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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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Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material

21 July 2018 — 30 September 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, 20 July 2018, 7.00–9.00pm
Guest-of-Honour: Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive Officer, National Heritage Board, Singapore

 

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is embarking on an inquiry into natural materials, exploring the knowledge they embody as biological forms as well as within social, geopolitical, and historical contexts. Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material is part of the Centre’s long-term research cluster CLIMATES. HABITATS. ENVIRONMENTS.

This exhibition focuses on materials from four plants deeply rooted in Asia: indigo (Indigofera tinctoria), lacquer (Rhus succedanea and Melanorrhoea usitata), rattan (Calamoideae), and mulberry (Morus). The works trace the ongoing involvement with these plants in the artistic practices of Manish Nai (India) with indigo, Phi Phi Oanh (United States/Vietnam) with lacquer, Sopheap Pich (Cambodia) with rattan, and Liang Shaoji (China) and Vivian Xu (China) with mulberry silk. While the featured installations serve as a starting point to uncover the materiality of the chosen plants, the study of their natural and cultural DNA allows further exploration into their biological processes and diverse usages at their locale.

The artworks intertwine with selected research documents that address the complex histories and circulation, as well as the effects of human intervention on these natural resources. Starting from the properties and characteristics of the materials themselves, the project expands into their cultural representation and significance for communities and their crafts.

The longstanding social and cultural practices associated with indigo, lacquer, rattan, and mulberry silk have accumulated a vast repository of knowledge, whether formal or tacit. Beyond the format of the exhibition, topical seminars will be dedicated to each of the four materials, further investigating their social applications over centuries in terms of their materiality, cultural references, or expanded ecology, and as arising from technological advancements. The lectures, panels, talks, and workshops feature the participating artists, as well as craftsmen, scientists, ethnobotanists, anthropologists, scholars, and designers who are working with these materials and researching innovative applications. From the diverse perspectives offered by the contributors, the public programme excavates layers of meanings and reiterates the deeper role art and craft traditions have in supporting local communities and their ecosystems.

Topical seminars take place between 21 July and 8 September 2018.

On Lacquer: 21, 22 July 

On Rattan: 25, 26 August

On Indigo: 4, 19 August, and 1 September

On Mulberry: 8 September

For more information, please refer to our events page: http://ntu.ccasingapore.org/events/

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Manish Nai (b. 1980, India) concentrates on the material qualities of the various substances he utilises in his work. His interest is in the discovery of abstract forms through the physical manipulation of matter, and the new life assumed by cast-offs when transformed from objects of use to objects of art. Using the colour indigo (indigo dye), itself loaded with a multitude of representations and associations, this opens up the visual form to subjectivities in the interpretation of the medium throughout time. Nai’s work was included in A beast, a god, and a line, curated by Cosmin Costinas, which debuted during the Dhaka Art Summit 2018 and subsequently travelled to Para Site, Hong Kong (2018). In 2017, the Fondation Fernet Branca in St. Louis, France, presented a comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s paintings, murals, sculptures, and photographs. The exhibition will travel to the Het Noordbrabants Museum in The Netherlands. Other group exhibitions include Asymmetrical Objects, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2018); the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014); and the Shanghai Biennale (2012). He has newly completed an 18-metre-long sculpture as a permanent installation in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex. His works are on view at the Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace, Rajasthan, India (2017–18), and at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago as part of its permanent collection.

Phi Phi Oanh’s (b. 1979, United States/Vietnam) work is informed by her inquiry into lacquer as a material combined with her studies of the Vietnamese lacquer painting (sơn mài) tradition. Drawing from the hybrid nature of her personal history, Oanh constructs pictorial and evocative installations that reconfigure culturally-specific signs and symbols, creating familiar yet distinctive experiential spaces. In 2004 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study traditional Tranh Sơn Mài (Vietnamese lacquer painting) in Hanoi, which has since become a key medium in her practice. She has had solo exhibitions at L’Espace, Alliance Française in Hanoi; Artcore in Los Angeles; Art League in Houston; as well as El Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Managua. In 2016, she was commissioned to create Pro Se, a work for the National Gallery Singapore and also showed her monumental Specula in the Singapore Biennale (2013).

