Merging fictional stories and historical accounts, the practice of Liu Yu (b. 1985, Taiwan) cuts across video, installation, and text. Her work is concerned with re-contextualizing stories of marginalised communities as a commentary on the intricacies of domineering power structures. Using field work and site-specific methodologies, she reconstructs alternative narratives strung together by fragmented representations of space, history, image, and narration. Recent solo exhibitions include The history of the concave and the convex, Hong-gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (2018) and Several Ways to Believe, Taiwan Academy, Los Angeles, United States (2016). She has recently participated in group exhibitions such the Asian Art Biennial, Taichung, Taiwan (2019).

The practice of Lêna Bùi (b. 1985, Vietnam) is deeply drawn to the intangible aspects of life, such as faith, death, and dreams and the ways in which they influence our behaviours and perceptions. Through the incorporation of anecdotes and personal stories, her works articulate intimate reflections upon the impact of rapid development and the relationship between humans and nature. Bùi’s works have been included in group exhibitions and presentations at Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates (2018); Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University, Middle Town, United States (2018); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2017); The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2016); and Carré d’Art, Nîmes, France (2014) amongst other venues.

Tan Pin Pin is a Singapore filmmaker who questions gaps in history, memory, and processes of documentation. Self-reflective in their addressing of the complexities of the filmic medium, her films include: Moving House (2001), Singapore GaGa (2005), Invisible City (2007), To Singapore with Love (2013), and In Time To Come (2017). They have been shown at numerous international film festivals around the world and have won multiple awards. She had retrospectives at RIDM Montreal, DOK Leipzig. She was the executive producer of award-winning Unteachable (2019). She is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers and was a board member of the Singapore International Film Festival, The Substation and the National Archives of Singapore. She was awarded the S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study for an MFA at Northwestern University, USA. She was awarded the S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study for an MFA at Northwestern University, USA, and was called to the Singapore Bar upon completion of her law degree from Oxford University.

During her residency at NTU CCA Singapore between May and September 2016, Tan was working on her five-year project In Time to Come (2017), a contemplative film on daily rituals in Singapore, from school ceremonies to opening protocol in a bookstore, in which constant repetition provides a sense of frozen time in a city that always looks forward.

Everything begins from small steps. That was the first thing that came through History of Merchant, a solo exhibition of Husein’s work in 2012. A small-intimate approach to his family journeys, from Hadramaut, in Middle East to South East in Indonesia. By collecting, archiving, and listening to the elders stories, the work started to build a strong foundation that led him to one project and then another project. Since that, he started to further seek and question Arabic descendants in Indonesia. The ideas go across the border between art, politics, economy, and also science. What did they do? Why are they doing that? How do they live and adapt? How they see themselves now? As Arabic-Indonesian or Indonesian-Arabic? These questions about identity, adaptation, survival, daily life culture, and also originality are evoked. While doing research for that project, Husein found stories about the transition, from Hyderabad to Singapore. These descendants were supposed to go directly to Indonesia through the Malaya Peninsula but stopped and stayed in Singapore for two years due to the critical situation that happen between British and the Dutch thus it has been said, to have developed a new community. This is the point of entry into Husein’s research for the NTU CCA Residencies Programme. The topic is simplified into three aspects: Identity, Transition, and Journeys. By using those as the main core Husein will explore the story of Arabic society in Singapore, seeking artefact and archives through the stories from the citizens.

Marianna Simnett (b.1986, United Kingdom) lives and works in London. Her interdisciplinary practice includes video, installation, performance, sculpture and watercolour. Simnett uses vivid and visceral means to explore the body as a site of transformation. Working with animals, children, organs, and often performing herself, she imagines radical new worlds filled with untamed thoughts, strange tales, and desires. Simnett has shown in major museums internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include LAB RATS, Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2019), My Broken Animal, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands (2019), CREATURE, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2019), Blood In My Milk, New Museum, New York, United States (2018) among others. She is a joint winner of the Paul Hamlyn Award 2020, received the Jerwood / FVU Award in 2015, and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2017.

The artist was scheduled to be in-residence from July ‚ Sept 2020. Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and international travel restrictions, the artist was unable to participate in the residency programme physically.

During the residency, Brigitte van der Sande aims to further the scope of her ongoing research on the currencies and potentialities of science-fiction in the context of Asia. By connecting with local artists and cultural practitioners with similar interests, she will explore possibilities of future collaboration for the second edition of the multidisciplinary festival Other Futures that will take place in Amsterdam 2020. Reflecting on these experiences and interests, van der Sande will also present a public talk entitled Speculations on other futures.

Diego Tonus lives and works in Amsterdam. His works addresses the boundaries between truth and fact, reality and fiction, presentation and representation, mediation and lived experience. His work has been recently presented at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); the 9th edition of Furla award (2013), Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2013).

