"Outbound to bring art even closer to visitors

National Gallery Singapore will launch OUTBOUND, a series of artwork commissions to trigger unexpected and meaningful art encounters for visitors beyond the exhibition galleries. As visitors traverse the building, they will be greeted by these unique commissions, which are designed to provoke critical reflection, curiosity and playfulness. Curated as an ongoing series, each season of OUTBOUND will progressively unveil artworks in the Gallery’s public spaces over a period of three years.

The National Gallery of Singapore

The National Gallery of Singapore

 Dr. Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore, shared, “OUTBOUND is our latest endeavor in creating new aesthetic experiences for our visitors. Conceptualized to broaden encounters with art at the Gallery, we mobilise transitional spaces and key entrances of the Gallery to encourage visitors to see art anew and in a less inhibited way. We hope these visually stimulating and enriching experiences beyond the usual exhibition sites can intrigue audiences to embrace the surprises that art brings about at every turn of the Gallery.”

Developed in collaboration with leading artists from around the world, each commission acts as an artistic landmark that guides visitors through the Gallery’s iconic architecture.

Inaugurating the series is Singapore artist Jane Lee.

Lee is best known for her inventive techniques and deft use of materials to expand our awareness of environmental textures and possibilities. Her commissioned work Nowhere (2018)reinstates Raw Canvas (2008) – a monumental painting installation for the 2008 Singapore Biennale – to its original location (the City Hall historical staircase on level 4) at the Gallery, but also refracts and rearticulates our relationship with this art historical moment. Visitors are invited to sit on a raised bench that has been painted over in the same technique as Raw Canvas, and gaze towards Lee’s meticulous paint work, which is reflected and fragmented through a facing wall encrusted with hundreds of mirrored tiles. Nowhere probes the dividing line between solidity and precarity, the real and the illusory, and elicits a mood of solitude and contemplation, even in the interstitial space of a staircase lobby.

Nowhere will be Lee’s first work conceived for physical interaction. Visitors can enter into her installation, sit on the specially designed bench and admire the mirrored surfaces, thus closing the gap between art and its audience.

D.r Adele Tan, curator of OUTBOUND, said, “Through commissioning art projects, we are seeking to renew our working relationships with artists, deepen our critical knowledge of different artistic practices, as well as to give time and attention to a collaborative, process-oriented methodology that is open to experimentation and sometimes unexpected outcomes. It is also about understanding intimately the characteristics of our iconic buildings and activating the potential inherent in our built environment. It has been serendipitous that several of our artists have proposed projects that explore and exploit the rich variety and history of our buildings’ interior surfaces, including innovative ways to print, tile or weave extensive wall coverings as if transforming the skin of the Gallery.” 

Other artists in the pipeline for the first season of OUTBOUND include Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann who is working with different communities of indigenous weavers in Sabah to produce contemporary formats of woven mats, Filipino artist Maria Taniguchi, who will transform the Gallery’s corridors with abstract silkscreen prints on paper and fabric, and Australian artist Gary Carsley, who is collaborating with Singapore artist Jeremy Chu to produce a visually rich and immersive installation based on his study of colonial botanical gardens in Southeast Asia.

Beyond its role in encouraging the public to engage with art in new ways, OUTBOUND adds to National Gallery Singapore’s collaborations with artists to bring these experiences alive for the audience, while extending and expanding the artists’ current practices. This includes public art installations at the Light to Night Festival and the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission series.

For more information about OUTBOUND, please visit www.nationalgallery.sg/outbound