Sopheap Pich (b. 1971, Cambodia) left Cambodia with his family as a refugee at the end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign, settling in the United States in 1984. Memories of his childhood and a desire to reconnect with his home country drew the artist back to Cambodia in 2002. He began working with local materials—bamboo, rattan, burlap from rice bags, beeswax, and earth pigments gathered from around Cambodia—to make sculptures inspired by bodily organs, vegetal forms, and abstract geometric structures. The strength, durability, lightness, and incredible malleability of rattan allow Pich to create organic forms that have become a signature of his practice. Pich holds a BFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1995), and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1999). In 2013, Pich presented a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, entitled Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich. Selected group exhibitions include the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); the Moscow Biennale (2013); Documenta 13, Kassel (2012); the Singapore Biennial (2011), among others. His work was presented at NTU CCA Singapore as part of Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative’s No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia (2014), curated by Dr June Yap.

Liang Shaoji’s (b. 1945, China) practice intersects science and nature, biology and bio-ecology, weaving and sculpture, and installation and performance. He has been working with silkworms for almost three decades, using the life process of these insects as a medium. Liang graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now renamed China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou) in 1965 and studied at the university’s Varbanov Institute of Tapestry. Now working in Tiantai, Zhejiang Province, his works are filled with a sense of meditation, philosophy, and poetry, while illustrating the inherent beauty of silk. Selected exhibitions include Cloud Above Cloud, Museum of China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2016); What About the Art?, Contemporary Art from China, Al Riwaq, Doha (2016); Liang Shaoji: Back to Origin, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2014); Art of Change, Hayward Gallery, London (2012); Liang Shaoji, Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam (2009); among others. He was awarded the Prince Claus Award in 2009 and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) in 2002. In September 2018, Liang will have a solo exhibition at M Woods, Beijing.

Vivian Xu’s (b. 1985, China) practice focuses on the exploration and intersection of electronic and bio media. While creating new forms of machine logic, life, and sensory systems, Xu explores the possibilities of designing a series of hybrid bio-machines that are capable of generating self-organised silk structures that combine the silkworms’ natural production process with automated computational systems of production. She is the co-founder of Dogma Labs, a cross-disciplinary laboratory based in Shanghai, dedicated to integrating design, research, education, and production with the areas of computation, biology, and digital fabrication. Xu holds an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons the New School for Design, New York (2013) and is currently a Global Pre-Doctoral Fellow at New York University Shanghai. Xu has exhibited and lectured at various institutions around the world, including the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Central Academy of China, Beijing; Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Art Laboratory Berlin; SymbioticA, the University of Western Australia; and China Academy of Art, Hangzhou.

The project Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material is led by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, NTU School of Art, Design and Media (ADM); Laura Miotto, Associate Professor and Co-director, MA Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices, NTU ADM; and Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore. 

 

Image credit: Liang Shaoji, Lonely Cloud (detail), 2016, wood, silk, cocoons, steel pipes, 245 x 428 x 114 cm. Courtesy the artist.

Public programmes

In Conversation: Lacquer in Contemporary Art with artists Saeko Ando (Japan/Vietnam) and Phi Phi Oanh (United States/Vietnam)
21 Jul 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM

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Moderated by Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore

Artist Saeko Ando will discuss with Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material participating artist Phi Phi Oanh the way in which traditional Vietnamese lacquer has been innovatively adapted in contemporary art.  

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Saeko Ando (Japan/Vietnam) studied Japanese art and philosophy at Waseda University in Tokyo. In 1995, she moved to Vietnam to learn lacquer art under the tutelage of Trinh Tuan, Doan Chi Trung, Nguyen Huy Hoan, and Lam Huu Chinh. Her practice integrates the traditional with the contemporary through an innovative use of Vietnamese lacquer techniques. Ando’s eccentric style earned the respect of Vietnam’s art society, and she was the first foreign member to be invited to the Hanoi Art Association in 2000. She has exhibited extensively in Vietnam and internationally, and regularly presents her research on lacquer arts from Vietnam, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan in conventions and symposiums.

Phi Phi Oanh’s (United States/Vietnam) work is informed by her inquiry into lacquer as a material combined with her studies of the Vietnamese lacquer painting (sơn mài) tradition. Drawing from the hybrid nature of her personal history, Oanh constructs pictorial and evocative installations that reconfigure culturally-specific signs and symbols, creating familiar yet distinctive experiential spaces. In 2004 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study traditional Tranh Sơn Mài (Vietnamese lacquer painting) in Hanoi, which has since become a key medium in her practice. She has had solo exhibitions at L’Espace, Alliance Française in Hanoi; Artcore in Los Angeles; Art League in Houston; as well as El Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Managua. In 2016, she was commissioned to create Pro Se, a work for the National Gallery Singapore and also showed her monumental Specula in the Singapore Biennale (2013).

