At the top of my hitlist visiting Singapore last month was a trip to the museums. We were able to catch the multiple-venue exhibit entitled Minimalism: Space Light Object, a collection of over 100 artworks that look closely into the development of the Minimalist movement over the last 70 years.
When one hears the word minimalism, what usually comes to mind is sparse, bland or plain. But this exhibit reveals just the opposite and how multi-layered, varied and engaging this particular style can actually be.
This collection shows just how minimalists have explored hundreds of ways to go against the current of traditional art to make their statements clear, making many of them true creative revolutionaries.
With the use of geometry, industrial and natural materials, play of light, repetition, movement, time, weight, suspension, sound, silence and even carbon nanotubes, minimalist art has broken boundaries, broadening peoples’ minds and ideas about art. My mind, for sure, was blown away.
I have many favorites but the ones by Anish Kapoor truly stand out. He always finds a way to involve the viewer. Whether it’s delight or doom, his pieces always stir up strong emotions.
Kapoor’s Void feels very much like staring your worst fears in the face. Chilling but also awesome.
The vibrant and interactive installation called Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work) by Olafur Eliasson was also my favorite. It felt like walking through filters, stepping in and out of a colorful maze. It’s a very simple concept that effortlessly gives the viewer a spectacular experience.
Another seemingly basic concept was the Room for One Color, also by Eliasson, which is, essentially, just a room you walk into, filled with light that seems to cancel other colors and turns everything yellow. Imagine being in one of those old black and white films… but with yellow filter on! My description fails to justify what a brilliant experience this was!
Ai Weiwei showcases remarkable Chinese craftsmanship in this installation titled Sunflower Seeds. I immediately assumed it’s just a bed of regular sunflower seeds until I found out they’re actually millions of ceramic pieces individually handcrafted and painted by artisans in Jingdezhen, China. We soon realized it’s actually a commentary on China’s mastery of mass production. Talk about intense!
Minimalism: Space Light Object was an entirely new art show experience for me. Seeing this style in its many stages, facets and uses has given me a deeper understanding and a fresh appreciation for it. It’s more than just geometry, lines and sparseness. It’s an exploration of the elements as they truly are, stripping things down, getting rid of individual expression because all viewers ought to find unhindered connection with the art.
Minimalist art is commonly considered pretentious, but deep down, from its very core, it is a movement that aims to be rid of exactly that. Maybe the vision was somehow lost along the way, either by the artist or the viewer? Either way, this exhibit successfully transports us back to the roots of this bold expression, making it a lot more relatable just as, from what I understand, it should always be.
“…everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler…”Albert Einstein
Minimalism: Space Light Object is currently open and is spread out into two venues: National Gallery Singapore and Art Science Museum. You can catch it until April 14, 2019. Visit www.minimalism.sg for details.