These graphic designers turned visual artists are one of the hottest sellers in the scene, with their funky graphic screen prints and original works already snapped up at art fairs like ARTSingapore, as well as through commercial galleries like Art Seasons, where their works are being picked up by younger collectors from Beijing to New York. Their recent collaboration with cult Jap master Keiichi Tanaami for the collaboration show Eccentric City—Rise and Fall was another major coup for the foursome as well, with the quartet repeatedly selling out in Tokyo, Shanghai and New York.
Before his appointment as the artistic director for the third edition of the Singapore Biennale next year, Sydney-based Singaporean Matthew Ngui was the man responsible for some of the most arresting video art installations in the city, like his Point of View solo show at the National Museum in 2008, which explored the continuum of time through a life-sized cross section view of an Olympic pool—delivering beautifully in terms of concept, scale and resonance. Ngui has exhibited extensively in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, and represented Singapore at the São Paulo Biennial in 1996 and the Venice Biennale in 2001.
Fusing his love for world cinema with a tongue-in-check sense of self-benevolence, the critically-acclaimed Venice Biennale stalwart Ming Wong is the man responsible for the ongoing Imitation of Life video installation show at the Singapore Art Museum, where he takes on multiple roles (especially female ones) to convey the transient nature of language, race, gender, age and nationality. And his large-scale cinema billboard canvasses, a commission work with the last billboard painter in Singapore, Neo Chon Teck, is certainly a fun and curious effort.
These Presidents Young Talents recipients create quirky contemporary artworks that manages to be playful yet cerebral all the same. Take for example, their brilliant A View with a Room installation from 2009 at 8Q Sam. Cleverly merging written textual works from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Alain Robbe-Grilleton on a wall which then led viewers to a room that was only accessible through a closed wardrobe (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, anyone?), the trio of Justin Loke, Joshua Yang and Fiona Koh continue to intrigue and engage with their cheeky interpretations, including like their recent frolicking Abusement Park: Abusing Amusement work at SAM during the Night Festival.
He sings, he writes, he plays a multitude of instruments (from guitars to violas) and he dances too. Multi-disciplinary artist Zai Kuning defies categorization, and his constant musings and performance art works (with a strong underground cult following from Indonesia to Malaysia), drawn from South East Asian rituals, continue to fascinate us with their depth and honesty.