Khim Ong is Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes at NTU CCA Singapore. She previously worked as an independent curator and held curatorial positions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE, and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong. Ong was Manager, Sector Development (Visual Arts) at the National Arts Council during which she contributed to conceptualising NTU CCA Singapore. Selected exhibitions co-curated for the Centre include Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History (2017), Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice (2016), and Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest (2016). Selected curatorial projects include Re|Collecting Asia (2017), the Southeast Asia Platform, Art Stage Singapore (2015), and Landscape Memories, Louis Vuitton Espace, Singapore (2013).

 

Image credit (from left to right): Phi Phi Oanh, Palimpsest slide #43 and Palimpsest slide #25, both 2014. Courtesy Diego Cortizas del Valle.

Workshop: Unearthing Lotus Flower – Sanding and Polishing a Vietnamese Sơn Mài Painting
22 Jul 2018, Sun 02:00 PM - 05:00 PM

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Workshop fee: S$35
Please register via Peatix: https://sonmai.peatix.com/

*Developed for participants aged 13 and above.

As the name Sơn Mài (meaning “lacquer” and “sanding,” respectively) indicates, sanding is integral and the most exciting process of the art form. Artists use a sanding process not only to acquire smooth surfaces but also to create dramatic effects on their works. Practitioners first apply complex layers of lacquer with different colours and textures, using a variety of materials; then, the surface is sanded to bring the underlining layers back to the surface. This workshop includes an introduction to the history, science, and technique of Sơn Mài. A short video will help simulate the lengthy process of lacquer application. Finally, participants will enjoy unearthing and polishing a beautiful lotus painting.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Saeko Ando (Japan/Vietnam) studied Japanese art and philosophy at Waseda University in Tokyo. In 1995, she moved to Vietnam to learn lacquer art under the tutelage of Trinh Tuan, Doan Chi Trung, Nguyen Huy Hoan, and Lam Huu Chinh. Her practice integrates the traditional with the contemporary through an innovative use of Vietnamese lacquer techniques. Ando’s eccentric style earned the respect of Vietnam’s art society, and she was the first foreign member to be invited to the Hanoi Art Association in 2000. She has exhibited extensively in Vietnam and internationally, and regularly presents her research on lacquer arts from Vietnam, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan in conventions and symposiums.

 

Image credit: Saeko Ando, Devil Fruit. Courtesy the artist.

 

Workshop: The Colour of the Region. Indigo Dye and Batik by Dinu Bodiciu (Romania/Singapore), Fashion Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts and Martin Bonney (United Kingdom/Singapore), Fashion and Textile Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts, and textile designer
4 Aug 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 06:00 PM

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Workshop fee: S$35
Please register via Peatix: https://colouroftheregion.peatix.com/

*Developed for participants aged 13 and above.

The introductory presentation will revolve around the ancestral past of Indigo and key textiles processes within Southeast Asia. Participants will be introduced to the colour of Indigo—its strong socio-cultural connotations from various cultures around the world and a brief history of its progression from the “colour of the kings” to the “colour of the masses.” The hands-on workshop will allow the participants to explore with a series of resist dye approaches and tools (chanting, copper stamps, and brushes). The understanding of the method of batik, resist dyeing techniques, and the mix of tools offered to participants will allow them a great space for creativity, visual exploration, and experimentation.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Dinu Bodiciu (Romania/Singapore) is a fashion and accessories designer currently teaching Fashion Design in Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts. His designs are conceptualised as extensions of the human body, tackling aspects situated at the border between dress and skin. His projects include collaborations with Lady Gaga, Hunger Games ep3&4, KCPK, while his designs have been featured in various fashion and design magazines and specialist books published around the world.

Martin Bonney (United Kingdom/Singapore) is a fashion and textiles designer, practitioner, and researcher currently a full-time faculty member at LASALLE College of the Arts, teaching on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles programme. His design and research question the use of craft and culture within contemporary practice today and has a range of international experience in London, Paris, and New York in the textile industry.

 

Image credit: Courtesy Dinu Bodiciu. 

Workshop: Mysterious, Magical, and Medicinal – The Power of Indigo by Kelly Reedy (United States/Singapore), artist and educator
19 Aug 2018, Sun 02:00 PM - 05:00 PM

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Workshop fee: S$35
Please register via Peatix: https://thepowerofindigo.peatix.com/

*Developed for participants aged 13 and above.

