SINGAPORE, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- As southeast Asia underwent rapid development from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, cities like Singapore, Bangkok and Manila were transformed into modern metropolises, provoking different critical responses from artists and architects.
These varying perspectives are the focus of the National Gallery Singapore's latest exhibition "Suddenly Turning Visible: Art and Architecture in Southeast Asia" (1969-1989). It runs from Nov. 19 to March 15 next year.
The exhibition's title, "Suddenly Turning Visible," is a phrase by Filipino artist Raymundo Albano to describe the transformation of Manila's urban landscape as a tangible display of the city's aspirations. It also describes the significant shift in the history of art in southeast Asia, namely towards interdisciplinary, experimental and conceptual art.
National Gallery Singapore director Eugene Tan said the exhibition "presents critical insights on southeast Asia through the eyes of artists during a period of significant ideological and geopolitical change... This spirit of experimentation, innovation and disruption still resonates today, and should be uncovered by a wider audience."
The exhibition first opens with a spotlight on the architects behind three influential art institutions, which embodied this desire for progress and pioneered platforms for artistic expression and discourse.
They are Leandro V. Locsin, architect of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila; Mom Luang Tridhosyuth Devakul, who designed the Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art in Bangkok; and Lim Chong Keat, co-founder of the Alpha Gallery in Singapore and architect of the Singapore Conference Hall and Trade Union House.
The 50 artworks presented retell how artists in this period would freely reinvent international art movements such as abstraction, realism and conceptualism while creating a dialogue with folk and vernacular traditions from across southeast Asia.
Apart from this, the exhibition also showcases four reconstructed works that shed light on social concerns in each city during this period.