In conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2020, The Private Museum (TPM) launched Emerging: Collecting Singapore Contemporary – Selections from the DUO Collection last Saturday. The first in a series of five art exhibitions, Emerging is the inaugural showcase of selected works collected in the past five years featuring 16 Singapore-based artists. 

These works reflect some of Singapore’s emerging urgencies in recent years by responding to themes of identity, migration, urbanisation, the environment, places and spaces. 

Compressed slab by artist Kanchana Gupta

The DUO, whose collectors prefer to remain anonymous, started building their collection five years ago with a focus to support emerging artists in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Held alongside Singapore Art Week 2020, the exhibition will showcase 20 artworks from 16 emerging artists including Kray CHEN, Genevieve CHUA, Fyerool DARMA, Kayleigh GOH, Joshua Kane GOMES, Kanchana GUPTA, Luke HENG, KUAT Zhi Hooi, Ben LOONG, Masuri MAZLAN, Faris NAKAMURA, Khairullah RAHIM, Jodi TAN, Melissa TAN, Danielle TAY and Ian TEE.

Fire Blanket by artist Ian Tee

The Founding Director of TPM, Mr Daniel Teo, shared during the opening ceremony that this exhibition kickstarts the new year in line with TPM’s core philosophy to bridge the gap between artists, collectors and the public.

Gap Space by artist Joshua Gomes

“The museum aims to be an alternative platform to support the exchange of ideas across cultures, educational initiatives, artistic and curatorial collaborations with collectors and practitioners of the arts,” shared Rachel Teo during the opening ceremony.

Finding Meaning In The Abstract: Going Beyond The Surface

Emerging showcases some hidden gems, including Kanchana Gupta’s Work in Progress #120. When I first looked at the blue tarpaulin, I almost did what the artist contemplates the world will do- moving past it without noticing. However, once I took a closer look, I realised that the tarpaulin was an aching commentary on society at large and across international borders. 

The writer standing beside Work In Progress by artist Kanchana Gupta

The artwork represents one of the most important social phenomena relevant almost everywhere in the world today- migration. The blue tarp is ubiquitous in slums and shanties of the city of Mumbai in India as well as at construction sites in Singapore. Mumbai slums and construction sites in Singapore share the universal subject of transient migrant workers. And, the blue tarp connects them in a way that those in Singapore use it for their day to day work, while those in Mumbai use it as a material to create temporary homes for themselves. 

Fyerool Darma The Migrant

Charlie and Whiskey I by Melissa Tan is yet another artwork that caught my eye. Depicting Singapore’s ever-changing and developing infrastructure, this piece of art lends more to process than to output. It is a commentary on industrialisation and the ever-increasing concrete jungles around us. 

By artist Melissa Tan

Emerging seeks not only to stimulate new conversations on Singapore contemporary art through the lens of private collectors but also to expand on their role in the art eco-system as imperative patrons of the arts.

TPM’S Emerging: Collecting Singapore Contemporary – Selections from the DUO Collection is a must-visit for art lovers. The exhibition is open to the public from January 11 to March 1, 2020. 

The Private Museum is located at 51 Waterloo Street #02-06. For more information, click here.