Ghosts and Spectres — Shadows of History features video installations and films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore), Nguyen Trinh Thi (Vietnam), and Park Chan-kyong (South Korea). The artists’ research into their own cultural and historical backgrounds gain shape through allegories that re-evaluate the social and political reforms in Post-War and Cold-War Asia. The cinematic works in the exhibition combine fact and fiction. They not only allude to rarely discussed subject-matters but also raise crucial questions about power and authority, construction of narratives, repression of identities, and collective trauma.

Embedded in the vernacular, ghosts, myths, and rituals present systems of knowledge that enable the expression of unknown worlds. Ghosts and Spectres — Shadows of History brings to light clouded histories at times not officially recounted but those that remain a lingering presence in collective memories through local mythologies, ghostly figures, and traditions. The works create their own language and systems of reference, reflecting current efforts of exposing written historical accounts and contemporary situations that subvert mainstream narratives.

In parallel, The Lab, NTU CCA Singapore’s platform for research in-progress, will be featuring projects by siren eun young jung (South Korea) and Choy Ka Fai (Singapore/Germany), both recent NTU CCA Singapore artists-in-residence. While jung focuses on Yeoseong Gukgeuk, a vanishing form of traditional Korean theatre featuring only female performers, Choy brings up his long-time research into Butoh dance, also called “dance of darkness,” and looks at its evolution and influence through one of the Butoh founders, Tatsumi Hijikata.

Ghosts and Spectres—Shadows of History is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, and Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes.

Ghosts and Spectres—Shadows of History public programmes
Symposium: Ghosts and Spectres—Shadows of History

The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is honoured to present They Come to Us without a Word, video and performance pioneer Joan Jonas’ first large-scale exhibition in Singapore and Southeast Asia. They Come to Us without a Word was organised for the U.S. Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and co-curated by Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. With this exhibition Jonas evokes the fragility of nature, using her own poetic language to address the irreversible impact of human interference on the environmental equilibrium of our planet.

Acknowledgements They Come to Us without a Word was organised for the U.S. Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and co-curated by Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. The exhibition was generously supported by U.S. Department of State, Cynthia and John Reed, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additional major support was provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT, Toby Devan Lewis, VIA Art Fund, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation.

The exhibition in Singapore is organised by the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Nanyang Technological University with support by the Economic Development Board, Singapore. Additional support has also been provided by the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

Joan Jonas: They Come to Us Without a Word public programmes