Since the 1990s Singapore has steadily grown its reputation as a premier destination for fans of contemporary art. The city is now home to a number of new innovative art spaces and the state’s new art hub Gillman Barracks, where a number of contemporary galleries reside. Read on for our new guide to the best contemporary art galleries in Singapore.
Art Plural Gallery
Founded in 2011 by Swiss art dealer Frederic de Senarclens after his relocation to Singapore, Art Plural Gallery occupies a charming, historic Art Deco property split over four levels, each dedicated to exhibition space in the heart of the city’s cultural district. Presenting an innovative program of solo and group exhibitions featuring works by internationally renowned artists and appearing at highly-regarded art fairs like Art Stage Singapore and Art Taipei, it is no wonder the gallery was cited amongst the World’s Best New Galleries and Museums by Blouin Artinfo in 2013. Amongst the gallery’s roster of artists are Chinese painter Fu Lei, American sculptor Jedd Novatt, British artist Ian Davenport, French artist Fabienne Verdier, French sculptor Bernar Venet, Chinese artist Li Tianbing and Korean artist Chun Kwang Young.
Art Plural Gallery, 38 Armenian Street, Singapore, +65 66368360
With a special focus on art from Southeast Asia and Australia, Future Perfect is devoted to advancing the careers of the some of the most original and creative artists in the Asian-Pacific region. Established and operated by a trio of Australian art enthusiasts – award-winning contemporary artist Jasper Knight, writer and art consultant Nina Miall and curator and professor David The – the gallery exhibits a wide range of mediums including painting, photography, installation and mixed-media art, sculpture and drawings with works by artists like Melbourne-based video artist Daniel Crooks and Thai installation artist Arin Rungjang, whose works confront important stages in Thai history.
Future Perfect, 47 Malan Road, Singapore, +65 9835 8271
Located in Singapore’s contemporary arts hub Gillman Barracks, a 6.4 hectare former military camp is now home to 15 contemporary art galleries. ARNDT Singapore is owned and run by German art dealer Matthias Arndt who founded the gallery in 2013. It was formed following the success of sister gallery ARNDT Berlin’s frequent exhibitions in Asia. Presenting a programme of solo exhibitions and curated group shows featuring Asian and international art, ARNDT works to raise the profile of both established and emerging artists with notable exhibitions including works by Filipino painter Rodel Tapaya and Italian-British collaborative duo Gilbert and George.
The Drawing Room
Originating as a gallery in Manila’s Makita City specializing in works on paper, founder Cesar Villalon Jr. established the Singapore branch of The Drawing Room in 2012 in the Gillman Barracks arts hub. He has since expanded the gallery’s vision to include a diverse range of media like painting, sculpture, collage and installations. Examining the varied terrain of the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene and paying particular attention to artists from Singapore and the Philippines, recent exhibitions have included Filipino multi-media artist Yason Banal, and painter and printmaker Ged Merino.
Since its establishment in 2010 by Turkish owner Can Yavuz, Yavuz Gallery has developed a reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s premier destinations for cutting-edge Asian and Middle Eastern contemporary art. While the gallery does not concentrate on one particular medium or stylistic movement, exhibitions tend to demonstrate social significance and the spirit of unconventionality and surprise, with past exhibitions including graffiti-inspired Indonesian artist Wedhar Riyadi’s Bones After Bones: Echo, a series of works examining violence in the media, and Thai mixed-media artist Pinaree Sanpitak’s sculptural series Breast Stupa Topiary.
Yavuz Gallery, 9 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, +65 6734 3262
Founded by partners and lawyers-turned-gallerists Abigail Wong and Benjamin Ng in collaboration with Jordi Barnadas of Barcelona’s Galería Jordi Barnadas, Barnadas Huang, is making waves in Singapore’s contemporary art scene. Its mission is to increase the profile of edgy, relevant European art in Asia. A participant in art fairs including Singapore’s Affordable Art Fair and the Malaysia Art Expo, the artists represented by the gallery include Barcelona-born painter Xavier Visa, who created photograph-like hyper-realistic paintings and Madrid native and sculptor Jesús Curiá, whose works are influenced by Asian and African cultures.
Barnadas Huang, 22 Dempsey Road, Singapore, +65 6635 4707
Established in 1996 with the aim of exploring the diverse cultures of modern Southeast Asia via the exhibition of thought-provoking art, Gajah Gallery is widely regarded as a pioneer in the Asian contemporary art world and has consistently worked to raise the profile of Asian artists on an international level. With particular attention to contemporary Indonesian art, the gallery represents some of Indonesia’s most respected artists including sculptor and installation artist Yusra Martunus and painter Jumaldi Alfi. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions of works by artists like Singaporean ceramics sculptor Jason Lim and Chinese painter and calligrapher Wei Ligang, alongside international artists like Barbados-born and Bali-based Ashley Bickerton.
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Dedicated to exploring the dialogue between Western and non-Western societies and cultures, Sundaram Tagore is a multi-national art gallery with locations in Singapore, New York and Hong Kong. Exhibitions here are designed to inspire social, spiritual and aesthetic discourse. Overseen by its namesake, gallerist Sundaram Tagore, the gallery presents a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, performance art and photography from artists whose work seek to transcend cultural and aesthetic boundaries. Recent exhibitions have featured Annie Leibovitz, the celebrated American portrait photographer, Mexican abstract painter Ricardo Mazal and Dutch artist Fré Ilgen.
Collectors Contemporary was founded in 2007 by two art collectors and today specializes in exhibiting and selling modern and contemporary art from Asia and the west. Located in a 3,000 square foot space that has exhibited works by the likes of British light artist Chris Levine and graphic art duo STATIC, the gallery also regularly hosts educational talks and presentations designed for art lovers, collectors and students alongside representing talents that include Japanese pop culture-influenced painter and sculptor Takashi Murakami and South Korean minimalist painter Wonkun Jun.
Founded by director Stephanie Fong in 2006, in its eight years of operation FOST Gallery has gained a reputation for hosting some of the city state’s most edgy and exciting exhibitions. Showcasing contemporary art from across the globe with a particular focus on Singapore-based artists, FOST Gallery was listed amongst Blouin Artinfo’s Top Galleries in Asia in 2013, consolidating its stature as a premier Singaporean arts destination with a series of exhibitions that have recently included works by Jimmy Ong, one of the most renowned artists in the country, and local conceptual artist Heman Chong.
FOST Gallery, 1 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, +65 6694 3080
By Helen Armitage