who to commission to design and build the art gallery. An announcement on the final design was made in the first quarter of 2008.[11][13][14]

Architectural proposals

France's Studio Milou Architecture, in collaboration with CPG Consultants from Singapore, designed a linear draped canopy supported by tree-like columns to link the Old Supreme Court Building and City Hall at the roof level. The design incorporates an extended staircase linking the basement to the upper levels, and makes use of solar energy to provide electricity. Fine metal mesh has been proposed to cover most of City Hall. Panel members agreed it had "the most delightful design and appeal", and was ranked first among the top three designs.[12][13][15][16]

Working together with AEDAS from Singapore, Taiwan's Ho + Hou Studio's design keeps the two buildings separate above ground, but links them at the basement. Its proposal includes building a framework of tall columns in wood laminate which resemble the stilts structures of a kelong. Natural light is controlled through lattices and louvres through a glazed roof. It was praised by the jury for its "well-thought-through arrangement of its terraced gallery and related spaces", and was ranked second.[11][12][13][15][16]

Singapore's Chan Sau Yan Associates partnered with environmental design company Lekker Design, and their design involves building a main entry portal between the two buildings. The firm created an extra storey on the roof of City Hall, which can be used as additional gallery space. The design has translucent walls that allow viewers to see the adjacent historic walls of City Hall and the former Supreme Court. Overhead bridges are used to connect both buildings, and the naturally lit and ventilated entrance helps to conserve energy. The design was complimented by the jury for its "pure simplicity and clever integration of spaces".[11][12][13][15]

DP Architects sought to retain the buildings' original character and uses moving images on screen to create movement, while Smart Design Studio's design sports orchid-inspired structures and has a "porous" internal street.[15]

Winner of competition and appointed contractor

Perspective of the future Gallery
Perspective of the future Gallery

In May 2008, Studio Milou Singapore, in partnership with CPG Consultants (Singapore), was appointed to design and build the National Art Gallery.

Studio Milou Architecture is a French architectural firm, with branches in Paris and Singapore that specialise in the design of museums and cultural spaces. Led by principal architect and lead partner Jean-Francois Milou, the firm has a reputation for working with adaptive reuse of historical buildings, seeking imaginative solutions while respecting the building’s historical fabric, meaning and surroundings.[17]

CPG Consultants, a subsidiary of CPG Corporation, is a multi-disciplinary design consultancy firm. Headquartered in Singapore, CPG Consultants has extensive expertise in conservation and preservation of buildings. To date, the company has completed over 20 such projects in Singapore, most of which are gazetted monuments.[18]

On 21 December 2010, The National Art Gallery, Singapore appointed Takenaka-Singapore Piling Joint Venture as the main construction contractor for the new Gallery. The construction works on the buildings will start in January 2011 and is predicted to be completed in about 44 months. The Gallery is slated to open progressively from end 2014 onwards.[3][4][19]

The Buildings

Both the City Hall[20] and former Supreme Court[21] buildings are national monuments and have played a significant role in Singapore’s history. The buildings face onto an open field known as the Padang, which is a Malay word meaning “flat field”.

Former Supreme Court

The Former Supreme Court building was built on the site of the former Grand Hotel de l’Europe, one of the most palatial hotels in Southeast Asia that was demolished in 1936. Designed by Frank Dorrington Ward, Chief Architect of the Public Works Department, the former Supreme Court building was built to house Supreme Court offices and courtrooms and was declared open on 3 August 1939.[22]

The former Supreme Court building is the former courthouse of the Supreme Court of Singapore, before it moved out of the building and commenced operations in the new building on 20 June 2005.

The architecture of the former Supreme Court building is in harmony with that of its neighbour, the City Hall. The general layout of the building exemplifies British colonial architecture, comprising four blocks of offices and courtrooms surrounding a central rotunda with a dome, originally used to house a circular law library. It was to be the last classical building to be built in Singapore. United Engineers Ltd was the contractor for the building.[21]

The Corinthian and Ionic columns, sculptures and relief panels were the works of Italian artist, Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli.

