Paradise Lost is NTU CCA Singapore’s inaugural exhibition, curated by Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director) and Anca Rujoiu (Curator for Exhibitions). Conceived as a constellation of three artistic productions that together explore narratives of travel and migration, place and displacement, the personal intertwined with colonial history, Paradise Lost introduces an imaginary Asia — Asia as a space of projections and desires stemming from an experience of dislocation and asynchronicity.
The exhibition juxtaposed trans-generational perspectives, bringing together three major installations of moving image: Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) by Trinh T. Minh-ha, Yellow Patch (2011) by Zarina Bhimji and Disorient (2009) by Fiona Tan.
While all three artists are of Asian descent, their education and artistic practice unfolded in Europe and the U.S., gaining international exposure from there. Paradise Lost marked the first time these works were shown in Asia in an exhibition context.
The forum will focus on commissioned projects by artists engaging with the archives. Each curatorial presentation will provide a close overview of the production process.
Ann Demeester is currently the Director of Frans Hals Museum. She was appointed manager of Art and Urban Development for Amsterdam City Council, co-curated the 10th Baltic Triennial (2009) and was previously the Director of De Appel Arts Centre and W139, Amsterdam.
Mustafa Shabbir Hussain is Curator at the National Art Gallery of Singapore, where he researches on art from Singapore and Southeast Asia. He was formerly Curator at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum from 2007 till 2013.
The first curatorial tour of exhibition is an opportunity for the audience to engage directly with the curator of the show in conversation with the established writer and art critic, Lee Weng Choy.
Lee Weng Choy is the president of the Singapore Section of the International Association of Art Critics; he was a former artistic co-director of The Substation from 2000 to 2009. He has collaborated with NTU CCA Singapore on various projects. Lee has published widely on contemporary art, including contributions to the collections, Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985, and Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art.
This tour will focus on aspects of exhibition construction, installation and the display of each work. Ho Tzu Nyen will explore the exhibition in the light of his artistic practice and engagement with moving image and cinema productions.
Ho Tzu Nyen makes films, videos and live performances related to historical and philosophical texts and artefacts. Recent group exhibitions include: No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013); No Soul for Sale, Tate Modern, London (2010), 5th Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand (2013) and the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (2009). He has also represented Singapore at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011).
Taking Trinh T. Minh-ha’s reflections on the nature and process of storytelling as a starting point, the reading group addresses the (assumed) boundaries between truth and fact, story and history and how these boundaries are challenged by the works in Paradise Lost.
The reading group juxtaposed Trinh T. Min-ha’s text Grandma’s Story with an excerpt from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino that emphasizes the elusive nature of storytelling itself.
The workshop evolves around notions of the boundary event, the between realm, the impasses and the passages, form and formless. During the workshop, the artist will screen a few excerpts of the film Night Passage (2004).
David Teh will introduce Paradise Lost with reference to the genre and histories of the artist-made moving image in the Southeast Asian context. The presentation is structured around three moving-image works from this region whose distinct strategies were explored in relation to the video installations presented in the exhibition.
David Teh works at the National University of Singapore and is the director of the gallery, Future Perfect.
Is there still a place for post–colonial thought? Globalization, the rise of emerging markets, and networks of social media girthing the earth would appear to leave the post–colonial behind as a phase through which many nations have now passed. The rise of global biennales, robust art markets in Mumbai, Shanghai, and Rio, and genre–bending, expanding fields of art practice would equally appear to make the term post–colonial only a matter of brand enhancement in the world of art. But is this really the case?
By returning to some of the great thinkers of the ‘colonial situation’ and some of the theorists of its post–colonial aftermath, Stefano Harney will investigate the renewed power of a post–colonial critique today, as much as in Singapore, as anywhere, and as much as for art, as for political economy.
Stefano Harney teaches ethics at Singapore Management University. Most recently, he is the author, with Fred Moten, of The Undercommons: fugitive planning and black study. He is a member of the Grounds Provision collective, and founder of the School for Study, a collective of university researchers.
In collaboration with BooksActually, NTU CCA Singapore will organize a special book presentation focused on the series Balik Kampung 2A: People and Places / Balik Kampung 2B: Contemplations. Edited by Verena Tay, the collection brings together commissioned texts by a series of authors who address their experience of living in different parts of Singapore.
The book presentation situates itself as a counterpoint in the context of Paradise Lost. It will produce a shift from reflections of homeland as perceived from afar to engagement with an immediate environment through Balik Kampung stories.
BooksActually (est. 2005) is an independent bookstore specializing in Fiction and Literature.
After twenty-five years of theatre-making and three published collections of plays, Verena Tay now deals with fiction. During 2012, she edited the original Balik Kampung anthology and A Monsoon Feast.
This is the last exhibition tour of Paradise Lost. Taking as a starting point the engagement with archival materials present in all the three works in the exhibition, Vera Mey (CCA Curator for Residencies) and Mustafa Shabbir Hussain (Curator at the National Art Gallery of Singapore) will discuss artistic, curatorial and art historical strategies around using archival sources. The talk will expand around issues surrounding narrative and the archive (or lack thereof) by connecting this to other approaches within wider Southeast Asia.