Canonisation is apparently no longer a task meant for the descendants. Our Singapore contributor looks at the sticky relationship between contemporary art and art history.
By Eva McGovern
From February – May 2009 Ossage Gallery, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong is presenting Some Rooms, an exhibition that is a slice of contemporary art from Southeast Asia. 5 Curators were paired with two artists (selected by Ossage) each from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and, (strangely in my mind) Hong Kong. I had the opportunity to work as one of the curators, and managed to learn an incredible amount about curating, about creating meaning, about categorising artists by nationality and the challenges of representation.
It is not uncommon for me to be stumped whenever I am asked for a reading list on contemporary art in Southeast Asia. So much of what I know is acquired through fieldwork, contacts, long hours spent talking to artists, curators, historians, critics. So little of this knowledge (gossips, legends, histories, theories) has yet to be documented and written down, analysed and most importantly shared.
by Johnny McGeorge
“The ancients built Valdrada on the shores of a lake, with houses all verandas one above the other, and high streets whose railed parapets look out over the water. Thus the traveler, arriving, sees two cities: one erect above the lake, and the other reflected, upside down…” (from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino)