SSS Milestones Project @ library 2006

@National Library, miles away from ideal

I think the exhibit organizers (not curators) have grossly under-estimated the effectiveness of the art works or have ill-consideration to site the sculptures by right in the middle of the ground floor open air plaza at the National Library, dwarfing the sculptures by Michael Ong, Sim Lian Huat, Han Sai Por and Yeo Chee Kiong.

The commissioned works shown in parts at various libraries around Singapore is an ambitious effort to push for a greater understanding of what sculptures are today. Public art is often construed to present a necessary narrative, form and spatial intervention.  Little information, collectively, is available on public sculptures in Singapore; sculptures commissioned to be enjoyed, pondered by Singaporeans for generations to come and not simply a splurge or sign of wealth. Public sculptures have the ability to imbue ‘qi’ into an otherwise lifeless building – it is more likely people will gather at public sculptures to stop, ponder, eat, chat and meet than at a lift lobby hindering human traffic. If the public sculpture is interesting enough, the viewer is motivated to stop, whip out a camera or camera-phone and take a snap shot for whatever personal reasons.

While this exhibit is temporal, and perhaps shouldn’t be classified as public art, maybe it would have been better to site then in the ‘final’ locations, and provide a better printed introduction. With the above mentioned aspirations of what I feel public sculptures should be, I think the exhibit has fallen short of good curatorial practice. Some works seem to have dodgy surfaces which I doubt will stand the test of time in the open, unless the surface were meant to peel and flake! The size of the works presented here, other then Sai Por’s “A Garden City” are more suitable indoors, or at least in a more intimate space, with consideration for natural or superficial light. 

References to good curatorial practice when it comes to locating and commissioning public art can be found in City Art: New York's Percent For Art Program (Paperback) [ISBN: 185894290X], edited by Eleanor Heartney and Adam Gopnik.

1.0    of 5 stars

National Library

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