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Chan Hampe Galleries Raffles Hotel Arcade
Raffles Hotel Arcade
#01-20/21, 328 North Bridge Rd
Singapore 188719   map * 
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Lost City 3
by Chan Hampe Galleries Raffles Hotel Arcade
Location: Chan Hampe Galleries
Artist(s): GROUP SHOW
Date: 19 Nov - 6 Dec 2015

“Lost City is about unravelling and understanding our urban environment (and architecture) by looking at the city through the eyes of the artist. Through them, it may yet be possible to recognise and engage certain ‘truths’ about our urban environment that, in the haste toward attaining the goals of globalisation, perhaps most have ignored.” Arthur Sim, Introduction, Lost City 2004

Lost City was conceived by architect and journalist Arthur Sim in 2004 to explore the intersections between art, architecture and urbanism in the hope of unveiling overlooked realities about the urban environment. In 2008, Lost City 2 expanded on those ideas and addressed the fluid and ephemeral states brought on by living within a full-fledged globalised city.1 While Lost City 3 taking place during Singapore’s jubilee anniversary is purely kismet, reflection, celebration, and taking stock of all that Singapore has become seem the pervasive sentiments of the day, though it is worth noting that the Lost City exhibition series has been addressing these ideas since its inception eleven years ago.

Lost City 3 asks the artists to revisit how they see and understand the built environment and consider the temporal component of its overlaps and transitions, how they, and we, register the speed of the city.

In Singapore “speed” is an essential facet of the master plan. While the city boasts of having “transformed itself into a modern metropolis”2 within the space of a single generation, and critics chide its “needs-to-happen-tomorrow”3 mentality the tiny nation-state goes merrily onward in a manner that is simultaneously “quite successful and quite awful”4 as one artist notes. How does the relentless momentum of Singapore’s built environment influence our experience of the city?

Using Chinese ink, pigment, and collage on rice paper, the works of Hong Sek Chern aggregate the city into a discernible yet unsettling urban-scape, liberating the built environment from the restrictions of the physical world and focusing on the planar aspects of urban growth.

Tang Ling Nah also plays with perspective in her installation work MY CHAR-CITY, constructing miniature cityscapes out of charcoal fragments and projecting its exaggerated outline. The shadow play seeks the truth of presence within our perceptions of the environment.

Geraldine Kang’s photography installation documents the interior of a typical HDB flat and marks the space before and after the passing of a family member. This highly personal record serves as a reminder that the lived experience of place and its material structure are intertwined, and that absence is a subjective concept.

Also addressing built space as integral to the lived experience, artist and architect CK Kum presents reclaimed artefacts, remnants of a now demolished Joo Chiat stage house and a series of photograph-based paintings recalling the “life” of the wooden structures, both memorialising and extending their existence.

Through the use of installation, photography, painting, and Chinese ink, the artists of Lost City 3 consider the contrasting and overlapping experience of time within the built environment and once again, attempt to capture Arthur Sim’s ‘truths’ about our urban environment that might otherwise prove fleeting.

Although not participating here, earlier iterations of the exhibition included Singaporean artists Francis Ng and Ahmad Abu Bakar. The former noted for his photographic and sculptural explorations of space within the built environment and its transitional nature as related to both the human and inanimate. The latter whose ceramic sculptures serve as almost poetic representations of the balance to be negotiated between form and structure.

Livable & Sustainable Cities A Framework, Centre to Livable Cities 2014, Forward. Available at http://www.clc. gov.sg/documents/books/ [Accessed September 2015 clc_cscliveable&sustainablecities.pdf]

C. J. W. -L. Wee. 2003. “Creating High Culture in the Globalized “Cultural Desert” of Singapore”. The MIT Press: p. 87.

In conversation with Ahmad Abu Bakar, 3 December 2014.


Hong Sek Chern

Tang Ling Nah

CK Kum

Geraldine Kang

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