Walking in the City ft. Artworks by Heman Chong Walking in the City ft. Artworks by Heman Chong

Walking in the City ft. Artworks by Heman Chong

  • *16 Jun to 6 Dec 2020

  • 71 Bras Basah Road and 8 Queen Street

  • Free public outdoor work. Accessible at all times.

*Planned dates may be affected by COVID-19 related restrictions. Please check back again for updates.

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: Foreign Affairs #290 and Writing While Walking And Other Stories by Heman Chong

Foreign Affairs #290 draws from a series of photographs of nondescript back doors of embassies around the world. Heman Chong presents these back entrances without any identifying markers, thereby retaining the mystique of the veiled and the inaccessible that is often associated with embassies. 

This work demonstrates the artist’s interest in surveillance. The repeating photographs across the hoarding are reminiscent of frames from a closed-circuit television, and allude to the ubiquity of security cameras at these sites.  This barrage of back doors invite us to think about the presence of various systems in our world and the complications involved. While these back doors have been designed as emergency escape routes, they also belie global fears of spying and political subterfuge. 

Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum 
Collection of the artist and Amanda Wilkinson Gallery 

Writing While Walking And Other Stories comprises 2,581 words written by artist Heman Chong on his iPhone 11 during an eight-hour meander around Singapore. Chong had no predefined route, time limit or destination in mind; he simply left his home and walked until he was completely exhausted, before taking a Grab ride home. The artist explores a new method of artistic production by compressing walking and writing into one process.

Like the walk, the text was written with no structure, plot, context or word limit in mind, and was deemed complete when the artist entered a state of wordlessness. The absence of punctuation or capitalisation is deliberate—it creates a sense of breathlessness as the viewer attempts to read it, recalling the physical exertion of walking in Singapore’s tropical and humid climate. Each frame is presented in a staggered tile pattern across the hoarding and appears to become animated as the viewer traverses the length of the image, lending the work a filmic quality and sense of the infinite.  

Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum 
Collection of the artist and Amanda Wilkinson Gallery
S
pecial thanks to Kathleen Ditzig