Take a stroll down Bras Basah Road and Queen Street to view the exhibits

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has always been ahead of its time. Since its buildings were closed for construction last year, the gallery continued to get creative by bringing contemporary art beyond its physical venue and into the lives of many. And having taken their passion overseas and even online during the Covid-19 circuit breaker period, newly commissioned artworks are finally heading back to its original location, albeit outside.

Now offering locals the opportunity to explore art in the streets, find two specially curated pieces installed around the perimeter of the museum buildings. Inspired by themes such as the history of the SAM buildings, urbanisation, society and more, the designs are created by none other than Singaporean artist Heman Chong, who represented Singapore at the 50th Venice Biennale.

The two artworks reflect Chong’s practice that entwines imagery, performance, situations and writings.

Heman Chong, Writing While Walking And Other Stories. 2020; Image courtesy of the artist

Check out twin exhibits Safe Entry and Writing While Walking And Other Stories on the hoardings around the SAM buildings along Bras Basah Road and Queen Street the next time you’re in the neighbourhood. Writing While Walking And Other Stories is currently on display, while Safe Entry is a work-in-progress, and both works will be on view until Dec 6.

Spanning the hoardings along Queen Street, Writing While Walking And Other Stories comprises 2,581 words which were written on the move by the artist on his iPhone during an eight-hour meander around Singapore. In this work, Chong combines the acts of walking and writing into a singular process. Each frame is presented in a staggered tile pattern across the facade and appears to become animated as the viewer traverses the length of the image.

Meanwhile, Safe Entry is a mural produced by repeating a single, enlarged QR code, something that has become ubiquitous in Singapore as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The final image will be an ambiguous, dynamic and unfathomable landscape, created from one of the many representations of the digital data that surrounds us and permeates our lives. In fact, the original QR code used in this mural is linked to a video of the artist taking a long walk in Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 during the circuit breaker period. The public is invited to take a virtual walk through Terminal 2 with the artist simply by scanning the original QR code, featured alongside the artwork caption on the hoarding.

Both of these outdoor exhibits by Heman Chong are part of the Walking in the City series featuring contemporary art on hoardings around SAM’s heritage spaces; it will continue on as the museum revamps and redevelops. So take this as a literal indication that more apt artworks will arrive in the near future and get excited for the museum’s next move while anticipating its reopening.

Safe Entry and Writing While Walking And Other Stories can be found on the hoardings around the SAM buildings along Bras Basah Road and Queen Street respectively. Both will be available on view till Dec 6; more information here.