Walking in the City ft. Artworks by vertical submarine

About the Exhibition

While it undergoes its first major building redevelopment since its official opening in 1996, Singapore Art Museum will continue to feature contemporary artworks by turning the buildings’ perimeter hoardings into a public showcase of commissioned works by local artists. The Walking in the City series will engage with themes such as history (of both the building and the island), society, urban development, and the environment.


On view: Flowery Language and Tua Kang (Hyperboleh) by vertical submarine

For the inaugural edition, Singaporean artist collective vertical submarine presents two works, Flowery Language on Bras Basah Road and Tua Kang (Hyperboleh) on Queen Street.

Flowery Language examines the history of botanical illustrations in relation to the power and potential of representation.

Drawing from their research on botanical illustrations created during the colonial era, vertical submarine has created 12 fictional plants that serve not only as witty reference of such illustrations but also to question the roles these illustrations played in advancing scientific knowledge and politico-economic goals. Through their playful subversion of a colonial image-making practice, vertical submarine suggests that the reading of scientific illustrations should not be separated from their histories or politics.

Tua Kang (Hyperboleh) is a tongue-in-cheek reimagination of the world map.

For this work, the artists have expanded the size of Singapore to many times its original size. Highlighted in red, the colour refers to the popular cartographical representation of Singapore as ‘a little red dot’, while the enlarged size alludes to the common perception that the country is able to punch above its own weight in the international arena. The title of the work is from a Hokkien expression used to describe an exaggerated story. In portraying Singapore as such, the artists take a humorous approach to open for discussion our successes in relation to our relatively small size.