Indigo has fascinated people across ages and cultures, having been attributed mysterious, magical, and medicinal powers. Its fermented dye bath has been used to ward off evil spirits and applied as an antiseptic. This workshop explores how indigo is cultivated, processed, and used in sacred and everyday rituals. Participants will have the opportunity to try several methods of shibori, a Japanese tie-dye technique, to create unique patterns on their cloth. At the end of the workshop, a small amulet or pin will be made from the indigo samples giving a sense of protection and visual pleasure through the beautiful and powerful blues produced by indigo.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Kelly Reedy (United States/Singapore) has worked in Singapore for over 18 years as an artist and educator. She holds a BFA in Fine Art (University of Wisconsin, 1985), and MA in Education (Hunter College, 1991), MA in Art Therapy (LASALLE College of the Arts, 2017). She has exhibited her artworks internationally in Paris, Chicago, and Berlin, as well as locally at Jendela Visual Arts Space, Esplanade, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, and Alliance Française. Reedy has developed educational resources for the National Gallery Singapore and trained teachers at the National Institute of Education, specialising in visual arts education in museums and galleries.

 

Image credit: Kelly Reedy Studio, Waterfall, 2018, naturally dyed indigo on silk. Courtesy the artist.

Lecture: Rattan – A New Look at a Centuries-Old Material by Dr Hanna Szczepanowska (United States/Singapore), Senior Conservation Scientist, National Heritage Board, Singapore
25 Aug 2018, Sat 03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

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A climbing palm of tropical Southeast Asia, rattan has supplied material over the centuries for everyday objects and artworks. What is the surface made of? What are the unique characteristics of rattan? Examining laboratory analysis from electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning, and stereo-microscopy, this lecture focuses on rattan’s lustrous surface and material stability. 

 

BIOGRAPHY

Dr Hanna M. Szczepanowska (United States/Singapore), Senior Conservation Scientist, is currently setting up the Research Laboratory and Programme for National Heritage Board in Singapore. She obtained a PhD in material science from the University of Lyon, France, and a Masters Degree in paper and parchment conservation from the University of Nicolaus Copernicus, Torun, Poland. Prior to moving to Singapore, she worked for over ten years at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, United States, taught at George Washington University, Washington DC, and served as a consultant in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. She received two Fulbright Scholarships to Malta and Egypt, advising the government in both countries on cultural heritage.

 

Image credit: Courtesy Hanna Szczepanowska.

Panel Discussion: Traditional Rattan in Contemporary Design with Paola Bellani (Italy), Deputy Editor and Founder, disegno; P.C. Ee (Singapore), Co-founder, Industry+; and Lim Masulin (Indonesia), Founder, BYO Living
25 Aug 2018, Sat 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM

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Moderated by Laura Miotto (Italy/Singapore), Associate Professor and Co-director, MA Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University (NTU ADM)

Dedicated to spatial and furniture design, this panel brings together designers and manufacturers who use traditional weaving techniques guided by an environmental consciousness. These specialists are also at the forefront of innovating the traditional uses of rattan on an international scale.  

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Paola Bellani (Italy) is the Deputy Editor and Founder of disegnoa biannual paper magazine dedicated to design culture. Her interest focuses on design communication and contemporary design culture. She has worked extensively as a consultant on brand communication and creative direction. Among her clients are Yamakawa, a Japanese company specialising in hand-woven rattan furniture; and Fritz Hansen, the historical Danish furniture brand. Bellani is also an educator and currently teaches Culture of Project at NABA University in Milano.

P.C. Ee (Singapore) is Co-founder of the Singapore-based furniture brand Industry+ that constantly works with designers and manufacturers to produce and promote Asian design products for the international market. P.C. Ee edits and produces works of Asian designers including Jun Yasumoto, Studio Juju, and Nendo, in a collaborative process for the brand’s collection. Industry+ also creates a collection of outdoor furniture for WOHA’s new brand WOHAbeing. Industry+ strives to push the boundaries of materials, manufacturing, and craftsmanship in Asia, producing pieces that carry traces of influence from the culture of its designers to collectively represent a subconscious Asian aesthetic.

Lim Masulin (Indonesia) is “ASEAN Senior Mastercraft Designer” known to invent the BYO Living weaving technology for energy saving architecture like Toyota Headquarter’s 4,000m2 LEED Platinum ventilation weaving panels, East Java power plant’s cooling façade, ad Maldives Halaveli’s outdoor furniture. On sustainable materials, he uncovers regrow-able rattan with durable silica skin, tear-proof grass from CO2 absorbing peatland, and weatherproof upcycle waste. At the World Economic Forum, he shared how to make a social impact with weaving’s circular sustainability. You can visit his latest work on Indonesian architect Andra Matin’s pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which received a Special Mention Award for reflecting on material/form of traditional vernacular structures.

