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The best upcoming art exhibitions in Singapore

The coolest art galleries and museums to get your art and culture fix at this month

By Time Out Singapore editors |
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Singapore Biennale
Photo: Singapore Art Museum

Thinking of broadening your horizons and catching some culture this month? Keep up with our round-up of the best art exhibitions and showcases happening around town. Catch the many exhibitions and immersive art at the Singapore Biennale, which takes over gallery spaces and museums such as National Gallery Singapore and Gillman Barracks; or watch teamLab's art come to life at Gardens By The Bay. There's bound to be something exciting for all you culture vultures this month. 

RECOMMENDED: The best museums in Singapore and the best contemporary art galleries in Singapore

1
#futuretogether
Photo: teamLab
Art, Public art

#FutureTogether at Gardens By The Bay

Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay

Get your cameras ready, because Gardens By The Bay will soon be illuminated with both outdoor and indoor artworks – and this is one for your Instagram feed. Japanese art collective teamLab, famed for the Future World exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, is combining technology and art for the #FutureTogether exhibition in honour of Singapore's bicentennial.

The Dragonfly Lake will be scattered with a bunch of ovoids or egg-shaped structures floating about on the water's surface. Come nightfall, the ovoids light up with bright hues that change in colour when touched. Another highlight at the outdoor garden is the lattice with seasonal flowers that scatter and change over the course of an hour, signifying the continuous cycle of life and death. 

And if you can't get enough of the dazzling outdoor light show, there's an interactive indoor exhibition, which depicts native animals and flowers in technicolour. Don't miss Enso – Gold Light, an exhibition which showcases zen practice of drawing a circle with a single brush stroke. #FutureTogether officially runs from January 16 to March 31 next year, but the outdoor artworks are on view from December 15. The outdoor exhibition is free for all, while the indoor one is free for Singapore residents and ticketed at $10 for foreigners.  

2
Singapore Biennale
Singapore Art Museum
Art

Singapore Biennale

Singapore City,

Singapore Biennale 2019 returns for its sixth edition. This year, titled Every Step in the Right Direction, sees 77 artists and art collectives from 36 countries and territories. The contemporary art platform takes over 11 venues in the city, from the National Gallery Singapore to Gillman Barracks and even W!LD Rice @ Funan. For a full calendar of events, check out the official site here.  

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3
Disney: Magic of Animation
Photo: Disney
Art, Drawing and illustration

Disney: Magic of Animation

Go behind the scenes of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most beloved animated movies at the Art Science Museum. Disney: Magic of Animation showcases 90 magical years of Disney animation this October. The landmark exhibition is shown in Southeast Asia for the first time and features over 500 exceptional art pieces including original drawings, paintings, sketches, and concept art curated by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. Don't miss your chance to be the first to see original artworks from the highly-anticipated film, Frozen 2, ahead of its release on November 21.

4
Children of the Sun
Photo: Khoo Sui Ho
Art, Galleries

Suddenly Turning Visible: Art and Architecture in Southeast Asia (1969-1989)

National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

Interested to find out the connections between art and architecture in Singapore, Bangkok and Manila? Suddenly Turning Visible: Art and Architecture in Southeast Asia illuminates the lesser-known links between art and architecture, and the role of institutions in the development of art in the region. The exhibition showcases artworks from the period (1969 to 1989) alongside archives, and newly commissioned and restaged works. 

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5
City Hall: If Walls Could Talk
Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Art

City Hall: If Walls Could Talk

National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

National Gallery Singapore’s newest exhibition pays tribute to a building with a long and colourful history, the City Hall. City Hall: If Walls Could Talk is held in conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration. The new exhibition is part of the Gallery’s ongoing efforts to delve into the two national monuments the museum is housed in. 

The immersive multimedia experience celebrates the building’s rich history by combining art with stories inspired by key events that took place in the grand City Hall chamber. 

6
Living with Ink: The Collection of Dr Tan Tsze Chor
Photo: Asian Civilisations Museum
Art

Living with Ink: The Collection of Dr Tan Tsze Chor

Asian Civilisations Museum, City Hall

Peep at a late businessman and calligrapher's massive art collection at the Asian Civilisations Museum's Living with Ink. The exhibition will present over 130 treasured Chinese paintings, porcelains, and scholars' objects donated to the museum since 2000 by the Tan family. This includes paintings by modern Chinese masters Ren Bonian, Xu Beihong, and Qi Baishi – as well as works made by artists in Singapore in the 1930s through the 1980s. 

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7
Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission: Cao Fei
Photo: Image courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space
Things to do, Exhibitions

Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission: Cao Fei

National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

Cao Fei, one of China's leading contemporary artists will be presenting 浮槎 Fú Chá during Singapore Art Week. The large-scale kinetic sculpture installation will be part of the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission at the National Gallery Singapore. Cao Fei is known for her works including RMB Cities: A Second Life City Planning (2007), reimagining the future of China’s cities in an online virtual world, and Asia One (2018). The kinetic sculpture installation will be Cao Fei’s first set of solo presentations in the new year before her exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London and UCCA Beijing. 

8
Studio portrait of two young men 1910
Photo: Lee Brothers Studio
Art, Photography

From Brush to Lens: Early Chinese Photography Studios in Singapore

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Novena

A picture is worth a thousand words, even tales from the yesteryears. Let Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall transport you back in time in its latest exhibition featuring photographs taken by early Chinese photography studios. Uncover the stories of Chinese portrait painters who learned photography and later immigrated to Singapore to set up photography studios after the First Opium War. The early Chinese Photography studio contributed to documenting Singapore's colonial history from the 1890s.