City Hall

Designed by the British Municipal architect A Gordon, the City Hall building was built between 1926 and 1929, and was originally known as the Municipal Building. It is used to house the offices of the Municipal Council, which was responsible for the provision of water, electricity, gas, roads and bridges and streetlighting.[20] From 1963 to 1991, City Hall came to house offices of several government departments and courtrooms.

The City Hall building has been the focal point of many important events in the history of Singapore. It was in the City Hall building that Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces on 12 September 1945, on behalf of the Allied forces.[23] The building also housed the office of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore. Mr Lee and members of his Cabinet took their Oaths of Allegiance and Oaths of Office on 5 June 1959 in the City Hall Chamber. It was gazetted on 14 February 1992 as a national monument.

The original layout of City Hall is a typical example of neoclassical British architecture. The building’s interior is modestly proportioned, but its front façade is distinguished by 18 three storey high Corinthian columns facing the Padang.

The National Art Gallery, Singapore

At 60,000 square metres in size,[2] the National Art Gallery will be the largest visual arts venue and largest museum in Singapore. The proposed design for the new National Art Gallery elegantly integrates the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings, creating a unique blend between the old and the new. It introduces contemporary architecture to rejuvenate the old, while maintaining a deep respect for the original architecture of these buildings. A new basement level will be created, connecting the two buildings, providing a large concourse area for visitor services. Connecting bridges between the buildings will also allow visitors to move easily between the buildings.[24]

The Galleries

  • Singapore Gallery - presents an authoritative collection of Singapore art from the 19th century and colonial period, to present day
  • Southeast Asia Gallery- showcases Southeast Asian works, introducing visitors to the art historical developments in the region and their relationship to Singapore art
  • Special set of Research Galleries - complements the core galleries, providing space for curators and researchers to experiment with new and innovative ways of presenting materials from the Gallery’s permanent collection, and to encourage greater dialogue between our national collection, and those of other regional institutions
  • Changing gallery spaces – almost 6,000 square metres of spaces providing opportunities to host and jointly curate international travelling exhibitions

The Rooftop Plaza

A distinctive metal and glass canopy, supported by tree-like columns, integrates the buildings at roof level, creating a civic plaza in the sky. Bathed in unfiltered, natural light, the rooftop plaza will be a premier day and night destination, vibrant with performances, exhibitions, talks, events and eateries. Visitors can dine at one of several restaurants or cafés, or walk through displays of some of the largest pieces of modern and contemporary art, while enjoying spectacular views of the city.

Programme and Facilities

By day, the Gallery will offer learning and education opportunities for all, through its engaging exhibition displays, artist talks, children’s programmes and other related activities. By night, the Gallery will transform into a stylish and vibrant after dark venue, with a good variety of restaurants and cafés for eating and drinking, as well as an exciting line-up of outdoor programmes, events, film screenings and concerts for all visitors.

The National Art Gallery will also provide venues for hire for conferences, seminars, film screenings, performances and private functions. The Gallery will house a 300-seat auditorium, another 200-seat white box performance venue, and several function and seminar room spaces for various types of events and corporate functions.

Collection and Display

The National Art Gallery will focus on displaying 19th and 20th century Southeast Asian art, including Singapore art. Through a comprehensive collection, the Gallery will present the development of Singapore and regional cultures, so as to tell the story of their social, economic and political histories.

While the body of works at the National Art Gallery falls largely within the area of modern art, the Gallery strives towards understanding the collection in new and varied ways – taking on a contemporary approach and interpretation of the development of Southeast Asian art. The Gallery will look beyond national and regional boundaries of art, and take on a wider ambit of international visual arts culture, research into our Asian heritage and cultural affiliations, and engage with global cultures and discourses.

Singapore’s National Collection started with an original bequest of 93 works made to the National Museum in 1976, by the well-known cinema magnate and art patron, Dato Loke Wan Tho. Through careful nurturing over the years, this collection has grown significantly to approximately 8,000 pieces in 2010. The National Heritage Board is presently the custodian of this collection, the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art.

