SINGAPORE - Arts company The Substation returns with its first physical exhibition since leaving its Armenian Street home of more than three decades last year.
The exhibition, Redaction, opens on June 28 at the Visual Arts Centre in Dhoby Ghaut and brings together works by 17 artists that explore abstraction within painting.
They range from established painters such as Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts lecturer Raymond Yap to newcomers like Lasalle College of the Arts graduate Aryan Arora, as well as exhibition curator Bridget Tay.
Tay, 33, says it is important to have physical shows to "experience the world - and art - in its physicality".
The Substation's artistic director Ezzam Rahman, 41, gives the example of seeing American painter Jackson Pollock's Number One, 1950 (Lavender Mist).
"Your eyes just run from one stroke to another. Seeing the work physically, guessing the material that the artist has used - these are processes that cannot be done through a lens or device. You have to be there in person," says the artist and art educator.
Asked if the theme of "redaction" alludes to the current status of The Substation, Tay emphasises that it is not related. Rather, she says, the exhibition focuses on how artists take the idea of abstraction to create works with their unique visual vocabulary.
The Substation was founded by late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun in 1990. In July last year, its 45 Armenian Street space was returned to the National Arts Council for a two-year renovation period, after which the building will reopen as a multi-tenanted space.
After an outcry from the arts community, a small group of artists and former and current staff rallied to keep The Substation alive in a new form.
Ezzam became artistic director in September last year, after his predecessor Raka Maitra stepped down to focus on her dance company Chowk Productions, while company manager Yvonne Lee joined this year. Maitra will continue as an adviser.
Since its unhousing, The Substation has organised digital programmes such as SeptFest 2021: Alternative Voice(s) and Female Gaze.
It also held an online fund-raising event - Objects of Affections - in March this year. Twenty artists donated works including sculptures, ceramics, paintings, tapestry and photography, each of which was available for $500.
The Substation sold 23 of the 28 works, raising $11,500 - exceeding its target ...