Naima Morelli

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January, 2019 Monthly archive

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Meanwhile, at the National Gallery of Singapore…


When the National Gallery of Singapore finally opened its doors to the public on the 24th of November 2015 – the year of the Lion City’s 50th birthday year – it was all the rage. The crowd flowed through the majestic stairs leading to the basement ticket hall, in a space whose proportion rivalled those of the Changi Airport. They were all considering whether the building – which was much discussed for the outrageous amount of money that been spent in realising it – lived up to the expectations. There was an open call for architecture studios, and the final project was given to a French studio, Studio Milou, in the typical Singapore fashion of calling foreign talents to deliver excellence. The French design firm looked to the Musée d’Orsay when deciding to build a majestic structure, merging the historical buildings of the former Supreme Court and City Hall. But the references were actually even more varied. For the entrance hall, where the sun poured through the filigree roof, Jean-François Milou was thinking about the lace worn by an old lady perhaps, and the latest Balenciaga collection, guessing the Singaporeans’ soft spot for luxury goods.

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AsiaticaItaloSpinelli

I’m forever passionate about the connections between Europe and Asia through culture. This time, we explore the power of cinematic language across continents with Italo Spinelli, director of Asiatica Film Festival in Rome, Italy, for Culture360.

Here is the link to the interview

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ThaiartistsPolitics

 

As I’m gearing up to leave for a reportage on contemporary art in Thailand in February, I’m gathering all the preliminary research in these pieces for Cobo. These encapsulate my core areas of interest (you might have read already 5 Thai Artists that Connect Us to Spirituality)

I really love to make those articles that gather artists by topic. I see them as so much more than simple listicles. I have the chance to research the practice of an artist in depth, and then distill the essence of their practice in a few paragraphs. In this way I’m also able to see how artists from the same country have different approaches to the same topic. By spotting similarities and differences, I can start grasping some sort of whole and overarching narrative.

Here is the link to the piece

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Audience anxiety

In 2017, I visited a show a of ceramic artist Iskandar Jalil, in dialogue with the young Singaporean artist Gerald Leow at the National Gallery of Singapore. Gerald’s day job was set design, and it showed from his intervention in the show, which was very subtle. He built a metal structure evoking the traditional house of Inskandar with a simple metal outline. I was looking forward to seeing the show since the artist mentioned that he was doing research from it in our first interview, and I peered out curiously into the room. Before I had the chance to set foot inside, the gallery sitter, gentle as ever, handed me a flyer: “Please find here some information about the show. You will find also the interview of the curator with Gerald Leow and some information about the content of the show. Please proceed to your left to see the exhibition.” Being a Neapolitan, so a rule-breaker by nature, I was about to blurt out: “Well, what if I want to start from the right?” After all, there was no chronology intended in the work, and there were no other people in room. But instead, I shut up and remembered where I was. And yes, I was in a place where the so-called audience anxiety was real.

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