After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art

Earlier today, Singapore Art Museum curator (and friend), Louis Ho, led me on a tour of a not-to-be-missed exhibition, After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art. Louis and his co-curator, Tan Siuli, have assembled a cohesive, thoughtful, and spectacular show.

Four themes—”Other Edens,” which explores the image of the garden as a symbol of paradise; “The City and Its Discontents,” which locates aspirations to the ideal in contemporary structures; “Legacies Left,” which examines the legacies of political ideologies in Asia; and “The Way Within,” which journeys into self and the search for inward “utopia”—organize the twenty works, drawn largely from SAM’s permanent collection, as well as artists’ collection and new commissions, on display.

The works in this show that I particularly liked included:

Block B - closeup of PRIMARY still daytime

– BLOCK B (2012-2014) by Chris Chong Chan Fui, a single-channel video shot in the Brickfields neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, an abstract grid, accompanied by a soundtrack is a fictionalized dialogue spoken between the residents of the building in the outside hallways.

– Television Commercial for Communism (2011-2012) by The Propeller Group, “a multichannel video installation that documents advertising firm TBWA\Vietnam’s brainstorming session around communism’s positive brand identity; the second, an animatic that charts the development of ideas for the commercial; and finally, the resultant spot.


Bomba by Kawayan de Guia (2011), a installation of disco ball-like bombs and a sound sculpture meant to evoke the aftermath of Manila during WWII and a reckless party of capitalism and military violence at the end of the world.

After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art closes on October 18, 2015. Go, go, go! Be sure to pick up the excellent and FREE mini-guide by Louis and Siuli.

One response

  1. Dear Pooja, thank you for stopping by SAM this afternoon ! I’m glad you enjoyed the show. Always happy to host interested members of the public and arts community. :) Feel free to drop in again anytime !