Laura Miotto (Italy/Singapore) is Associate Professor at NTU ADM and Design Director of GSM Project in Singapore. With 15 years of experience in the design field, both as a creative director and an architectural designer, Miotto has worked on permanent and temporary exhibitions, focusing on heritage interpretation and sensorial design strategies in the context of museums, thematic galleries, and public spaces. Among her projects are the new Sarawak Museum in Kuching and the Living Galleries at the National Museum of Singapore that explore local cultures in a phase of transformation. In 2010 she received the President Design Award for the exhibition Quest for Immortality: The World of Ancient Egypt.

 

Image credit: Tokyo Tribal Collection 15. Photo by Akihiro Yoshida. Courtesy Industry+.

Lecture: The Ethnobotanic Story of Rattan by Dr John Dransfield (United Kingdom), ethnobotanist and Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
25 Aug 2018, Sat 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

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With over 600 species, rattan is astonishingly diverse with its main centre of distribution in Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago. Uses of the plants range from medicine to cigarette papers, from basket weaving to cane furniture. Leading rattan expert Dr John Dransfield will talk about unsustainable harvesting, the expansion of the oil-palm industry, the possibilities of smallholder cultivation, and what it means for the future of rattan furniture and the handicraft industries.  

 

BIOGRAPHY

Dr John Dransfield (United Kingdom) graduated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, gaining his PhD under Professor E.J.H. Corner in 1970 with a study of two Malaysian palm genera, Eugeissona and Johannesteijsmannia. He devoted his working life to palm research, working first in Indonesia for four years specialising in rattan, the climbing palms that are the source of cane for cane furniture. In 1975 he continued palm research at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew where he was head of Palm Research until his retirement in 2005. Dransfield is Honorary Research Fellow at Kew and author of several books on palms (including rattan) and numerous scientific papers.

 

 

Image credit: Courtesy John Dransfield. 

In Conversation: Sopheap Pich (Cambodia), artist with Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU
25 Aug 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

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Sopheap Pich, whose work is among those featured in Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material, started working with natural materials, such as bamboo, rattan, burlap, beeswax, and earth pigments, in the early 2000s to create sculptural objects informed by themes of time, memory, and the body. This conversation with Ute Meta Bauer gives insight into his creative process and his long-term engagement with natural materials and local craftsmen.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Sopheap Pich (Cambodia) left Cambodia with his family as a refugee at the end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign, settling in the United States in 1984. Memories of his childhood and a desire to reconnect with his home country drew the artist back to Cambodia in 2002. Pich holds a BFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1995), and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1999). His work was presented at NTU CCA Singapore as part of Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative’s No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia (2014), curated by Dr June Yap. In 2013, Pich held a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, entitled Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich. Selected group exhibitions include the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); the Moscow Biennale (2013); Documenta 13, Kassel (2012); the Singapore Biennial (2011), among others. 

Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore) is Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, NTU ADM. She was formerly Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States, where she also served as Founding Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology. For more than three decades, Bauer has worked as curator of exhibitions and presentations, connecting contemporary art, film, video, and sound through transdisciplinary formats. She publishes regularly on artistic and curatorial practice. Bauer served as expedition leader of TBA21–Academy The Current 2015–17 exploring the Pacific Archipelago and littorals that are most impacted by climate change and human interventions in their environments.

 

Image credit: Sopheap Pich, Delta, 2007, rattan, wire, 478 x 341 x 70 cm. Courtesy the artist.

Workshop: Weaving Patterns with Rattan by P.C. Ee (Singapore), Co-founder, Industry+ and Lim Masulin (Indonesia), Founder, BYO Living
26 Aug 2018, Sun 02:00 PM - 06:00 PM

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Workshop fee: S$35
Please register via Peatix: https://weavingrattan.peatix.com/

P.C. Ee and Lim Masulin will introduce the applications and advancements of weaving from their perspectives as producer and manufacturer, which is followed by a hands-on activity. P.C. Ee has been producing woven pieces for Industry+, notably the Tokyo Tribal Collection designed by Nendo, which brings the traditional craft up-to-date by introducing playful geometry. Lim, as a manufacturer, has been developing weaving techniques using recycled waste and natural plants for various applications including furniture, architecture, and accessories.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

P.C. Ee (Singapore) is Co-founder of the Singapore-based furniture brand Industry+ that constantly works with designers and manufacturers to produce and promote Asian design products for the international market. P.C. Ee edits and produces works of Asian designers including Jun Yasumoto, Studio Juju, and Nendo, in a collaborative process for the brand’s collection. Industry+ also creates a collection of outdoor furniture for WOHA’s new brand WOHAbeing. Industry+ strives to push the boundaries of materials, manufacturing, and craftsmanship in Asia, producing pieces that carry traces of influence from the culture of its designers to collectively represent a subconscious Asian aesthetic.

