Singapore’s Open House art walkabout flings open doors in the Marina Bay financial district this year.
17 January, 2013
January 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 see the fourth staging of the OH! Open House art programme, which invites the public into unexpected Singaporean venues to view the work of a variety of artists.
Previous editions of the event have placed art in Mount Sophia shophouses, HDB blocks at Marine Parade, and residences in Tiong Bahru. The intention is that the venues will provide as much fodder for contemplation as the artwork.
:PHUNK’s Love Bomb and Love vs Love print (photo by Chen Junyang)
This year, OH! moves in to the boardrooms and back spaces of the Marina Bay financial district – into spaces that are typically off-limits to the general public.
The location is the “complete opposite” of previous years’ venues, says OH! co-founder Oliver Bettin, but it is “relevant to where Singapore is at the moment. I’m sure people must wonder what is going on in these big amorphous buildings,” he says.
Frayn Yong’s Fragile Structures
It’s no coincidence that this year’s theme, ‘The Happiness Index’, questions the role of money in people’s wellbeing. Does money buy happiness? And furthermore, does the iconic Marina Bay financial district represent the ‘real’ Singapore?
Indesignlive.asia joined a tour group to find out how the 12 artists responded to the theme. With two dates left to run, we don’t want to give too much away. We can say, however, that tour-goers can expect a few entertaining surprises and are encouraged to think about the theme in multiple dimensions.
Photographic work by Mintio (photo by Mintio)
Among the thematic directions explored by artists are rapid change, views and viewing, nostalgia, vacuity, the human soul, memory, and information overload.
The venues are equally fascinating – particularly the disjunction one feels after walking the short distance to a location in Singapore’s older CBD fabric on Robinson Road. The sudden presence of a more human-scaled street context beyond Marina Bay’s relatively scale-less glass and pavement is memorable.
studioKALEIDO’s Shelf Help installation (image by studioKALEIDO)
The motivations behind the development of the OH! programme, says Bettin, are threefold: to overcome barriers to the appreciation of art (for those who find galleries intimidating); to challenge artists with contextualising their work; and to make people question what kind of society they’d like to live in.
There are elements of trust and responsibility involved in the act of granting public access to private spaces. This aspect of the OH! programme is surely as potentially beneficial in social terms as its other facets.
Untitled by NGUAN
Remaining tour dates are 19 and 20 January. Tours run between 11am and 3pm. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door. The meeting venue is DBS Asia Central, Marina Bay Financial Centre, 12 Marina Boulevard, Tower 3, Level 3.
Top image: Illustrator Joy Ho at work in Marina Bay Financial Centre (photo by Chen Junyang)
OH! Open House
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