National Gallery Singapore


Closing soon on 14 Apr 2019!

National Gallery Singapore

Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery | City Hall Wing, Level 3


Exhibition Overview

Minimalism was a radical turning point in the history of art. Emerging in the 1960s, it changed how we experience the art object, making the physical encounter with the artwork and its surrounding space increasingly important. It has had a profound influence not only on visual art, but also on music, performance, fashion, architecture and design.

Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. looks at the development and legacies of Minimalism from the 1950s to the present day, not only in the United States but also in Asia, Australia and Europe. It features works by over 70 leading artists that explore ideas of presence and absence, many informed by Asian philosophies such as Zen Buddhism.

Discover how Minimalism’s reconception of the relationship between object, space and the viewer are fundamental to our understanding of art today.

On display at Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery

City Hall Wing, Level 3

Haegue Yang

Sol LeWitt Upside Down – Double Modular Cube, Scaled Down 29 Times

2017. Aluminium venetian blinds, powder-coated aluminium hanging structure, steel wire rope, LED tubes and cable. 155 x 204 x 104 cm. Private collection, Taipei. © Haegue Yang. Photo by National Gallery Singapore.


Haegue Yang’s Sol LeWitt Upside Down series consists of sets of cubes made from standardised white venetian blinds, which hang from suspension grids with lights. The work references LeWitt’s white cubic structures and concepts of modularity and repetition. Here, each sculpture’s shape and size depend on the number and configuration of units. Randomness plays a key role however, with Yang arbitrarily deciding the width of the set’s venetian blinds. The blinds diffuse the severe linearity of LeWitt’s cubic structures, producing a range of opacities due to the changing density of the blinds, the shifting light conditions, and the movement of the viewer.

Olafur Eliasson

Room for one colour

1997. Monofrequency lamps. Dimensions variable. © Olafur Eliasson. Photograph by National Gallery Singapore.


Olafur Eliasson’s work explores the scientific effects of light and colour on our vision. This room is illuminated by mono-frequency lamps that suppress all colours except yellow and black, causing us to see in shades of grey. The experience demonstrates that our perception is not fixed but changes with our environment, suggesting we can see the world from multiple perspectives.

Simryn Gill

My own private Angkor

2007–2009. Gelatin silver prints on paper. 30 parts, each 39.4 x 37.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Tracy Williams Ltd., New York. © Simryn Gill


These images were taken at an abandoned housing estate in Port Dickson, Malaysia. Gill focused on the glass window panes left behind after their frames were stolen and sold as scrap. The title refers to the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor, and evokes the speculative interpretations we bring to things we might encounter or unearth.

Ai Wei Wei

Sunflower Seeds

2010. Porcelain. Display dimensions variable. Purchased with assistance from Tate International Council, the American Patrons of Tate, the Art Fund, and Stephen and Yana Peel 2012. Collection of Tate. © Ai Weiwei. Photograph by National Gallery Singapore.


Each seed in this work is unique, handcrafted by ceramic artisans in Jingdezhen, a city in China historically known for its porcelain industry. Ai challenges the “Made in China” narrative of cheap mass production by drawing attention to the individual worker and his or her relationship to wider society. The sheer number of seeds can also be a reference to the vast Chinese population.

Sopheap Pich


2018. Bamboo, rattan and metal. 2 parts, each 253 x 597 x 244 cm. Collection of the artist. © Sopheap Pich. This work was commissioned by National Gallery Singapore for Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. Photograph by National Gallery Singapore.

This sculpture is based on the form of a 20-foot shipping container, at 1:1 scale. Shipping containers are a potent symbol of a global trade and capital: these ubiquitous and hardy vessels streamline the transportation of consumer goods all over the world. They recall philosopher Michel Serre’s concept of world-objects, or objects we live our world through. While the shipping container is opaque and its contents obscured, Sopheap Pich’s containers hold only air and we can see right through them, revealing the relationship between what is inside and what is outside. Pich turns our focus to his use of local Cambodian materials such as bamboo and rattan, deeply rooting the work in a sense of place.

Pich’s sculptures are at times figurative, at others abstract and geometric, with their orderly woven structures sharing the mathematical logic of early Minimalist grids. One of Cambodia’s leading contemporary artists, Pich’s work is steeped in history and memory, both personal and national.

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