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NTU CCA Singapore Exhibitions is focused on contemporary artistic production that provides a critical platform for reflection and discussion. The exhibition programme embraces artistic production in all its diverse media with a commitment to current debates in visual culture. NTU CCA Singapore presents up to four exhibitions a year ranging in format from group to solo shows giving voice to a diversity of international artists. Each exhibition is accompanied by an extensive public programme of tours, talks and workshops that foster reflections on the exhibition from various perspectives and disciplines.

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No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia

10 May 2014 — 20 July 2014

No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative which was launched in April 2012, a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art practice in three geographic regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—and encompasses curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven education programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection.

Curated by June Yap, No Country at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore brought the artworks back to the Southeast Asia region from which many of the artists hail and called for an even closer examination of regional cultural representations and relations. This return suggests the possibility of a renewed understanding through a process of mutual rediscovery that transcends physical and political borders. The exhibition in Singapore also marked the debut of two works from the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund not previously shown as part of No Country: Loss by Sheela Gowda and Morning Glory by Sopheap Pich.

Public programmes

Artists’ Talks – Sheela Gowda, Navin Rawanchaikul, Norberto Roldan
10 May 2014, Sat 3:00pm - 5:00pm

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Three exhibition artists lead talks as part of No Country public programme of events. In addition to speaking about their artwork in the exhibition, they discussed their artistic methods in the context of national identity and the way in which their works in the exhibition, within the framework of their art practices, explore conceptions of borders, both imagined and real.

Navin Rawanchaikul is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Fukuoka, Japan. His painting Places of Rebirth (2009) presented in the exhibition was inspired by the artist’s first visit to Pakistan, the birthplace of his ancestors. The work narrates his family’s migration to Thailand in pursuit of new opportunities during the aftermath of 1947’s partition of South Asia.

Norberto Roldan is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Manila, Philippines. His painting F-16 (2012) presented in the exhibition explores the subject of power negotiation and geopolitical relations through reflection of the colonisation of the Philippines and in conjunction with events on today’s global stage.

Sheela Gowda is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Bangalore. The subject of her work Loss (2008) is the region of Kashmir, which is bordered by India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan. Through six photographs originally taken by Safiya Lone, the artist attempts to reconcile the separation between the complexities of the region and her own mediated experience thereof.

Lecture: A Tour of Indian Independent Documentary and Video - Ashish Rajadhyaksha
14 Jun 2014, Sat 3:00pm - 5:00pm

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In India, until as recently as the early 1980s, documentaries were only produced by its government. The Films Division, of the Government of India, was one of the world’s largest documentary producers, making several hundred films, which had to be compulsorily screened in India’s movie theatres.

Independent documentary cinema takes off only from the early 1980s. In the 2000s, India has become one of the world’s most vibrant spaces for documentary, and it now includes numerous filmmakers working in forms that move from classical observational documentary to deeply personal, inward-looking films; films that engage in human rights movement, to films that work on the edge of fiction.

In the last five years, such documentary has increasingly worked closely with social media, video art, and in some recent instances reality-television.

The presentation introduced, with several examples, a brief history of Indian documentary and its experimental video. It included clips of films made over the past 40 years, including films by Anand Patwardhan, Deepa Dhanraj, Sanjay Kak, Amar Kanwar, Paromita Vohra, and video experiments by the Raqs Media Collective, CAMP, Ranbir Singh Kaleka, and many others.

Ashish Rajadhyaksha is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore India. He has published widely on Indian cinema, India’s cultural policy, and on the visual arts, and has curated a number of film and art events, including Bombay/Mumbai 1991­­–2001.

Rajadhyasha was in Singapore as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Cultural Studies in Asia Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. While at ARI, he was working on volume two of his Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid project; volume one, Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid From Bollywood to the Emergency, was published in 2009.

Forum: The Attraction of Representation - The Otolith Group, Marian Pastor Roces, T.K. Sabapthy, June Yap
21 Jun 2014, Sat 3:00pm - 5:30pm

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A forum featuring The Otolith Group, Marian Pastor Roces, T. K. Sabapathy and June Yap.

The idea of “country” powerfully embodies notions of identity, belonging, community and genealogy. When viewers engage global contemporary art, there is often the reflex to locate the artist by ethnicity and geography. Today, many artists seem burdened, perhaps unduly, to represent their place in the world. An individual artist may always speak from a place, but must he or she always speak about it? While the title of the exhibition, No Country may appear as if to negate country and nation, the aim of the forum is not to make declarations but rather to raise questions for discussion and dialogue.

The Otolith Group is a London-based artist collective, whose work Communists Like Us featured in the exhibition interweaves a dialogue on the subject of political action taken from Jean- Luc Godard’s 1967 film La Chinoise with images belonging to the photographic archive of Anasuya Gyan-Chand, Sagar’s grandmother. The documentary images depict encounters between Indian politicians and activists from the Soviet Union, China, Japan, and other countries in Asia during the mid-to-late 1950s and early 60s, and attest to the extensive nature of such relationships in postwar Asia

Marian Pastor Roces is a cultural critic and independent curator whose research interests include cities, international contemporary art events, museums, 19th-century expositions and the politics of nature She has been awarded a grant to convene an international conference in the politics of beauty by the Prince Claus Fund, was selected by the Japan Foundation to be apart of the Asian Leaders Fellowship Programme, and was a member of an evaluation team sent to the Dakar Biennial by the Mondrian Foundation.

