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11 Jan 2013

OMNILOGUE: Your Voice Is Mine at NUS Museum, Singapore

Makiko Koie, From the series 'G' Kr-1, 2008, type-C print, 73x100cm, Artist Collection

OMNILOGUE: Your Voice Is Mine
NUS Museum


Exhibition opening & Artists Talks:
19 Jan 2013, 2pm @ NUS Museum
Exhibition period:
20 January 2013 – 21 April 2013
Opening hours:
Tues - Sat (10am - 7.30pm), Sun (10am - 6pm). Closed on Mondays & Public Holidays

Trina Bong

NUS Museum
NUS Centre For the Arts, University Cultural Centre, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent
Singapore 119279

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NUS Museum and The Japan Foundation present works by Japanese artists Makiko Koie, Fuyuki Yamakawa, Shun Sasa, Takayuki Yamamoto, SHIMURAbros, and Motohiro Tomii, created through their encounter and research on Singapore's social and cultural histories.

As a form of cultural production that communicates gestures and values, Your Voice Is Mine is propositioned as an agent for raising dialogue, exploring narratives and channelling alternate positions. Lodged between artist, curator and locale of the Museum, it may also be experienced as an attempt at examining these processes within the premise of 'transcultural collaboration' – a concept that is experiencing renewed impetus in contemporary art circles since the 1990s. Here, communication rests at the heart of things, where the very act of transmission may be considered something that contributes to the positioning and controlling of the audience in a given space, at times ephemerally highlighting the difficulty and collusion of translation, at other times understood as a literal attempt at realizing context external to the Museum. Critically examining the very premise of collaboration, Your Voice Is Mine teases its audiences into considering the myriad dynamics of consensus and contestation that take place within transcultural encounters, asking if one can indeed open up newer readings into the categorical ways of defining Other and Self? It begs its audiences to consider how art and exhibition-making reveal hidden inflections, when do these processes become more important than the final production of art, and how do they in turn relate to the spaces and cultures in which they take place?

As the final installation of the OMNILOGUE series, which aims to open up new possibilities of multi-directional discussions on cultural exchanges through contemporary art, Your Voice Is Mine explores aspects of Singapore's social, historical and cultural tapestries through installations and artworks created by six Japanese artists. Through their transnational encounters, the artists seek to explore the boundaries of Self/Other, and from there, create a polyphonic narrative that both artists and audience share while discovering the multiple facets of their own contemporary identities.

OMNILOGUE is a series of exhibitions initiated by The Japan Foundation to foster exchanges between Japanese artists and curators with collaborators from the Asia Pacific region and is part of JENESYS (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths). The series, which involves extensive research and dialogue as part of the collaborative process, aims to reflect the cultural specificities and regional contexts of each of the hosting cities. Balanced by the artists' sensibilities, OMNILOGUE hopes to promote multidirectional discussion and expand the potential for new discourse on cultural exchange in the 21st century through contemporary art. Your Voice Is Mine is preceded by Alternating Currents (Perth, 2011) and Journey To The West (New Delhi, 2012).

Artist Profiles

Makiko KOIE (b. Kyoto, 1969) produces photographic works that gives visibility to the otherwise invisible atmosphere of a particular site or a particular moment. One of her series of photographic work, for which she was awarded the Ohara Musuem of Art Prize at The Vision of Contemporary Art exhibition in 2005, captures the dynamics of a crowd of spectators at a stadium and is highly evaluated as a visual representation of emotion and feeling.

(b. London, 1973) is voice performer involved in various artistic fields including music, performance arts, and fine arts, creating sound/visual installations and improvised musical happenings. One of his popular works, The Voice-over, is a sound-based installation that reconstructs memories using recorded voices from the past.

Shun SASA (b. Miyagi, 1986) utilizes complex layers of sound, structure, and text in his installation work to create a site where audience can feel and be a part of a world of overlapping fiction, reality, and distinct space-time, creating fictitious moments that may come true in the future. One of his recent works, The Desk and The Monitor, looks at the possibilities of the wood from the desk being made into other objects, such as a violin, a baseball bat, or a spectacle frame.

(b. Aichi, 1974) creates video-based installations using materials collected from children's workshops. He challenges the rigid way of thought that adults have come to adopt using these materials, where he invites the viewer to look at things through the eyes of children. He has various on-going projects, each exploring different themes such as 'future' and 'hell'.

SHIMURAbros, a sister/brother duo of Yuka (b. 1976) and Kentaro (b. 1979), are deeply interested in the history of cinema and the deconstruction of cinema as a medium, utilizing various forms of films and incorporating sculpture and installation to create new expressions of imagery that prompt the somatic sense of the audience.

Motohiro TOMII (b. Niigata, 1973) creates sculptural artwork using ready-made materials with minimal modification and looks at possibilities of giving 'sculpture' a new form and meaning, working within the restraints of the objects he uses in his sculptures. For Tomii, creating artwork is 'a quest for 'a quality of incomprehensibleness'' that he hopes to reflect in his creations. He has an ongoing Twitter-based project Today's Sculpture which he updates daily, attracting people to critique and think about the existing gallery space and system.

Curated by Tomoko Yabumae, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tsukasa Ikegami, Otani Memorial Art Museum, Michelle Ho, Singapore Art Museum, and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, NUS Museum.