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9
Collisions: Information, Harmony and Conflict
Photo: Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Art

Collisions: Information, Harmony and Conflict

Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Bukit Merah

Singapore’s visual arts enclave Gillman Barracks opens the floor for Collisions: Information, Harmony and Conflict. Best known for his Aggregations – freestanding and wall-hung sculptural works made from thousands of triangular forms wrapped in antique mulberry paper tinted with teas or pigment – Chun Kwang Young showcases his solo exhibition on the heels of his recent one at the Brooklyn Museum in New York which ran for seven months. 

10
Malay Heritage Centre
Art

Seekor Singa, Seorang Putera, dan Sebingkai Cermin: Reflecting and Refracting Singapura

Malay Heritage Centre, Rochor

The Malay Heritage Centre is housing a very special exhibition that invites all to explore Singapore's significance in the maritime world. Go back in time and watch it all unveiled through the lens of various Malay world perspectives and indigenous material culture, juxtaposed against European colonial sources. Through resurfacing these earlier histories, narratives and representations, the exhibition showcases multiple contexts to reveal how the Malay community is formed in nineteenth-century Singapore, and aims to expand historiographies of Singapore and its connections to the region.

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11
Chua Soo Bin: Truths & Legends
Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Art, Photography

Chua Soo Bin: Truths & Legends

National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

Look at the world through the lens of the remarkable photographer and Cultural Medallion award recipient, Chua Soo Bin. Featuring about 100 photographic works and archival materials, the exhibition highlights the camera master's ability to capture definitive portraits and sensitive images, as well as his position in the rise of photography in Singapore. Observe the iconic portraits of 14 established Chinese ink masters, giving you a glimpse of the nuances of their daily lives. A selection of ink paintings by these masters are also showcased alongside to deepen your appreciation for the art. 

12
From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting Our Tamil Heritage
Photo: Indian Heritage Centre
Things to do, Cultural centres

From the Coromandel Coast to the Straits: Revisiting Our Tamil Heritage

Indian Heritage Centre, Rochor

Uncover and educate yourself about the history of Tamils in Singapore. To commemorate 200 years of the Tamils in Singapore, the Indian Heritage Centre presents a collection of narratives that recount the experiences of Tamil diasporas in Southeast Asia and Singapore from pre-modern to contemporary times. The exhibition is presented in two parts: the odyssey of pre-modern Tamil diasporas in Southeast Asia and glimpses of lesser-known 19th-century pioneers and some of the oldest Tamil families in Singapore. 

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13
Irene Agrivina_Soya C(o)u(l)ture
Photo: NTU CCA
Art, Contemporary art

The Posthuman City Climates. Habitats. Environments.

NTU CCA Singapore, Kent Ridge

There's no escaping global warming but there are sustainable steps to reduce our carbon footprint. This eye-opening – and thought-provoking – exhibition combines art, design and architecture by 10 international artists to show how we can make good use of our natural resources and peacefully co-exist among nature in this urban world.

14
2219: Futures Imagined
Photo: Sarah Choo Jing
Art

2219: Futures Imagined

ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay

Wonder what our world will look like in the next 200 years? Peer into the future at this immersive and experiential exhibition that showcases the imaginary worlds hatched by various artists, architects, filmmakers, writers and theatre companies from Singapore and beyond. Echoing the structure of From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience, the exhibition takes you on a journey through five acts, exploring how climate change and lack of biodiversity can affect our future lives.  

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15
Adventures in Food Wonderland by Ang Ku Kueh Girl® and Friends™
Photo: ION Sky
Things to do

Adventures in Food Wonderland

ION Sky, Orchard

If there's one thing Singapore's known for, it's the food culture here. Inspired by local snacks, this all-new digital projection light show at ION Sky takes you on a flavourful adventure with whimsical characters like Ang Ku Kueh Girl, Roti Prata Boy and Kueh Lapis Girl. Follow them as they do all they can to defend their Food Wonderland. Get your tickets for the show via the ION Orchard Mobile app or over the Concierge counters. Simply spend a minimum of $20 per receipt at the mall to redeem an ION Sky ticket.  

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Hu Yun
Photo: Hu Yun
Art

another diorama by Hu Yun – National University of Singapore Museum

NUS Museum, Kent Ridge

Housed in the Archaeology Library, 'another diorama' is Hu Yun's dialogue with the interstices of object and image as he explores the limits and possibilities of collaborating with the work of other artists. These works and archives by émigré artists who practiced woodcarving in Singapore between the 1970s and the 1990s and confronts the history of woodcarving as a popular medium in the region   

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17
Chua Soo Bin: Truths & Legends
Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Art, Photography

Chua Soo Bin: Truths & Legends

National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

Look at the world through the lens of the remarkable photographer and Cultural Medallion award recipient, Chua Soo Bin. Featuring about 100 photographic works and archival materials, the exhibition highlights the camera master's ability to capture definitive portraits and sensitive images, as well as his position in the rise of photography in Singapore. Observe the iconic portraits of 14 established Chinese ink masters, giving you a glimpse of the nuances of their daily lives. A selection of ink paintings by these masters are also showcased alongside to deepen your appreciation for the art. 

The best places to catch some art

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