Why Art is Always Better in Person

Denise Law

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At Gillman Barracks, several contemporary artworks champion the use of various mediums, from hyperrealism to a multisensory showcase

I recall standing in front of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ in the grandeur of The Belvedere Palace and thinking that this is a scenario one can’t replicate anywhere else. And I’m not just talking about it in the physical sense.

There’s a dime a dozen of Gustav Klimt souvenir shops in Vienna, that having the art imprinted on a mug, tea towel or license plate just doesn’t qualify one to say that they’ve actually seen his work.

That’s not to say that one has to travel halfway across the globe to experience such creative phenomena. Gillman Barracks has been campaigning for such moments, where it is home to ten resident galleries. The myriad of artworks, ranging from local artists to celebrated international figures, have decked the vast white halls of these preserved barracks with colourful canvases to larger-than-life installations.

Mucciaccia Gallery

Have your cake and eat it … almost. ‘Candyland’ is Roberto Bernardi’s interpretation and materialisation of the happiest things on earth — oversized candy that will give Willy Wonka a run for his money. The hyperrealism in his still life paintings are executed to a tee, where cellophane-wrapped lollipops and massive jars of confectionery would fool anyone to reach out for a taste.

This supposed “trickery” is part of Bernadi’s intention to “move in each of us our subconscious emotions, to undermine our certainties, and project us towards a new dimension.” The showcase, which is Bernadi’s first solo exhibition at Mucciaccia Gallery, also evokes child-like fascination with colour and oversized objects, the latter to signify an “inexplicable sense of restlessness of childhood dreams.”

Candyland
12 June – 19 Sep
Mucciaccia Gallery

Ota Fine Arts

Now here’s some art that isn’t meant to be seen from the front. Comprising over 50 wooden panels, Resume is artist Tsuyoshu Hisakado’s latest installation at Ota Fine Arts, a Japanese contemporary fine arts gallery.

Each panel is painted in fluorescent colours of pink, yellow and orange, with their painted sides facing inwards. What transpires is a colourful display emitted from natural lighting, which bounces off these canvases and unto the empty walls. This conceptual installation transforms the gallery into a multisensory experience, where it’s accompanied by a 6,000Hz sine wave that’s emitted from the speakers.

The message, while hard to grasp at first, is Hisakado’s address of embracing the new normal amidst the pandemic. The subtle nuances, like his attention to the soft glow of colours, symbolises Hisakado’s internal ambitions and ideas, where the inward- and downward-facing panels are “a metaphor for things that were put on hold.”

Tsuyoshi Hisakado: Resume
14 Aug – 25 Sep
Ota Fine Arts

FOST Gallery

Singapore can only hold so much, granted that the island spans just over 700 sq km. But what this local collective at FOST Gallery shows is perspectives from Singaporean artists that view our space in ways you and I wouldn’t think to look. And that perhaps is the real beauty of art altogether.

Comprising six artists, The Lie of the Land is a celebration of Singapore’s 56 years of independence, and the depiction of life we’ve all claimed as ours, especially being holed up in our homes during the pandemic. It’s part-love story, part-political message, and still life all rolled into one, as these homegrown artists capture Singapore in vastly different ways.

Photographer Sim Chi Yin captures the relatively mundane port of Tuas from above in her Shifting Sands series, which reflects on Singapore’s evergoing port of trade. Sound artist Zul Mahmod continues to intrigue with his installations, in this one titled No Substance. Constructed with science apparatus, microcontrollers and other bits and bobs, this showcase is both a visual and aural treat.

The Lie of the Land
7 Aug – 17 Oct
FOST Gallery

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