Lim Masulin (Indonesia) is “ASEAN Senior Mastercraft Designer” known to invent the BYO Living weaving technology for energy saving architecture like Toyota Headquarter’s 4,000m2 LEED Platinum ventilation weaving panels, East Java power plant’s cooling façade, ad Maldives Halaveli’s outdoor furniture. On sustainable materials, he uncovers regrow-able rattan with durable silica skin, tear-proof grass from CO2 absorbing peatland, and weatherproof upcycle waste. At the World Economic Forum, he shared how to make a social impact with weaving’s circular sustainability. You can visit his latest work on Indonesian architect Andra Matin’s pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which received a Special Mention Award for reflecting on material/form of traditional vernacular structures.

 

Image credit: Andra Matin pavilion Elevation, Venice Architecture Biennale, 2018. Courtesy Lim Masulin.

Panel Discussion: Textile Traditions and Natural Dyes with
Dr Geneviève Duggan (France/Singapore), anthropologist
1 Sep 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM

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Chaired by Lee Chor Lin (Singapore)

With a focus on Southeast Asia, this discussion unveils the richness of traditional fabric making and dyeing through the lens of anthropologist Dr Geneviève Duggan, who has dedicated 30 years to researching textile traditions in Savu, Indonesia; and textile expert Lee Chor Lin, who will present a comprehensive overview of the region.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Dr Geneviève Duggan (France/Singapore) is an anthropologist and during three decades of research in Indonesia, she has studied textile traditions in social contexts (Ikats of Savu White Lotus 2001) and transmission of knowledge in an oral society (PhD thesis, NUS 2008). From 2010 to 2013 she was a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS (Singapore). Recent publications include Savu; history and oral tradition in an island of Indonesia (co-authored with Hans Hägerdal NUS Press, 2018); A note about hand-woven cloths with a continuous warp in eastern Indonesia (Archipel, 2017); and Tracing Ancient Networks; Linguistics, Hand-woven Cloths and Looms in Eastern Indonesia (Qin Dashu and Yuan Jian eds, World Scientific, 2015).

Lee Chor Lin (Singapore) is known for her expertise on the textiles of Southeast Asia. She is the author of Ancestral Ships: Fabric Impressions of Old Lampung Culture (1987). She has also contributed essays on Southeast Asian textiles to numerous publications including Power Dressing: Textiles for Rulers and Priests (2005) and Sacred Threads: Ceremonial Textiles of Southeast Asia (2001). Lee began her career with the National Museum of Singapore in 1985, before setting up the Chinese and Southeast Asia galleries at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Returning to the National Museum as Director, she was pivotal in guiding the museum through its redevelopment and re-launch in December 2006.

 

Panel Discussion: Sustainability in Fashion with Philip Huang (United States/Thailand), Founder, Philip Huang; William Ingram (United Kingdom/Indonesia), Founder, Threads of Life; and Dr Nanci Takeyama (Brazil/Singapore), Assistant Professor, NTU ADM
1 Sep 2018, Sat 05:30 PM - 07:00 PM

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Chaired by Dinu Bodiciu (Romania/Singapore), Fashion Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts

Discussing issues of sustainability and environmentally-responsible design, the speakers will touch upon their strategies of operating in ways that cultivate traditional techniques and slow down consumerism. The panel will discuss organic production, responsible material sourcing, fair trade, and establishing cultural understanding as a means for collaboration with local communities to generate economic growth and resources.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Philip Huang (United States/Thailand) made a name for himself as a model, the first Asian model to hit high fashion runways and go on to star in countless campaigns, working with the most creative and influential names in the fashion industry. This experience goes beyond fashion as it has enabled him to travel the world, and during the downtime between shoots and shows, he has been inspired to create something of his own. This “something” are clothes and things that can travel with him, lightly, in his suitcase, and be used in any context, anywhere in the world.

