Listening to Architecture: The Gallery’s Histories and Transformations captivates with stories within the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings
29 June 2017 – National Gallery Singapore has launched its new ArchiGallery, its first and only exhibition space dedicated to architecture. The first exhibition to be held in the ArchiGallery titled, Listening to Architecture: The Gallery’s Histories and Transformations, will illustrate the rich histories of the City Hall and former Supreme Court sites and their architectural transformation into National Gallery Singapore.
The Gallery has seen a keen interest in the histories and architecture of the two buildings since its opening – the ArchiGallery will provide visitors with an immersive experience of the two buildings and complement the building history tours offered daily. The ArchiGallery is also a way for the Gallery to acknowledge the tremendous collaborative effort to transform these two buildings into the Gallery today.
The inaugural exhibition is a multisensory show, which will present a history of the buildings’ design and conservation efforts, highlight key architectural features, showcase key artefacts from excavations conducted on-site and display artworks by Singaporean artists Zai Tang and Michael Lee. A fusion of art and innovation, the exhibition will allow, for the first time, the public to virtually navigate two spaces that are inaccessible – the Gallery’s main dome and the walkway leading from the holding cells to the courtroom in the former Supreme Court. This is done through an innovative 360-degree tour projected onto the wall. The interactive tour enables visitors to control their movement within the virtual space through their physical actions, allowing them to feel totally transported into these spaces.
“Positioned within an institution committed to the research and display of regional art histories, this exhibition is a means by which the Gallery may look self-reflexively at its own history within Singapore’s Civic District, and to make sense of the district and cultural planning that has long made the site an important landmark.” said Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.
Architectural plans, drawings, photographs and archival materials, including artefacts excavated from beneath the two buildings will be on display to the public for the first time. Visitors will also learn about the work and workers behind the monumental transformation and conversion of the two buildings into the Gallery.
Mr Low Sze Wee, Director for Curatorial, Collections and Education, National Gallery Singapore said, “Through the exhibition, we hope that visitors will learn about the little-known histories of the sites, the philosophies and symbolic elements of the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings’ design, their changing roles over time, and the challenges involved in transforming them into National Gallery Singapore. The archaeological remains that were found as part of excavation work date back to the 1300s and tell a story of an almost forgotten past, providing a glimpse into the lives of the island’s different inhabitants, who have shared the same space across vastly different eras.”
Visitors can also experience artist Zai Tang’s immersive sound work located along the connecting corridor. The work was commissioned by the Gallery and developed by Zai in response to the Gallery’s histories and architecture. The eight compositions which constitute the installation, titled, ‘Resident Frequencies: A Brief Aural History of the National Gallery Singapore’ were created from sounds recorded in and around the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings. Meanwhile also on display is Michael Lee’s ‘Mapping Worlds: Scenes of Singapore’ which explores the relationship between Singapore’s architecture, urban planning, and people.
Listening to Architecture: The Gallery’s Histories and Transformations is curated by National Gallery Singapore’s Senior Curator Seng Yu Jin, Assistant Curator Joleen Loh and Assistant Curator Goh Sze Ying. The exhibition is located at ArchiGallery, City Hall, Level 4 and there is free admission for all visitors.
For more details about the exhibition, visit www.nationalgallery.sg