T.K. Sabapathy is an eminent art historian, curator and critic. His body of writing includes important contributions to the art histories of Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia, as well as artist monographs and art criticism. He has curated major exhibitions at venues such as the Singapore Art Museum and the ADM Gallery at Nanyang Technological University, Sabapathy is the first Research Fellow at NTU CCA Singapore, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. He also lectures at Nanyang Technoloical Univeristy.

June Yap was selected as Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, in April 2012. An independent curator since 2008, Yap has also organized exhibitions including Ho Tzu Nyen for the Singapore Pavillion at the Venice Biennale in 2011: You and I, We’ve Never Been so Far Apart: Works From Asia for the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; The Future of Exhibition: It Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, and Bound for Glory at the National University of Singapore Museum.

Artists’ Programme - The Otolith Group
24 Jun 2014, Tue 6:30pm - 9:00pm

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A forum featuring The Otolith Group, Marian Pastor Roces, T. K. Sabapathy and June Yap.

The idea of “country” powerfully embodies notions of identity, belonging, community and genealogy. When viewers engage global contemporary art, there is often the reflex to locate the artist by ethnicity and geography. Today, many artists seem burdened, perhaps unduly, to represent their place in the world. An individual artist may always speak from a place, but must he or she always speak about it? While the title of the exhibition, No Country may appear as if to negate country and nation, the aim of the forum is not to make declarations but rather to raise questions for discussion and dialogue.

The Otolith Group is a London-based artist collective, whose work Communists Like Us featured in the exhibition interweaves a dialogue on the subject of political action taken from Jean- Luc Godard’s 1967 film La Chinoise with images belonging to the photographic archive of Anasuya Gyan-Chand, Sagar’s grandmother. The documentary images depict encounters between Indian politicians and activists from the Soviet Union, China, Japan, and other countries in Asia during the mid-to-late 1950s and early 60s, and attest to the extensive nature of such relationships in postwar Asia

Marian Pastor Roces is a cultural critic and independent curator whose research interests include cities, international contemporary art events, museums, 19th-century expositions and the politics of nature She has been awarded a grant to convene an international conference in the politics of beauty by the Prince Claus Fund, was selected by the Japan Foundation to be apart of the Asian Leaders Fellowship Programme, and was a member of an evaluation team sent to the Dakar Biennial by the Mondrian Foundation.

T.K. Sabapathy is an eminent art historian, curator and critic. His body of writing includes important contributions to the art histories of Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia, as well as artist monographs and art criticism. He has curated major exhibitions at venues such as the Singapore Art Museum and the ADM Gallery at Nanyang Technological University, Sabapathy is the first Research Fellow at NTU CCA Singapore, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. He also lectures at Nanyang Technoloical Univeristy.

June Yap was selected as Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, in April 2012. An independent curator since 2008, Yap has also organized exhibitions including Ho Tzu Nyen for the Singapore Pavillion at the Venice Biennale in 2011: You and I, We’ve Never Been so Far Apart: Works From Asia for the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; The Future of Exhibition: It Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, and Bound for Glory at the National University of Singapore Museum.

Curators’ Talk - Zoe Butt and June Yap
11 Jul 2014, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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The title of No Country draws from the opening line of a poem by William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928), which was adapted into a contemporary thriller by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (2005), and presented in filmic form by the Coen Brothers (2007). No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia appropriates the historical, geographic and intertextual traversal of Irish poem, American novel and film to an exhibition on Asia, and in so doing references the traces and overlaps in the exchanges and adaptations that are characteristic of the histories and cultures of the South and Southeast Asia. While appearing as if a negation of country and nation, No Country rather gestures to an exploration of the problematic nature of the cartography of nation and culture. In this talk, No Country curator June Yap and Zoe Butt from Sàn Art, explore curatorial strategies in negotiating contemporary mappings and representations of Asia today.

Zoe Butt is Executive Director and Curator of Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh. From 2007 to 2009 she was Director, international Programs, Long March Project in Beijing, and from 2001 to 2007 she was Assistant Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, where she assisted in the development of the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Butt is also presently working on her Ph.D. with the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, National Institute for Experimental Arts, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Talk: Reflection and Response - Ahmad Mashadi
18 Jul 2014, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Ahmad Mashadi gave a tour of no country and offered his interpretations of the exhibition’s art works and themes, and discussed No Country in terms of larger historical and geographical contexts. The tour took place the CCA exhibition space.

Ahmad Mashadi is Head of the National University of Singapore Museum. His recently curated exhibitions include Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive: the Museum in Malaya (2011), which traced the museological imaginary of colonial Malaya, and Heman Chong: Calendars 2020–2096 (2011), which featured a series of the artist’s photographs. In 2012, Ahmad initiated Curating Lab, a curatorial intensive and internship programme for Singapore students and recent graduates.