Singapore, 3 November 2016 – Award-winning conceptual artist Danh Vo’s largest installation in Asia to date launched at the National Gallery Singapore’s Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery today. It also marks the inaugural showcase of the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission series.
By taking art installations out of typical gallery spaces and into public areas, this installation is one of the Gallery’s initiatives in engaging visitors with more differentiated and dynamic art experiences. Visitors are invited to sit on the wooden forms and appreciate the space the
artist has created; to consider the potentials in the interlocking shapes presented and to observe the architecture of the surrounding skyline.
Here, the shapes of the buildings around the gallery disappear into the reflective copper surface. Yet, under the tropical Singapore weather, the artwork’s copper floor will also oxidise and darken over the exhibition period, encouraging visitors to come back and reexamine the changing landscape.
Born in Vietnam, Danh Vo and his family first came to Singapore as refugees in 1979. After a short stay at the Hawkins Road refugee camp in Sembawang, they ended up in Denmark and eventually became Danish citizens. Vo’s childhood dislocation provides a starting point for explorations of cross-cultural identity and cultural hierarchies that challenge, in particular, assumptions about meaning and value, and resonate well with the other exhibitions presented in National Gallery Singapore.
Created as a response to the Gallery’s Southeast Asia exhibitions, the artist’s sculpture garden features scaled-up wooden toy puzzles of varying sizes placed alongside a classical Roman marble sculpture on a copper floor, and will sit at the roof of the old City Hall building.
The combination of wood, marble and copper, the play with scale and the multiple intersecting lines show an interest in form and composition that is seldom discussed in relation to Vo’s work.
“We are honoured to have Danh Vo’s work inaugurate the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission series for the Gallery. He is one of the most interesting and complex artists working today. The way in which his work examines the relationship between art and history through the intersection between his personal experiences and global historical events, extends the conversation on the histories of Southeast Asian art presented through our permanent galleries” said Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore.
The Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission series is made possible by Far East Organization’s contribution to National Gallery Singapore. It will invite leading international artists to create new site-specific works that connect to the curatorial narratives of the museum’s collections and permanent exhibitions and extend the conversation on Southeast Asian art.
The family of the late Mr Ng Teng Fong said, "We are happy to make this gift to the National Gallery Singapore in the name of the Lord Jesus, from whom all good things come. We are grateful to the National Gallery for their naming of the rooftop garden in honour of our late father, Mr Ng Teng Fong. The National Gallery is a precious national heritage site and has become an exciting new icon of Singapore's evolving arts scene. It is our hope that the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery and Commission, with its verdant and tranquil environment, will bring art and inspiration to all of its visitors."
Curated by Charmaine Toh, the showcase will run till 31 August 2017 at the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery located at Level 5 of the City Hall Wing. Admission is free.
For more information about Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission: Danh Vo, visit www.nationalgallery.sgplus