The collection's strength lies in its comprehensive representation of Singapore art and its unparalleled holdings of works by major Singaporean artists such as Georgette Chen, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi, Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang. Through an active acquisition policy of purchases and donations, the collection now spans from early 20th century naturalistic paintings to contemporary video installations. The collection also holds significant pieces from Southeast Asian artists of international standing, such as Affandi (Indonesia), Latiff Mohidin (Malaysia), Le Pho (Vietnam), Montien Boonma (Thailand) and Fernando Cueto Amorsolo (Philippines). Apart from displays within Singapore, this collection has also travelled to international museums and exhibition venues in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Current and past exhibitions

Exhibition Artist Synopsis Exhibition period
Liu Kang: A Centennial Celebration [25] Liu Kang This exhibition is held in commemoration of the artist’s centennial year of birth. Featuring 100 works by Liu Kang, this exhibition invites visitors on a journey of exploration into the life and mind of the artist. 29 July 2011 - 16 October 2011
Seeing the Kites Again Series II Wu Guanzhong This exhibition is inspired by the late master Wu Guanzhong’s metaphor of a kite and how it expresses the connection between an artist, his life and the people around him. The current exhibition showcases some of Wu’s most outstanding works produced from 1960s to 2000s in the oil and ink medium. 13 June 2011 - 12 November 2012
Notable Acquisitions Exhibition - An on-going display of works from the museum’s donation collection. New works are added to the permanent collection through the donations of individuals and corporations. On-going
In memory of Wu Guanzhong:Seeing the Kites Again Wu Guanzhong An exhibition held to showcase the works donated by Mr Wu Guanzhong, a leading Chinese painter, art educator and essayist in the 20th century. He was known for the crossing and synthesis of two major art forms - ink and oil. 14 December 2009 - 1 May 2011
Cheong Soo Pieng: Bridging Worlds[26] Cheong Soo Pieng Cheong Soo Pieng: Bridging Worlds celebrates the works and creative processes of one of Singapore’s local art pioneers. This exhibition chronicles the journey and artistic process of a man who lived, breathed, and reshaped art. 15 September 2010 - 26 December 2010
The Story of Yeh Chi Wei[27] Yeh Chi Wei Yeh Chi Wei led the Ten Men Group on painting expeditions to Southeast Asian countries and was a great source of inspiration and encouragement to many other artists. This exhibition showcased Yeh’s artistic achievements and celebration of Southeast Asia through art. 27 May 2010 - 12 September 2010
Realism In Asian Art[28] Various Realism in Asian Art explored the impact of realist approaches to painting in different parts of Asia. This exhibition displayed the different kinds of realism that were produced across Asia and was the first-ever attempt to understand a strong and important genre in Asian modern art. 9 April 2010 - 4 July 2010