Li Ran is a performance and video artist. His practice tests the line between fact and fiction, questioning assumptions of cultural cliché and challenging the idea of the self. Between September and November 2015, Li was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore where he started the work It is not Complicated, A Guide Book (2016). As part of the work, Li juxtaposed recordings of Singapore’s popular attractions, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands, with quotes from the Chinese version of the Centre Pompidou museum guide, whose account of modern art resonates with Singapore’s contemporary landscape.

Developed during his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Creatif Compleks (2018) is the culmination of Michael Lee’s reflection on the function of the artist’s studio within the arts ecology of a city. The work takes the form of a diagram about a hypothetical property development consisting of various configurations of the artist’s home/studio. The use of LED light strips, a popular fixture in advertising and interior design, alludes to latent apprehensions about the development and promotion of the arts in Singapore which today are, arguably, at a feverish pitch. Informed by myths and fantasies of artists in their studios, the work takes a speculative leap into the utopian and the absurd.

The exhibition China. The Arts – The People, Photographs and Films from the 1980s and 1990s by acclaimed filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger (b. 1942 in Constance, Germany) is the first large-scale exhibition by the award-winning filmmaker and artist in Asia. The selection of works focuses on Ottinger’s research and travels in China and Mongolia during the 1980s and 1990s, comprising four films and more than one hundred photographs. The photographs, created largely in parallel with the production of her films, will be unfolded along the artist’s leitmotifs.

Starting with China. The Arts – The People (1985), the exhibition leads a journey through the cultures and geographies of China, while also exploring the relationship between moving image and still life. The three acts of the documentary are presented on a three-screen installation, documenting everyday life in Beijing (February 1985), Sichuan Province (March 1985), and Yunnan Province (March 1985). While meeting the film director Ling Zifeng in one chapter, a Bamboo factory is visited in another, and in parallel the Sani people, a minority group, show their habitat, the Stone Forest.

Taiga. A Journey to Northern Mongolia (1992), a documentary over eight hours long that will be presented on multiple monitors throughout the exhibition space, looks into the everyday life of nomadic peoples in Mongolia. Furthermore, on view in the cinematic space of the Centre, The Single Screen, will be Exile Shanghai (1997), a film telling the six life stories of German, Austrian, and Russian Jews intersecting in Shanghai after their escape from Nazi Germany, as well as Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia (1989), Ottinger’s only feature fiction film presenting a cast starring Badema, Lydia Billiet, Inés Sastre, and Delphine Seyrig.

From 1962 to 1968, Ulrike Ottinger was living as an independent artist in Paris, where at the University of Paris-Sorbonne she attended lectures on ethnography and religion of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Louis Althusser, and Pierre Bourdieu. Over the decades, she has created an extensive image archive, including films, photographs of her own as well as collections of postcards, magazine illustrations, and other iconographic documents from times and places worldwide. Driven by her curiosity for people and places, the artist’s images alternate between documentary insight and theatrical extravagance, presenting encounters with everyday realities at the intersection of the contemporary, the traditional, and the ritual.

The extraordinary filmic and photographic oeuvre from China and Mongolia of the 1980s and 1990s prove her outstanding practice and beyond. Fighting for permission to travel and film in communist China, Ottinger’s interest in Asia also broke with the Cold War stereotype of that time. Her inimitable universe of provinces and regions of China is filled with rich imagery of various provinces in China and nomadic societies in Northern Mongolia and their history, paying attention to the presence of local details and reaching far beyond its described territory.

The exhibition is accompanied by an intensive public programme, starting with a Behind the Scenes discussion with the artist on her practice as photographer and filmmaker. The programmed talks and screenings will reflect on the notion of the documentary, the intersection of documentary and fiction, and the potential that artistic production can have for anthropology, cultural studies, and history.

Initially a painter, Ottinger came to filmmaking in the early 1970s. She furthermore produced operas, several theatre plays, and radio dramas. Her films have received numerous awards and have been shown at the world’s most important film festivals, as well as appreciated in multiple retrospectives, including Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival (2013), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010), Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2004), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000), and Cinémathèque française, Paris (1982). Her work has been featured in major international exhibitions such as Documenta (2017, 2002), Gwangju Biennale (2014), Berlin Biennale (2010, 2004), and Shanghai Biennale (2008). Recent solo shows include, among others, Johanna Breede Photokunst, Berlin (2015, 2013), Sammlung Goetz, Munich (2012), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2011), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2011), and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2004). Major monographs include Ulrike Ottinger: World Images (2013), Ulrike Ottinger (2012), Ulrike Ottinger: N.B.K. Ausstellungen Band 11 (2011), Floating Food (2011), and Image Archive (2005). In 2011, she was awarded the Hannah Höch Prize for her creative work, and in 2010 honoured with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Ulrike Ottinger: China. The Arts ­– The People, Photographs and Films from the 1980s and 1990s is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, and Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Exhibitions, Residencies and Public Programmes.

Ulrike Ottinger: China. The Arts ­– The People, Photographs and Films from the 1980s and 1990s public programmes