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Yayoi Kusama heads to Singapore, while Southeast Asian art travels the globe

29 December 2016

There is much for the art world to look forward to in 2017. It is of course the year when the Venice Biennale, Documenta and the Muenster Sculpture Project are all taking place. At the Venice Biennale (13 May–26 November) I am particularly looking forward to seeing the work of Southeast Asian artists including Zai Kuning at the Singapore pavilion, Tintin Wulia at the Indonesian pavilion, Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo at the Philippines pavilion, as well as David Medalla in Christine Macel’s exhibition in the Arsenale.

Closer to home, Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at the National Art Centre in Tokyo (22 February–22 May), and a separate one at the National Gallery Singapore in June, are ones to look out for. The latter will be the first large-scale survey of her work in Southeast Asia. Continuing the link between Japan and Southeast Asia is ‘Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now.’ It promises to be the largest exhibition of contemporary Southeast Asian art ever put together and is being curated by a team led by Mami Kataoka at the Mori Art Museum and the National Art Centre in Tokyo. It will be held over the two venues, beginning in early July.

Wounded Lion, (c. 1839), Raden Saleh.

Wounded Lion (c. 1839), Raden Saleh. Collection of National Gallery Singapore

Later in the year, I am excited about two exhibitions at the National Gallery Singapore about painting in the 19th century. One exhibition focuses on Raden Saleh and Juan Luna, two significant artists from Southeast Asia who were active in Europe during this period, and will be the first major survey of their works, drawing from collections around the world. The other exhibition will trace changes in art in Europe during the latter half of the 19th century, drawing from the collection of the Musée d’Orsay.

Glu, Glu, Glu, (1966), Anna Maria Maiolino

Glu, Glu, Glu (1966), Anna Maria Maiolino. © Anna Maria Maiolino

On the other side of the world, the next instalment of ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ (opening September) is something I am also looking forward to. It will be an ambitious series of exhibitions exploring Latin American art and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place in several institutions in southern California, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, LACMA, the Hammer Museum and MOCA Los Angeles.

Eugene Tan is director of the National Gallery Singapore.
Keep up with Apollo’s 12 Days selection of art highlights here.