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National Gallery Singapore - General Admission
Synopsis

National Gallery Singapore is a new visual arts institution which oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The Gallery is housed in two national monuments—former Supreme Court and City Hall—that have been beautifully restored and transformed into this exciting venue in the heart of the Civic District.
Reflecting Singapore’s unique heritage and geographical location, the Gallery will feature Singapore and Southeast Asian art in its long-term and special exhibitions. It will also work with leading museums worldwide to co-present Southeast Asian art in a wider context, positioning Singapore as a regional and international hub for the visual arts. 

DBS Gallery presents Siapa Nama Kamu?:  Art in Singapore since the 19th Century
"Siapa Nama Kamu?" means "What is your name?" The inaugural exhibition of the DBS Singapore Gallery poses this question, inviting visitors to consider how art may relate to issues of self and community, and what it means to look at Singapore through its art.
Drawing on close to 400 works, it explores the influences and practices that have shaped and transformed Singapore art. Each artwork provides insights into why and how an artist responded to his surroundings and circumstances. Taken as a whole, the wide range of artworks reflects the complexities involved in telling this extensive story.
 
UOB Southeast Asia Gallery presents Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century
If one thing characterises Southeast Asia, it is change. A meeting point for major civilisations, religions and colonial powers, it has experienced a tumultuous social and political history, marked by a complex relationship between local traditions and influences from the West.
Between Declarations and Dreams looks at Southeast Asian art’s continuous encounter with the new, and how artists negotiated meaning and expression as they grappled with change. A powerful exhibition, it displays close to 400 artworks, as well as rare books and artefacts.

With effect from Oct 8th, new operating hours will be.

Sat-Thu 10am to 7pm
Fri 10am to 9pm
Public Holidays and Eve of PH will follow the operating hours of the day it falls on.

Law of the Land (LOL) exhibition will no longer be free. 
Visitors will have to purchase General Admission or All Access Tickets to view the LOL exhibition.
Exhibition spaces which remain free are: KCAE, Listening to Architecture (at Archigallery), Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery

Exhibition Admission Terms and Conditions

  • Concessionary tickets shall only be used by those who satisfy the concessionary requirements.
  • Not for sale or exchange.
  • Non-refundable.
  • Void if altered.
  • This ticket admits one only; unauthorized duplicates will not be granted entry – if another ticket holder has already used this ticket or a copy of it, you must purchase a new ticket to gain admission.
  • The Gallery retains full discretion to grant or deny visitors entry into any exhibition.
  • The Gallery reserves the right to ask any person(s) to leave the premises due to unruly or objectionable conduct and behaviour.
  • The Gallery is not responsible for any loss, damage or personal injury sustained by the ticket holder. 
  • Ticket prices and condictions are subject to change without prior notice.
Kindly note the following Public Holidays during which General Admission is free for all visitors.

  1. New Year's Day (1 – 2 Jan 2017)
  2. Chinese New Year (28 – 30 Jan 2017)
  3. International Museum Day (18 May 2017)
  4. Hari Raya Puasa (25 – 26 Jun 2017)
  5. Singapore National Day (9 Aug 2017)
  6. Deepavali (18 Oct 2017)
  7. Christmas (25 Dec 2017)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY
Only still photography (no flash) for non-commercial use is permitted.
No flash photography, Videography, use of selfie sticks, Tripods and Monopods is permitted in the galleries.

TOUCHING THE ARTWORK
Please do not touch the artworks. 

FOOD & BEVERAGE
Food and drink (including bottled water) are not permitted in the galleries.
 
STROLLERS
Strollers are permitted in the galleries. Large strollers should be parked at the designated stroller parking area at Level 1.
 
SECURITY
Please store bulky items and bags larger than: 40cm (width) x 35cm (height) x 15cm (depth) in the Locker Room at B1
 
SKETCHING
Pencil sketching is permitted in the galleries with sketchbooks no larger than 8 ½ x 11 inches (22 x 28cm).
Pen, eraser, charcoal, pastel, permanent markers, watercolour and oil paint are not permitted.
No easels or sketching while sitting on the floor is permitted.
 
ACCESSIBILITY
All galleries and facilities are wheelchair accessible.
Standard-size motorised wheelchairs are permitted in the galleries.
Wheelchairs are available for loan at the Gallery
 
NOISE
Speak in soft tones. Talking on mobile phones is not permitted in the galleries.
Roller shoes should not be worn in the galleries. 
The use of laser pointers is not allowed in the galleries.
 
DRESS CODE
There is no dress code for the Gallery.
 
RESPECTABLE BEHAVIOUR
The Gallery reserves the right to remove any person acting in an unacceptable manner.
RECOMMENDATIONS
National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Beauty and Ruin
BEAUTY AND RUINBy Marc de GuerreOnce the centre of American industrial power, Detroit now faces bankruptcy and is under pressure to liquidate its assets to repay over 18 billion dollars in debt. After years of decline, the city is left with little, save its most valuable asset- The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Home to masterpieces by Van Gogh, Brueghel, Titian and Fra Angelico purchased at the height of Detroit’s affluence, it preserves the history of a city that was exceedingly important in the past. When it became likely that Detroit would no longer be able to honour its pension payments, keeping the art turned into a matter of injustice. Beauty and Ruin chronicles the debate between city administrators, museum staff, creditors and pensioners over selling the DIA, and examines the true value of art to its public.Director Marc de Guerre takes us beyond the immediate dilemma, delving deeper to reveal the underlying issues at play: the failure of municipal government infrastructure, disastrous financial transactions, a meltdown in manufacturing leading to massive unemployment, and unresolved racial tensions. But there are some who still hold to the hope that the collection will remain safe. African-American artist Charles McGee recounts the impact of the artworks on him, “It’s teaching; it’s revealing; it’s explaining; it’s total, and it’s giving. I think that our culture is richer because of it. I don’t know what we’ll do without The Detroit Institute of Arts.” As he slowly exits the gallery in the film, the shot cuts to a school group entering to gaze at the art.Beauty and Ruin competed at the 35th International Festival of Films on Art (Canada, 2017).DirectorMarc de Guerre is a two-time Gemini Award winner (2007 and 2008, Canada). After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design, he worked as a visual artist before transitioning to documentary filmmaking in 2000, informing his filmmaking with his background in art. His most recent work is Song of Extinction (2017), a multimedia performance made in collaboration with composer Rose Bolton. Featuring large-scale projections, it is a visual and sonic exploration of the Anthropocene period.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art The Space In Between - Marina Abramović in Brazil
THE SPACE IN BETWEEN – MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ IN BRAZILBy Marco Del Fiol“I love to live in the space in-between. The space in-between for me is one of the most creative spaces for artists to be. It’s when you’re leaving old habits and you’re completely open to destiny. You’re open to new ideas, when everything is so vulnerable because you’re out of your control zone.”– Marina AbramovićOne of the most influential performance artists of our time, Marina Abramović was compelled by personal pain to travel to Brazil in search of healing and artistic inspiration through its mystical practices. Known for testing the limits of her body in her art, Abramović seeks to overcome physical and mental confines by committing to the process of these unfamiliar sacred ceremonies. Part-documentary, part-video installation, this film follows her as she engages in various spiritual acts: connecting with “psychic surgeon” John of God in Abadiâna; participating in healing rites at Vale Do Amanhecer; consuming hallucinogenic ayahuasca in Chapada Diamantina; and encountering the energy of crystals in Corinto. Her body becomes the site of change, drawing the connection between ritual and performance.From this experience, Abramović created new artistic interventions to empower the public to create their own performances and go on transformational inner journeys in the absence of the artist. The life-giving potential of art is realised, enabling one to access that shimmering space where things come into being, and faith resides.The Space in Between – Marina Abramović in Brazil had its world premiere at the 23rd SXSW Film Festival (USA, 2016) where it was the only foreign film nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category. It closed the 12th Biografilm Festival (2016) in Italy; the 37th Durban International Film Festival (2016) in South Africa; and was part of the official selection at the 10th Sydney Underground Film Festival (2016). It has also competed at the 60th BFI London Film Festival (UK, 2016) and the 38th Moscow International Film Festival (Russia, 2016), and been shown all over the world at festivals such as the 1st AyaFilm: World Ayahuasca Film Festival (Brazil, 2016), 33rd Bogotá Film Festival (Colombia, 2016), 53rd Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (Taiwan, 2016), and 13th ZagrebDox (Croatia, 2017).DirectorMarco Del Fiol (b. 1964) is a director, editor and screenwriter. His films—which include Rafael França: Artwork as Testament (2001), Olafur Eliasson: Your Body of Work (2011) and Isaac Julien: Geopoetics (2012)—seek to broaden the dialogue between the contemporary artist, their artwork and the public. His works have been exhibited in festivals at the Museo Reina Sofia and Centre Pompidou, and are in the permanent collections of the Israel Centre for Contemporary Art and the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Manifesto
MANIFESTOBy Julian RosefeldtManifesto pays homage to the 20th century’s most impassioned statements on art that have revolutionised ways of seeing in society. Drawing on over 50 manifestos by influential artists and thinkers such as Karl Marx, André Breton, John Cage and Tristan Tzara, director Julian Rosefeldt scripted 13 monologues performed by Cate Blanchett.In a bid to defamiliarise these iconic passages, Blanchett assumes unlikely personas to deliver founding texts of art movements like Futurism, Dadaism, Pop Art, Surrealism and Minimalism as everyday speech. Her transformations are mesmerising in their range and virtuosity, and often laced with humour: a Russian choreographer shouts instructions at dancers from Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto; a Southern mother leads a family prayer consisting of Claes Oldenburg’s I am for an Art…; a schoolteacher corrects her pupils’ work citing the rules of Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95.Displaced from their art historical contexts, the reworked manifestos challenge the viewer to question their relevance in present-day settings, and encounter anew the radical spirit behind the brilliant rhetoric. This contemporising action is mirrored in the film’s form. These declarations—immortalised in word—now find new expression in ephemeral performance, and are captured again on film. The re-visioning of these monumental texts surfaces their resolute call to action: what should be the role of art in society today?Manifesto premiered as a multi-channel video installation at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in 2015. Following this, it had its European premiere at the 46th International Rotterdam Film Festival (Netherlands) and its world premiere at the 33rd Sundance Film Festival (USA) in 2017. It also won the Main Award and the Audience Award at the Kino der Künst (Germany, 2017), and was nominated for the Ingman Bergman Award at the 40th Göteborg Film Festival (Sweden, 2017).DirectorJulian Rosefeldt (b. 1965) is a German visual artist and filmmaker, known for his complex multi-channel video installations. His artworks are held in collections all over the world, such as the Nationalgaleries (Germany), MoMA (USA), and The Saatchi Collection (UK). He was a guest professor at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar from 2009 to 2010, and is currently a professor in Digital and Time-based Media at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste.
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National Gallery Singapore - Family Art Workshop
Get creative as a family in this fun, hands-on workshop! Pick up new skills for art making under the guidance of artists, then create your own masterpieces inspired by works in the Gallery.Family Art Workshop1.30pm – 3pmKeppel Centre for Art Education15 OctoberFamily Art Workshop: Rediscovering InkJoin this artist-led workshop and be inspired by the art of Wu Guanzhong as you experiment with Chinese ink in creative ways!12 NovemberFamily Art Workshop: Strokes of LifeBe inspired by the art of Chen Chong Swee in this workshop led by an experienced artist. Create your own Chinese ink masterpiece featuring scenes from everyday life.10 DecemberFamily Art Workshop: Create with ClayCreate with clay as a family this school holiday. Be inspired by the art of Iskandar Jalil and learn techniques in this artist-led workshop that’s not to be missed!
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art La Danse, The Paris Opera Ballet
LA DANSE, THE PARIS OPERA BALLETBy Frederick WisemanDirector Frederick Wiseman is renowned for documentaries that portray the human experience in a broad spectrum of social institutions. Here, he offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the Paris Opera Ballet, one of France’s principal cultural institutions and the world’s premier ballet companies. La Danse follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev, Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz, and Orpheus and Eurydyce by Pina Bausch. But it also ventures beyond the stage and studios into the opera house’s cafeterias, sewing rooms and offices, shining the spotlight on unseen players without whom the show cannot go on.Wiseman accomplishes this in his signature observational style: armed with only a handheld camera, he allows events to unfold in the present, adding neither music nor commentary. We meet everyone from the maintenance crew to the artistic director, whose work ranges from discussing the repertoire of the company, to negotiating retirement reforms for the dancers with the Ministry of Employment, and hosting a gala tour for patrons costing $25,000 a package. The filmmaker’s creative agency however, is manifested in his special emphasis on the dancers, waiting their turns, enduring criticism, and executing the same steps repeatedly, as they seek to realise the choreographer’s vision and reach the pinnacle of their art.La Danse has been shown at the 66th Venice International Film Festival (Italy, 2009), the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (Canada, 2009), the 53rd BFI London Film Festival (UK, 2009), the 22nd IDFA (Netherlands, 2009), and the 47th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (Taiwan, 2010). It was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2010 Oscars.DirectorFrederick Wiseman (b. 1930) is a film and stage director who has made more than 40 films. His first film, Titicut Follies (1967), saw him venturing inside a Massachusetts hospital for the criminally insane. Since then, his subjects have included a ballet company in New York (Ballet, 1995), the oldest theatre in the world still in operation (La Comédie-Française ou l’amour joué, 1996) and the National Gallery, London (National Gallery, 2014). He was awarded the IDFA Living Legend Award (Netherlands) in 2009, the Golden Lion for Career Achievement at the 71st Venice International Film Festival (Italy) in 2014, and the Academy Honorary Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (USA) in 2017.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Leave the Saints Alone
LEAVE THE SAINTS ALONEBy Gianfranco PannoneLeave the Saints Alone takes us on a fascinating journey across a century of religious processions, feasts and other observances that testify to the unwavering piety of Italy’s masses. Largely rooted in the concerns of an agrarian society, the populace’s devotion centres on the veneration of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the patron saints through close engagement with sacred art used in these cyclical rituals. These range from all manner of crosses to sculptures, paintings, tapestries and other objects that depict saints in accordance with religious iconography. From the southern villages of Sicily to remote mountain districts in the north, such art is a manifestation of the sacred and a vital part of public life.Director Gianfranco Pannone draws on vintage documentaries and newsreels from national archives, footage of present-day practices, first-hand accounts from locals, as well as the writings on the sacred by Italian artists and intellectuals such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mario Soldati and Antonio Gramsci. Narrated by esteemed Italian actors, Sonia Bergamasco and Fabrizio Gifuni, and accompanied by Ambrogio Sparagna’s enchanting score, the film reveals the authentic passion and joy with which Italian regional communities come together to celebrate their faith. In doing so, Pannone visualises a longing for the sacred, increasingly lost in the name of progress.Leave the Saints Alone premiered at the 11th Rome Film Festival (Italy, 2016).DirectorGianfranco Pannone (b. 1963) is a founding member of Doc/it, the Italian association for documentary filmmaking. He teaches documentary filmmaking at Roma Tre University, the National Film School (Italy) and the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples. His notable films include three documentaries referred to as the American Trilogy (1991–1998), which explore the impact of the “American Dream” on Italian society, and Latina/Littoria (2001), named as the Best Documentary Feature at the 27th Torino Film Festival (Italy, 2011). He holds a degree in history and theory of cinema from the University of Rome, and a degree in film direction from the Experimental Centre of Cinematography in Rome.  
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National Gallery Singapore - Tween Workshops
Tween Workshops: Century of LightCalling all budding artists aged 11–16 years old! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn new techniques from some of Singapore’s most outstanding artists, in a series of dynamic workshops at National Gallery Singapore. 9 December 2017 - Explore how the Impressionist painters depicted light through the captivating exhibition Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from The Musée d'Orsay. Spend time sketching in the galleries under the guidance of an experienced artist and learn ingenious techniques to capture the effects of light in your art.16 December 2017 - Discover how the Impressionist painters used colour to create different effects as you journey through the exhibition Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from The Musée d'Orsay. Experiment with colour using pastels and create your own masterpiece.Time: 2–5pmVenue: City Hall Wing, Level 1, Keppel Centre for Art Education Strictly for 11–16 year olds (unaccompanied)
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art China's Van Goghs
CHINA’S VAN GOGHSBy Yu Haibo and Yu Tianqi KikiZhao Xiaoyong has produced thousands of paintings, but does not consider himself a real artist. He is one of thousands of peasants-turned-painters in Dafen Village, China, who churn out the millions of copies of Western masterpieces found all around the world, from high street chains like Walmart to boutique gift shops. But Zhao is not satisfied with mechanically reproducing works of art from images in photographs and books. Obsessed with Van Gogh’s genius, he yearns to see the originals. China’s Van Goghs follows Zhao on his pilgrimage to discover the artist for himself—he traces Van Gogh’s footsteps through Amsterdam, Paris, Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, and encounters his paintings for the first time at the Van Gogh Museum. Struck by the powerful aura of the works, his life is changed in unexpected ways.Like Zhao, many of Dafen’s painters live, work, marry and raise children under Van Gogh’s constant gaze. But the legend of Van Gogh represents more than just a livelihood to them: his art and life is emblematic of their own dreams for self-actualisation. Rising above the “Made in China” bias, the film surfaces the cycles of exploitation and poverty that entrench workers like Zhao who desire authenticity. The trip ultimately inspires a return to his ancestral village to find his own vision, and a source of creativity from within.China’s Van Goghs had its world premiere at the 29th IDFA (Netherlands, 2016). It has been screened at festivals such as the 47th Visions du Réel (Switzerland, 2016) and the 14th Docudays UA (Ukraine, 2016). It won Best Documentary (International Co-production) at the 7th Beijing International Film Festival (China, 2017).DirectorsYu Haibo (b. 1962) is one of China’s most prominent documentary photographers, and is considered a pioneer of surrealist photography in the country. His photo story China Dafen Oil Painting Village won the 49th World Press Photography Contest in 2006. Today, he is the Chief Photo Editor of the Shenzen Economic Daily and director of the Shenzen Professional Photographers Association. China’s Van Goghs is his first feature film.Yu Tianqi Kiki is an Associate Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), and a producer at Century Image Media Ltd. She is also the co-founder of DSL CineMag, a magazine that promotes Chinese New Cinema, and has a forthcoming book titled ‘My’ Self on Camera: First Person Documentary Practice in Twenty-first Century China (2017) published by the University of Edinburgh Press.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Burma Storybook
BURMA STORYBOOKBy Petr LomBurma Storybook is the tale of a nation emerging from years of military dictatorship told through its poetry. This beloved art form is part of the Burmese vernacular, and the film itself is structured like an epic poem: readings by leading poets in Myanmar and songs used in day-to-day communication interweave with the story of the heroic figure at its centre—70-year-old Maung Aung Pwint. The country’s most well-known activist poet spent many years in jail for his writings, and now waits for his son to visit after 20 years of political exile.Visually stunning moments throughout the film render the familiar spectacular - elaborate hot air balloons launched into the night sky, a lone farmer patiently ploughing his field by hand, hundreds of ducks released into the river for a paddle, sorrow on a son’s face too deep to be verbalised. In this way, the film’s cinematography exhibits the same sensitivity that local poetry displays in its re-looking of reality. In one of the film’s most evocative sequences, Burmese poet Maung Yu Py reads his composition Under the Ice Sheet, offering a penetrating insight into the effects of isolation:Under the great ice sheet, a great country was buried alive.Under the great country, lies a temple no longer housing gods.Under the temple, great wars welded together six feet under.Under the wars, a great museum of culture, falling apart.- Extract from Under the Ice SheetAbove all, this film is a picture of resilience in the face of struggle, and grace under pressure.Burma Storybook had its world premiere at the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands, 2017), its international premiere at the 14th CPH:DOX (Denmark, 2017), and its Asian premiere at the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival (2017). It has also been shown at festivals all over the world, including the 48th Visions du Réel (Switzerland, 2017), the 39th Cinema du Réel (France, 2017) the 5th Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival (Myanmar, 2017) and the 13th FreedomFilmFest (Malaysia, 2017).Post-screening Q&A with Petr Lom (Director), Corinne van Egeraat (Producer) and Maung Yu Py (Poet)DirectorPetr Lom (b. 1968) received his PhD in Political Philosophy from Harvard University, and taught human rights and philosophy as an associate professor at George Soros’ Central European University. Since 2003, he has focused on making documentary films about human rights. These have been screened at more than 250 film festivals across the world and won numerous awards including the Grand Prix at the 43rd Chicago International Documentary Festival (USA, 2007) for On a Tightrope (2007).
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art The New Rijksmuseum
THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUMBy Oeke Hoogendijk The Rijksmuseum, home to the finest collection of works by Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer, closed for a major renovation in 2003. But what was supposed to take five years spiralled into a decade, incurring mounting costs and controversy for the state-funded public institution. In this documentary, director Hoogendijk observes the fascinating, complex and sometimes absurd process experienced by all involved, from the museum’s curators, architects and conservators to its arts administrators, building superintendents and government bureaucrats, as they undertake the restoration of one of the most beloved arts institutions in the world.We are introduced to the challenges of the monumental project almost immediately: crippling protests from the powerful Cyclists’ Union over the winning design entry for the entrance, tender bids exceeding budget, Parliament’s refusal to increase funding, losing a pivotal work at an auction, intense disagreements with exhibition designers, and the sudden resignation of a museum director.But greater still is the sincere love revealed for the museum and its purpose, rendering the struggle sublime. For Menno Fitski, Principal Curator of the Asian Pavilion, this comes close to obsession. Several scenes offer glimpses into his emotional state as he journeys with two sculptures of Japanese temple guards—pure pleasure when he first sets eyes on them as they are uncrated; immense grief during the years of delay; and finally irrepressible joy during the elaborate Buddhist rituals to welcome them into the exhibition space. The collective sentiment of contributing to something larger than oneself is perhaps echoed in the words of Reinier Baarsen, Principal Curator of the 18th Century. He describes the era’s ethos that one’s whole being should add to the meaning and beauty of the surroundings, so that "together we'll make life a work of art."The New Rijksmuseum had its world premiere at the 27th IDFA (Netherlands, 2014) and was shown at the 11th European Feature Documentary Film Festival (Serbia, 2015).DirectorOeke Hoogendijk (b. 1961) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her 1998 feature The Saved, co-directed with Paul Cohen, won the Dutch Academy Award (1998) and the Euro-Comenius Award in (1999). Her other notable films include The Holocaust Experience (2002) and How I Invented the Volkswagen (2012). She worked on The New Rijksmuseum from 2005 to 2013.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art EXPRMNTL
EXPRMNTLBy Brecht DebackereThis witty and irreverent documentary tells the story of experimental cinema through the history of EXPRMNTL, one of the most important film festivals ever organised for the international avant-garde. It only knew five editions between 1949 and 1974, but congregated artists who challenged mainstream aesthetics and dominant discourse, and created space for alternative ways of seeing. Participating filmmakers included now-icons of experimental cinema whose works have become, perhaps ironically, great classics: Agnès Varda, Luis Buñuel, Jonas Mekas, Roman Polanski, Nam June Paik. Many appear in this film to discuss the significance of this milestone event, as well as the phenomenon of the avant-garde and its explosive countercultural energy.EXPRMNTL started out as a fringe programme at a casino in Knokke, Belgium, offering a survey of experimental works at that time through a showcase of surrealist, Dadaist and abstract films. Thanks to its visionary founder Jacques Ledoux, also director of the Royal Belgian Film Archive, the festival soon became renowned for advancing avant-garde cinema. Besides providing a platform for new filmmakers, it also supported them with film stock from Agfa-Gevaert and gave out money prizes for the best films. It was perhaps unsurprising that the limits of the festival were tested by controversial submissions like Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, happenings, and protests against the USA’s imperialist ambitions. While the festival may no longer exist, its spirit of innovation lives on in the astonishing filmic expressions it has inspired and their influence on today’s visual culture.EXPRMNTL had its world premiere at the L’Age d’Or Film Festival (Belgium, 2016), where it was the opening film, and its international premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival (UK, 2016). It has been shown in major festivals all over the world, such as the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands, 2017) and the 18th Jeonju International Film Festival (South Korea, 2017).DirectorBrecht Debackere (b. 1979) is the co-founder of Visualantics, a production company based in Brussels. He works with film, animation and motion-graphics, and has exhibited works in museums such as the Stedelijk Museum (Netherlands), SMAK (Belgium) and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. He is currently researching omni-directional and stereoscopic film for CREW, a Belgian artist collective.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art The Art Commission [SOLD OUT]
THE ART COMMISSIONAn anthology of four short films by master filmmakers commissioned by private industry, commercial entities and government departments, now restored classics.THE CROWN JEWELS OF IRANBy Ebrahim GolestanThis film traces 300 years of dynastic rule in Iran by examining the fate of its crown jewels.  Commissioned by the Central Bank of Iran, the custodian of the jewels, the film was intended to commemorate the jewels. However, director Ebrahim Golestan juxtaposed the endless pageantry of the jewels with subversive commentary that criticised the decadence and treachery of past kings. The film presented is a digital restoration proudly brought to you by National Gallery Singapore and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna.RAID INTO TIBETBy Adrian CowellIn 1964, director Adrian Cowell embarked on an expedition to film the untold story of the Tibetan guerrilla fighters who waged battle against the Chinese military. Initially commissioned to produce a series of films on Buddhist sects in Asia, Cowell along with cinematographer Chris Menges and journalist George Patterson followed a small contingent of Tibetan guerrillas from Nepal into Tibet. The resulting film was Raid into Tibet.THE DIAMOND FINGERBy R.D. PestonjiThe Diamond Finger was commissioned by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand to promote Thai culture. It features an exquisite performance of khon, the classical Thai masked-pantomime. The story centres on the unfortunate Nontuk, a midget in the realm of giants who is mercilessly teased by heavenly nymphs. He then receives a magic diamond finger that kills anyone it is pointed at. Narrated in English by ex-Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj, the film makes khon accessible to foreigners yet introduces it from a local perspective, resisting exoticisation of the subject.THE SONG OF PLASTICBy Alain ResnaisCommissioned by Société Pechiney to celebrate the polystyrene products manufactured at its factories, this film traces the metamorphosis of raw material to plastic object in reverse. Starting with melted-down masses of finished products, the film develops as an ensemble of the changes applied to polystyrene components. The tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of the mechanical process reflects the innovative spirit of this enterprise: just as chemists transform “lowly residue” into new and valuable materials, the film transforms the prosaic workings of heavy industry into a beautiful “song of plastic”.The screening on Sat 28 Oct will be followed by a public forum (free admission), which will address the challenges and responsibilities of commissioners and artists, and how visionary directors transcend market considerations to create exceptional works of art. Patrons who have purchased tickets to this screening are guaranteed their seats at the forum. Reservation for forum-only seats starts Tue 10 Oct on www.nationalgallery.sg/paintingwithlight.
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