William Ingram (United Kingdom/Indonesia) is Co-founder of Threads of Life, a fair-trade business based in Bali that has worked with over 1,000 traditional weavers in 50 communities on 12 Indonesian islands since 1997. As Co-director of the Bebali Foundation since 2002, he has led the organisation’s support for sustainable use of natural dyes by these same communities. Through his work he demonstrates how profitable business can have a social mission, how community enterprise can be profitable, and how both can be sensitive to indigenous culture. Born in the United Kingdom, he has lived most of his life in Japan and Indonesia.

Dr Nanci Takeyama (Brazil/Singapore) has received her Bachelor degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from São Paulo University, Master of Design from Kyushu University and PhD in Design Research from the Kobe Design University. In her commercial career, she has worked at very prestigious design offices under Alexandre Wollner and typographer Helmut Schmid. She also owned her own design office in São Paulo, with major corporate clients such as Sadia Foods, Votorantin, Camil fodds, among others. Takeyama is the Founding Director of “design for,” a group engaged in utilising scholarly research to advocate cultural understanding and preservation by using design as a dialogue.

Dinu Bodiciu (Romania/Singapore) is a fashion and accessories designer currently teaching Fashion Design in Singapore at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. His designs are conceptualised as extensions of the human body, tackling aspects situated at the border between dress and skin. His projects include collaborations with Lady Gaga, Hunger Games ep3&4, KCPK, while his designs have been featured in various fashion and design magazines and specialist books published around the world.

 

In Conversation: Manish Nai (India), artist with Dr June Yap (Singapore), Director of Curatorial, Programmes and Publications at the Singapore Art Museum
1 Sep 2018, Sat 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

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Manish Nai is interested in discovering the abstract dimensions of form through the manipulation of matter, exploring the new life assumed by the cast-offs that change from objects of use—jute, cardboard, newspapers, old cloths—to art objects, divested from any function or utility. This conversation uncovers the multitude of representations and associations of indigo seen in Nai’s work. Featured in Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material is his installation of 99 pieces of compressed indigo jute cloths.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Manish Nai (India) concentrates on the material qualities of the various substances he utilises in his work. His interest is in the discovery of abstract forms through the physical manipulation of matter, and the new life assumed by cast-offs when transformed from objects of use to objects of art. Using the colour indigo (indigo dye), itself loaded with a multitude of representations and associations, this opens up the visual form to subjectivities in the interpretation of the medium throughout time. Nai’s work was included in A beast, a god, and a line, curated by Cosmin Costinas, which debuted during the Dhaka Art Summit 2018 and subsequently travelled to Para Site, Hong Kong (2018). In 2017, the Fondation Fernet Branca in St. Louis, France, presented a comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s paintings, murals, sculptures, and photographs. The exhibition will travel to the Het Noordbrabants Museum in The Netherlands. Other group exhibitions include Asymmetrical Objects, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2018); the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), and the Shanghai Biennale (2012). He has newly completed an 18-metre-long sculpture as a permanent installation in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex. His works are on view at the Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace, Rajasthan, India (2017­–18), and at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago as part of its permanent collection.

Dr June Yap (Singapore) is the Director of Curatorial, Programmes and Publications at the Singapore Art Museum. She was formerly Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator (South and Southeast Asia), Deputy Director and Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, and curating independently. Yap curated No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia(2013) as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative; and the Singapore pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), featuring The Cloud of Unknowing by Ho Tzu Nyen. Yap received her MA in Fine Art at the University of Melbourne and her PhD in Cultural Studies at National University Singapore. She is the author of Retrospective: A Historiographical Aesthetic in Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia (2016).

 

Image credit: Manish Nai, Untitled, 2018, compressed indigo jute cloths and wood. Courtesy the artist.

Lecture: Indigo – Mummy Cloths to Blue Jeans by Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul (United Kingdom), Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University
1 Sep 2018, Sat 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

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Indigo, known as the “King of Dyes,” has been in continuous use and traded worldwide as blue dye, paint pigment, and medicine for over six millennia. Its unique chemistry is suited for all types of textiles, whether prestige silks or blue jeans, as well as paint for frescoes and manuscripts. In this richly-illustrated talk, Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul—artist, traveller, and author of three books on indigo—will speak about this fascinating colour, as well as indigo’s increasing popularity as a sustainable dye.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul (United Kingdom) writer, artist, traveller, and international lecturer, has researched and worked with indigo for over three decades. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Exeter University; Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society; Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society; and President of the UK’s Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Author of Deeper than Indigo (2015), Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans (1998), and Indigo in the Arab World (1997), she was a consultant curator for the Whitworth Art Gallery’s 2007 touring exhibition Indigo, a Blue to Dye For, a consultant for documentary films, and for the project Indigo Sutra held in Kolkata in 2017. 

