We now move upstairs to level 3 of SAM@8Q to get up close with photographic works, one video work, and a video collage of photographs, picked from the Deutsche Bank art collection, which boasts over 60,000 pieces of art works.
This section of the Still Moving exhibition is named Time Present, and on its own, Time Present is a travelling exhibition that will move on to other Asian cities such as Mumbai, Tokyo, and Seoul, after its debut in Singapore as part of Still Moving.
Suggested by its name, the works in Time Present are related to time and the now. These works occupy both of the galleries on level 3, and we may vaguely group them into 4 parts.
Part 1 and 2 (in the gallery to your left as you come up the stairs) respectively look at how do we measure time? How do we experience time? As well as the relationship between now and the past, time and memory.
Part 3 shows works that captured the “perfect moment” or the “candid moment”. And part 4 puts into perspectives matters faced by people in the current world, be it on a personal, national or global level, and what kind of future can we foresee?
I cannot be mersmerised more by the first piece of work that greets visitors to Time Present. It is a wallpaper installed at the stair landing between level 2 and 3. Simply pick a comfortable spot on the landing or a step and start absorbing Dayanita Singh’s Wallpaper Installation (Dream Villa 11).
The technical uniqueness of this work lies in the photographer’s use of a day exposure to capture this night scene, creating a dreamy effect. The “mix-up” of day and night is an apt reference to the many never-resting cosmopolitan cities around the world.
A highlight of Time Present is Susan Derges’s Shoreline, 4 September 1997, in part 1, because the photographic images were made using a cameraless technique, and the images are known as photograms. Holding the view that, “the lens (of a camera) was in the way…”, she would submerse light-sensitive papers into river beds and shores to record water currents without having to snap any photo. These images of water currents have become quiet faces of the river tides during different times of the day and the night, when the supply of light varied vastly. More on photogram here.
In part 2, I particularly like Yto Barrada’s Arbre généalogique (Family Tree). Sometimes, the patches left on a wall after removing family photos from it are as good at bringing back memories as the photographs themselves. An image of missing images gives rise to imagination of the future for the family. Emotions aside, the discoloured shapes and their outlines can make pretty patterns on the wall too! More on Barrada and her works here.
Separately, I can quite safely say that, Cornelia Parker’s set of photographs in part 2 was shot with the oldest camera in the entire exhibition of Still Moving. Its title is sufficient as an introduction – Avoided Object: Infrared photographs of the sky above the Imperial War Museum, taken with the camera that belonged to Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz. More on Parker and the work here.
The final write-up on Still Moving is on its way. We will take a look at a couple more photographs from Time Present and two video works from the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan.