Singapore Art Museum’s latest commission for the museum’s Front Lawn, Harvest (2017) by Singaporean artist Gerald Leow, is a lumbung (Malay for rice granary or barn) that draws upon the graphic imagery of a more modern era.
The monumental structure harks to the history of Bras Basah, the area in which the museum is located, and that of the museum building itself. It is situated in the curved embrace of the colonial architecture of the Museum building – the former St. Joseph’s Institute (SJI) building that had its cornerstone laid in 1855. Constructed out of wood, the lumbung’s material echoes back to its forebears, and stands in contrast to the school building’s imposing stone and brickwork. Indeed, the wood used here is specifically recycled crate pinewood – the same kind of material used for the crates that freight artworks in and out for the museum’s many exhibitions. Imprinted with stamps and chops that reveal past passages and journeys, the wood also materially gestures to Singapore’s past-and-present as a transportation hub and port city.
Gerald Leow (b. 1984, Singapore) uses found objects from the cultural landscape and reworks them to shed light on the problematic nature of authenticity, culture, and identity. His work expresses the obscure distinctions between objects of the sacred and the profane. His interests include anthropology and material cultures. A diverse practitioner, he works frequently in theatre creating sets and objects. He is also part of the visual art collective DXXXXD. He lives and works in Singapore.
There will be an Artist and Curator Talk on 20 January at 4pm.
Cribs (Exhibition view at Palais de Tokyo), Gerald Leow, 2015. Image Courtesy of Gerald Leow