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Visiting Research Fellow

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Tony Godfrey

Biography

Tony Godfrey has been writing on contemporary art for over thirty-five years and to date he has published more than 130 articles and 300 short pieces. His 1998 book, Conceptual Art, was the first publication to see Conceptual Art as a global phenomenon. Fifteen years on it continues to be in print and has since been translated into five languages. From 1989 to 2008, Godfrey worked for the Sotheby’s Institute in London, where he was Director of the MA in Contemporary Art. He was also professor of Fine Art at the University of Plymouth before moving to Singapore in 2009. Since taking up residency in Singapore, he has worked as a writer and curator with artists from Southeast Asia and China. For three years, he was curator at Equator Art Projects. Godfrey’s books include New Image in Painting (1986), Drawing Today (1991), Conceptual Art (1998), and Painting Today (2009). He has recently co-authored the book Contemporary Photography in Asia and is currently writing, among other things, a book on Contemporary Indonesian painting.

Research focus

1. Conceptual art in Southeast Asia (Maritime) and its relationship to conceptual art globally

2. The status of conceptual art and nature of installation art in Southeast Asia

Public programmes

Tuesday in the Tropics: A reading by art historian Tony Godfrey, The Philippines
27 Oct 2015, Tue 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Frustrated by how challenging it was to get reviews on art from Southeast Asia published in art magazines in Europe or the United States, Tony Godfrey started to write an illustrated weekly letter. Titled Tuesday in the Tropics, he emailed this letter to curators and friends in the United Kingdom. Over the course of the year, they have become more varied – sometimes reflective, sometimes descriptive, sometimes personal. Godfrey will read the first of these letters including his most recent (No. 40) along some of those from in between, while artist Ian Woo will provide a musical accompaniment.

Tony Godfrey is a British art historian and has been writing on contemporary art for over thirty five years and has published widely. From 1989–2008, Godfrey worked for the Sotheby’s Institute, London where he was Director of the MA in Contemporary Art. Since taking up residency in Singapore and The Philippines, he has worked as a writer and curator with artists from Southeast Asia and China. From 2012–2015 he was curator at Equator Art Projects at Gillman Barracks.

Tuesday in the Tropics. Wednesday in Singapore: A reading by art historian Tony Godfrey (The Philippines)
18 Nov 2015, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Visiting Research Fellow and British art historian Tony Godfrey will read from Tuesday in the Tropics, his illustrated weekly letter which he emails to curators and friends. These letters sometimes reflective, sometimes descriptive, sometimes personal were written over the course of the year.

Tony Godfrey has been writing on contemporary art for over thirty five years and has published widely. From 1989–2008, Godfrey worked for the Sotheby’s Institute, London where he was Director of the MA in Contemporary Art. Since taking up residency in Singapore and The Philippines, he has worked as a writer and curator with artists from Southeast Asia and China. From 2012–2015 he was curator at Equator Art Projects at Gillman Barracks.

Tuesday in the Tropics on Wednesday: A reading by art historian and Visiting Research Fellow Tony Godfrey (The Philippines)
16 Dec 2015, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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British art historian and Visiting Research Fellow Tony Godfrey will read from Tuesday in the Tropics, his illustrated weekly letter which he emails to curators and friends. These letters sometimes reflective, sometimes descriptive, sometimes personal were written over the course of the year.

WAS THERE SUCH A THING AS SOUTH-EAST ASIAN CONCEPTUAL ART? A talk by Visiting Research Fellow Tony Godfrey (The Philippines)
8 Apr 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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The National Gallery of Singapore currently has two special exhibitions devoted to conceptual art made in the region during the Seventies. Another room of the permanent collection also focuses on it. This is no surprise: there has been considerable discussion of this work and research into it. This, it is implied, is where contemporary art begins in South-East Asia.

At this moment in time the art history of the region and of the various countries in it is being written. But are assumptions being presented as self-evident truths? Tony Godfrey wants to question and even challenge some of those apparent assumptions. Can we actually identify a specifically “South-East Asian Conceptual Art”? How does conceptual art in the region relate to conceptual art elsewhere? He is thinking not just in terms of form, but more in terms of intention. How influential has Conceptual art been within the region?

To elucidate these concerns Professor Godfrey will look at art from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines as well as further afield.

Tony Godfrey has been writing on contemporary art since 1978. His 1998 book Conceptual Art was the first to try and present Conceptual art as a global phenomenon. He moved from London to Singapore in 2009 and currently lives between Singapore and The Philippines. He is currently preparing exhibitions involving artists from South-East Asia and writing a history of contemporary art.

Image credits: KIM KU-LIM, 2016 recreation of 1970 environmental project, From Phenomenon to Trace – The Event with Fire and Lawn, courtesy by the artist.