Monday, December 29, 2014

Signature Art Prize 2014

During one of my recent visits to the Singapore Art Museum, I set aside time to check out the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize 2014. The triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize recognizes the most outstanding contemporary work by artists from the Asia-Pacific region in the last three years.

The Signature Art Prize 2014 exhibition held at the Singapore Art Museum features the artworks of the 15 finalists which were chosen from a total of 105 nominated artworks from 24 countries and territories from the Asia-Pacific region. The 15 finalists were selected by a panel of five eminent judges based on the following evaluation criteria:
- strength of the ideas and the concept
- creative use of medium, material or technique
- artistic insight and interpretation
- imagination and originality

There are a couple of interesting artworks that have caught my attention during my visit to the exhibition. Admittedly, I find contemporary art challenging to understand at times. Thankfully, catalogues are available to provide visitors with insights to better understand each of the selected artworks.

Here are some of my favourite artworks from the Signature Art Prize 2014 exhibition:

Robert Zhao Renhui's Eskimo Wolf Trap often quoted in Sermons.

Robert Zhao Renhui's Eskimo Wolf Trap often quoted in Sermons invoked me to think about the relationship between humans and the snow wolf, the predator and the prey. The installation looked pure and minimalist, yet it was rather thought-provoking. I started to imagine how a snow wolf would cut its own tongue as it is lured by the blood-stained knife and starts to lick the blade.

Nguyen Trinh Thi's Unsubtitled.

Nguyen Trinh Thi's Unsubtitled somehow brings its audience to immerse into a very close experience almost face-to-face with the 19 artists who each performed the acting of eating a food item of their choice, stating their name and identifying what they had just eaten. The freedom of expression cannot be taken for granted. I thought that the use of life-size video projections against a dark setting works out really well. A very creative choice of medium and way of presentation.

Liu Jianhua's Trace.

Liu Jianhua's Trace had unconsciously made me felt its powerful impact when I walked past it while walking up the museum's central stairwell. This site-specific sculptural installation harmoniously bridged three different zones. As I walked up the stairway, I felt beckoned to imagine the nuances of tonality, shade, texture and depth that black ink can take. I like the idea of turning inkflow into sculpture. This somehow forced me to look at black ink and the Chinese art of calligraphy in a different way.

Choe U-Ram's Custos Cavum (Guardian of the hole).

Choe U-Ram's Custos Cavum (Guardian of the hole) intrigued me with its use of machinery and robotics to realize a imaginary creature that originated from a myth written by the artist. I cannot help but to take many looks of it to figure out how this machine-like artwork works.

Arin Rungjang's Golden Teardrop.

Arin Rungjang's Golden Teardrop was one of the artworks that attracted my interest. The  title of the artwork alludes to a traditional egg-yolk dessert that was first created in mediaeval convents in Portugal and introduced to the 17th century Siamese court by a Portuguese-Bengali-Japanese woman. I like the narrative story-telling character of the documentary video which gave me a glimpse to some of the key historical events and cultures that have shaped the Southeast Asian region.

The sculpture formed by almost 6000 brass teardrops suspended from a large frame made of timber salvaged from a traditional Thai house and steel beams from an old factory somehow formed an interesting backdrop for me to reflect as I watched the documentary video that was framed through Thai history.

The above-mentioned are my favourite artworks from the exhibition, not in any particular order. I was eager to support my favourite artworks. The good news is that voting for our favourite arwork has began on 14 Nov 2014. Members of the public can vote for their favourite artwork from the 15 finalists. The finalist artwork with the highest number of public votes will win the People's Choice Award, which is one of the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize 2014 awards. Voters can vote once a day from 14 Nov 2014 until the votes close at 11:59 p.m. on 21 Jan 2015. Voters stand to win prizes too.

To vote for your favourite finalist artwork, please visit:

APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2014
14 Nov 2014 - 15 Mar 2015
Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road
Singapore 189555

Opening hours:
Mondays - Sundays: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Fridays: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Citizens and permanent Residents - Free
Foreign visitors, adults - S$10 each
Foreign visitors, students - S$5 each
Foreign visitors, senior citizens - S$5 each
Free for children under six
For more details, please visit:

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