 

Image credit: Making indigo from Indigofera, Southwest China, 1993. Courtesy Jenny Balfour-Paul. 

Panel Discussion: Sericultural Practices with artists Liang Shaoji and Vivian Xu (both China)
8 Sep 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM

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Chaired by Dr Lisa Onaga (United States/Germany), Senior Research Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Assistant Professor, School of Humanities, College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, NTU

Sericulture, or silk farming, is integral to both artists Liang Shaoji’s and Vivian Xu’s practices. Liang has been working for 28 years with silkworms as collaborators, using their life cycle as a medium, while Xu is a media artist and researcher whose practice focuses on the exploration and intersection of electronic and bio media. The artists will present their experimentations with silk, while Dr Lisa Onaga shares her research on Imperial Japan’s pursuit of the perfect silkworm cocoon.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Liang Shaoji’s (China) practice intersects science and nature, biology and bio-ecology, weaving and sculpture, and installation and performance. He has been working with silkworms for almost three decades, using the life process of these insects as a medium. Liang graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now renamed China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou) in 1965 and studied at the university’s Varbanov Institute of Tapestry. Now working in Tiantai, Zhejiang Province, his works are filled with a sense of meditation, philosophy, and poetry, while illustrating the inherent beauty of silk. Selected exhibitions include Cloud Above Cloud, Museum of China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2016); What About the Art?, Contemporary Art from China, Al Riwaq, Doha (2016); Liang Shaoji: Back to Origin, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2014); Art of Change, Hayward Gallery, London (2012); Liang Shaoji, Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam (2009); among others. He was awarded the Prince Claus Award in 2009 and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) in 2002. In September 2018, Liang will have a solo exhibition at M Woods, Beijing.

Vivian Xu’s (China) practice focuses on the exploration and intersection of electronic and bio media. While creating new forms of machine logic, life, and sensory systems, Xu explores the possibilities of designing a series of hybrid bio-machines that are capable of generating self-organised silk structures that combine the silkworms’ natural production process with automated computational systems of production. She is the co-founder of Dogma Labs, a cross-disciplinary laboratory based in Shanghai, dedicated to integrating design, research, education, and production with the areas of computation, biology, and digital fabrication. Xu holds an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons the New School for Design, New York (2013) and is currently a Global Pre-Doctoral Fellow at New York University Shanghai. Xu has exhibited and lectured at various institutions around the world, including the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Central Academy of China, Beijing; Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Art Laboratory Berlin; SymbioticA, the University of Western Australia; and China Academy of Art, Hangzhou.

Dr Lisa Onaga (United States/Germany) is a historian of science and technology, focusing on questions about the ownership and authorship of knowledge in relation to biological materiality, especially silk. Her monograph Cocoon Cultures: The Entangled History of Silk and Science in Japan (under contract with Duke University Press) examines how the pursuit of the perfect silkworm cocoon provided a practical means for understanding heredity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 

 

Image credit: Vivian Xu, Silkworm Project 2016 Spinning in 3D, 2016, silkworm spinning in the horizontal spinning machine. Courtesy the artist.

Lecture: Silk – Properties, Fabrication, and Applications by Dr Dararat Mekkriengkrai (Thailand), Materials Specialist, Material ConneXion® Bangkok, Thailand Creative & Design Centre
8 Sep 2018, Sat 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

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As the first material library branch in Asia, Material ConneXion® Bangkok provides the opportunity for designers, students, and entrepreneurs to see first-hand the materials used by world-renowned designers. While expanding on the properties of silk as well as its production and fabrication processes, Dr Dararat Mekkriengkrai will share her experience working closely with suppliers and researchers and focus on technological advancements, innovative applications, and trends.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Dr Dararat Mekkriengkrai (Thailand) is a Material Specialist for Material ConneXion Bangkok (MCXB) in Creative and Innovation Department of Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC). Her role is on all MCXB management and activities as well as sourcing Thai innovation and materials from the ASEAN countries. She works closely with suppliers and research institute for innovation matching, being a key person on consulting projects and research support of TCDC access clients, including lecturer on materials and technology. Her research expertise is natural rubber, biopolymer and bioplastic, polymer and characterisation, and natural or Thai materials. Dararat studied Biochemistry, has an MS in Polymer Science, and a PhD in Polymer Science and Technology.