Fiction of Precision is a group show in two ways. One, it is an exhibition of works by different artists. Two, it is an exhibition of works held by seventeen different galleries. This remarkable exhibition is the result of the Art Galleries Association Singapore (AGAS), a non-profit organisation founded in 1996. AGAS has been successfully bringing galleries together since then. The society had also spearheaded ArtSingapore, the art fair that preceded Art Stage Singapore.
Not all of AGAS members are represented in this show. The participants are: Art Seasons Gallery, Art-2 Gallery, Chan+Hori Contemporary, Element Art Space, FOST Gallery, Gajah Gallery, Intersections Gallery, Mizuma Gallery, Ota Fine Arts, Pearl Lam Galleries, STPI, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Tokyo Gallery, Wetterling Teo Gallery, Yavuz Gallery and Yeo Workshop. They have brought with them a total of 29 artists, namely: Agan Harahap, Matthew Allen, Laila Azra, Rina Banerjee, Hélène de Chatelier, Golnaz Fathi, Kayleigh Goh, Masanori Handa, David Stanley Hewitt, Hong Sek Chern, Ichi, Indieguerillas, Khai Rahim, Sam Leach, Loke Hong Seng, Kenny Low, Firoz Mahmud, Nhawfal Juma’at, Alvin Ong, PHUNK, Antonio Puri, Qamarul Asyraf, Ren Ri, Taishin Saigawa, Jeremy Sharma, Speak Cryptic, Sinta Tantra, Komkrit Tepthian, and Suzann Victor.
According to the press release, “the exhibition showcases artists who have a profound mastery of their chosen mediums beyond the orthodox.” Each work shown in this exhibition is an example of the artists’ skill and ability to manipulate the material. Komkrit Tepthian completes antique sculptures with lego blocks, Agan Harahap presents photographic proof of scenes that have never existed outside of Photoshop while Ren Ri works with bees to create wax forms of countries around the world. The multiplicity of scales a viewer needs to wield in order to measure each artist’s merits gives a sense of contemporaneity. Many artists today take on the persona of another, be it conservator, designer, beekeeper or something else and dip into the skill set of their chosen alternatives. Superficially speaking, appropriation may seem like a lazy act. However, technical skill and visual impact can easily overcome this perspective and challenge the precise measurement of skill we used to use for art before the contemporary.
Unlike a fair, there are no huge name signs built into the partition walls. It is unclear which artist is represented by which gallery from afar unless the visitor is already familiar with the gallery’s portfolio. This is a strength, for galleries have a chance to make a second first impression upon their potential clients: By carefully selecting only a few artwork by two or three artists in their portfolio, they can define themselves differently from what they are commonly thought to be, perhaps reaching out to a new clientele. This is in line with AGAS’s desire to increase the appreciation of art in Singapore.
Beyond the exhibition itself, Fiction of Precision is a quietly significant exhibition because it has successfully brought private galleries together. In today’s society, where we are often only concerned about ourselves and our own businesses, it is a political feat, and a sign of camaraderie among the galleries, for AGAS to have gotten seventeen galleries to come together for a one-month show. Its last joint exhibition happened in 2014. Hopefully, we would not have to wait another three years for the next joint show.
Fiction of Precision
1 – 30 November 2017
#02-57, 9 Raffles Boulevard
Open daily, 11.30am-8.30pm