Minimalism was one of the most influential movements of the 20th century, marking a fundamental shift in the perception of art during the 1960s. The first survey of Minimalist art in Southeast Asia opens at National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum, bringing together artists from the region as part of a wider global dialogue. Featuring over 150 works from the 1950s to the present day, the show highlights a rich international legacy, featuring world-renowned practitioners such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Mona Hatoum, Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, Rachel Whiteread and Anish Kapoor.
A collaboration between between the two institutions, Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. highlights the influences of Asian spirituality – such as Zen Buddhism and the I Ching – on the movement, shedding light on its relationship with Asian art and philosophy. Examples include Tasuo Miyajima’s Mega Death, which reflects on war and conflict – making parallels with the Buddhist cycle of life, death and rebirth.
The show foregrounds geometric forms and spatial experience, revealing new ways of working with materials and space. Presenting artworks from New York and the West Coast of the United States to Japan, Korea, Europe and Australia, Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. is a ground-breaking enterprise which offers essential perspectives and cross-cultural dialogues.
As Dr. Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore, notes: “The exhibition re-evaluates the understanding of Minimalism as a development of the Euro-American paradigm of formalist modernism. Modern art is a global phenomenon that results from complex and interconnected developments happening all around the world.”
For example, demonstrating the relationship between scientific practice, philosophy and art is Tawatchai Puntusawasdi, whose monumental sculpture Haumea draws on astronomy and mathematics. As Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum, explains: “The artworks meditate on the notions of the cosmological void, emptiness and nothingness—principles which resonate with both Minimalism and science. Our exhibition creates a dialogue between the scientific notion of the vacuum and the Zen Buddhist idea of the void. Sound and silence also form a major part.”
The show runs until 14 April. Find out more here.
1. Peter Kennedy, Neon Light Installations, 1970-2002. Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney © Peter Kennedy.
2. Tatsuo Miyajima, Mega Death, 1999/2016. © Domus Collection and Tatsuo Miyajima.