Contemporary art is often a dialogue with the social, economic and cultural issues of the present. The explosion of art produced in Asia since 2000 can thus be a window allowing us a view or vista into the epochal changes happening around us. Cultures melt into each other, while urbanisation has transformed once familiar landscapes beyond recognition. At the same time, local communities and localities have responded to these homogenising forces with re-assertions of local identity and distinctiveness. Debates and discussions are taking place in various localities across the globe, and at ‘fibre-optic’ speeds through the Internet which no longer allow us the possibility of living in isolated silos.
PANORAMA offers a wide lens to examine our world and chart some of the issues pervading contemporary art-making in Asia today - the negotiation over values, social and political change, escalating urbanisation and the subsequent pressures on nature. Artists such as Agnes Arellano remind us of the power of myth and its role in constructing tradition and identity. Agus Suwage tracks the power of media images and how their mass circulation in our consumer society has shaped our perceptions of the world. Nalini Malani recalls the contest of values that has led to many conflicts in the world, while :phunk points us to ‘electricity’, as a symbol of the creative energy that has propelled the growth of modern global cities like Singapore.
Drawn entirely from the contemporary art collection of the Singapore Art Museum, this first edition of PANORAMA features 24 artists from 8 Asian countries working in painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installation. PANORAMA part II is scheduled for 2013/2014.