Travelling Shows

Exhibition Venue Period Synopsis
East Meets West – The Exhibition of Wu Guangzhong’s Paintings[29] Zhejiang Art Museum 20 November to 25 December 2010 The artworks of the late master Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong belonging to Singapore was exhibited at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou. Titled East Meets West – The Exhibition of Wu Guangzhong’s Paintings, it comprised a total of 307 works of art by Wu, of which 76 will hail from Singapore’s national collection. Singapore’s contribution of works was the second largest amongst the eight participating art institutions.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c "Speech by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Gala Reception of Singapore Biennale 2006, 2 September 2006, 8.00 PM at the National Museum of Singapore". Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (Singapore). 2006-09-02. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20070613012438/http://www.mica.gov.sg/pressroom/press_070320.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  2. ^ a b This is about four times the size of the Singapore Art Museum: Adeline Chia (15 May 2007). "5 art gallery designs picked: Two Singapore teams are among those shortlisted in the design competition for the National Art Gallery". The Straits Times. 
  3. ^ a b Cheow Xinyi (22 December 2010). "Construction for art gallery to start next month". TODAY. p. 4. 
  4. ^ a b Linette Lim (28 December 2010). "Former Supreme Court, City Hall to be restored for $530m". The Business Times. p. 7. 
  5. ^ a b Parvathi Nayar (21 March 2007). "New National Art Gallery to jazz up visual arts scene: Very preliminary projections target a million visitors a year". The Business Times. 
  6. ^ In his National Day Rally speech on 21 August 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mapped out his vision to remake Singapore and called on everyone to play a part: "Remaking Singapore as a vibrant global city". The Straits Times. 23 August 2005. 
  7. ^ Tay Suan Chiang (14 February 2007). "Ideas sought for crafting national art gallery: Search on for design team to convert historic buildings into art hub". The Straits Times. 
  8. ^ Pamela Jill Chew (14 February 2007). "Arts scene to get a boost from Mica this year: New art gallery design contest to be launched Feb 23". The Business Times. 
  9. ^ Tay Suan Chiang (21 March 2007). "Wanted: Best design for gallery". The Straits Times. 
  10. ^ "Wanted: Ideas for National Art Gallery". The Straits Times. 28 February 2007. 
  11. ^ a b c d Tay Suan Chiang (30 August 2007). "Three designs shortlisted for National Art Gallery". The Straits Times. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Tay Suan Chiang (30 August 2007). "Art Gallery Design Contest: 3 designs that balance appeal and function". The Straits Times. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Nazry Bahrawi (30 August 2007). "New art gallery: Designs shortlisted: National Art Gallery due to be completed by 2012". Today. p. 4. 
  14. ^ a b c Glenda Chong (2007-08-29). "Three winning designs picked for National Art Gallery". Channel NewsAsia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/296738/1/.html. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  15. ^ a b c d e "Three dramatic winning designs selected for National Arts Gallery". The Business Times. 30 August 2007. 
  16. ^ a b Tay Suan Chiang (31 August 2007). "Canopy idea ranked first in Art Gallery designs". The Straits Times. p. L4. 
  17. ^ "studioMilou museum". http://www.studiomilou.fr/page.php?lang=en. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "CPG Profile". http://www.cpgcorp.com.sg/corporate/profile.asp. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "BBR clinches restoration deal". The Straits Times. 28 December 2010. p. STHM-Money B15. 
  20. ^ a b "City Hall". http://www.pmb.sg/?page_id=210. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Former Supreme Court". http://www.pmb.sg/?page_id=216. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Supreme Court:History". http://app.supremecourt.gov.sg/default.aspx?pgID=39#C4. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  23. ^ "Japanese Surrender". http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_123_2005-02-03.html. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  24. ^ "Liu Kang". http://nationalartgallery.sg/liukangexhibition. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Cheong Soo Pieng". http://nationalartgallery.sg/csp. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  26. ^ "Yeh Chi Wei". http://nationalartgallery.sg/ycw. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  27. ^ "Realism in Asian Art". http://nationalartgallery.sg/realism/index.html. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "Largest collection of Wu Guanzhong ever, at Zhejiang Art Museum". People's Daily Online (China). 17 November 2010. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/7201951.html. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 

Further reading

Bibliography

  • National Art Gallery, Singapore, 2009. Light & Movement Portrayed: The Art of Anthony Poon. ISBN 978-981-08-3545-3
  • Yeo Wei Wei (editor), 2010. Realism in Asia Volume One. National Art Gallery, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-5349-5
  • National Art Gallery, Singapore, 2010. The Story of Yeh Chi Wei. ISBN 978-981-08-5026-5
  • Grace Tng, Seng Yu Jin & Yeo Wei Wei, 2010. Cheong Soo Pieng: Visions of Southeast Asia. National Art Gallery, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-6422-4
  • Yeo Wei Wei & Ye Shufang, 2010. Salted Fish. National Art Gallery, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-6444-6
  • National Art Gallery, Singapore, 2010. When I Grow Up I Want to Paint Like Cheong Soo Pieng (CSP Colouring Book). ISBN 978-981-08-6888-8
  • Sara Siew (ed), 2011. Liu Kang: Essays on Art and Culture. National Art Gallery, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-7675-3
  • Yeo Wei Wei (ed), 2011. Asian Artists Series - Liu Kang: Colourful Modernist. National Art Gallery, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-8675-2
  • National Art Gallery, Singapore, 2011. When I Grow Up I Want to Paint Like Liu Kang. ISBN 978-981-08-7997-6

External links


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