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Guggenheim's "No Country" opens at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore
Sopheap Pich, Morning Glory, 2011. Rattan, bamboo, wire, plywood, and steel, 17 feet 6 inches x 103 inches x 74 inches(533.4 x 261.6 x 188 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund © Sopheap Pich. Installation view: Morning Glory, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York, November 3–December 23, 2011.
SINGAPORE.- From May 10 to July 20, 2014, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore, a national research centre of Nanyang Technological University hosts the critically acclaimed exhibition No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. Curated by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, the exhibition features 19 works by 16 artists and collectives from 11 countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom.

No Country features thought-provoking recent artworks in a wide variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture, and video. The Centre for Contemporary Art exhibition marks the first presentation of two works from the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund not previously shown as part of No Country: Loss by Sheela Gowda and Morning Glory by Sopheap Pich. The exhibition presents audiences with a selection of South and Southeast Asia’s most challenging and inventive artists including Navin Rawanchaikul, Shilpa Gupta, and Singapore-based Tang Da Wu, and features individual video installation rooms for works by Tran Luong, Amar Kanwar, and The Otolith Group.

The exhibition was first presented last year at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (February 22–May 22, 2013) prior to its recent showing at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (October 30, 2013–February 16, 2014). No Country’s presentation in Singapore brings the artworks back to the region from which many of the artists hail, and calls for a closer examination of regional cultural representations and relations. This return suggests the possibility of a renewed understanding through a process of mutual rediscovery that transcends physical and political borders.

The exhibition—the title of which was drawn from the opening line of W.B. Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928)—presents South and Southeast Asia in terms of transformation and trace, charting patterns of historical and contemporary influence within and beyond the region itself. The artworks are grouped according to four themes: reflection and encounter, intersections and dualities, diversities and divisions, and the desire for unity and community. No Country presents artworks that challenge and explore the region’s historical ambiguities, territories both psychic and literal, individual subjectivities, and political, economic, and aesthetic negotiations.

The artists and artworks in the Singapore presentation are:

• Amar Kanwar (b. 1964, New Delhi, India), The Trilogy: A Season Outside, 1997; To Remember, 2003; A Night of Prophecy, 2002

• Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo (b. 1978, Bandung, Indonesia), Volcanic Ash Series #4, 2012

• Bani Abidi (b.1971, Karachi, Pakistan), The Ghost of Mohammed Bin Qasim, 2006; This Video Is a Reenactment, 2006; The Boy Who Got Tired of Posing, 2006

• Navin Rawanchaikul (b. 1971, Chiang Mai, Thailand), Places of Rebirth, 2009

• Norberto Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines), F-16, 2012

• Poklong Anading (b. 1975, Manila, Philippines), Counter Acts, 2004

• Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia), What . . ., 2001

• Sheela Gowda (b. 1957, Bhadravati, Karnataka, India), Loss, 2008

• Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India), 1:14.9, 2011–12

• Sopheap Pich (b. 1971, Battambang, Cambodia), Morning Glory, 2011

• Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore), Our Children, 2012

• Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh), Love Bed, 2012

• The Otolith Group (est. 2002, London, United Kingdom), Communists Like Us, 2006–10

• Tran Luong (b. 1960, Hanoi, Vietnam), Lập Lòe, 2012

• Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Enemy’s Enemy: Monument to a Monument, 2012

• Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Keeping Up with the Abdullahs 1 and Keeping Up with the Abdullahs 2, 2012

According to Ms. Yap, “There is a tremendous diversity of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and to challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as a basis for understanding them. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition, it is a platform for discussion and exchange.”

June Yap has curated No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia with assistance from Helen Hsu, former Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and guidance from Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Joan Young, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, are providing curatorial oversight for the entire multi-year Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The Centre for Contemporary Art is collaborating closely with June Yap and the Guggenheim curatorial team in presenting the exhibition in Singapore.

Professor Bertil Andersson, President of Nanyang Technological University, said: “As one of the world’s fastest-rising universities in Asia, NTU is proud to be associated with this exciting exhibition that showcases some of the best contemporary artworks from Singapore and the dynamic region. This historic first-time partnership between the CCA and the Guggenheim will be the start of great things to come, as it strengthens cultural and artistic exchanges across borders and inspires our creative young talents in Singapore and elsewhere to aim for artistic excellence. By engaging the public through on-the-ground and online activities, it will also deepen the relationship between artists and the larger community, and expand the global dialogue about the region’s rich contemporary art scene.”

Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, stated: “We are very pleased that the CCA is working together with the Guggenheim on an exhibition that critically examines contemporary art in South and Southeast Asia. June Yap, the exhibition curator, is one of the curators whom I met during my first visit to Singapore a decade ago and whose rigorous curatorial approach I appreciate highly. No Country's consideration of ideas and themes related to postcolonial spaces is in line with what the CCA explored in Paradise Lost, our first exhibition in our new gallery space. The CCA is committed to research and discourse, and No Country will bring a complex perspective on contemporary artistic production that addresses the diversity of South and Southeast Asia.”

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