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Singapore from BW to C v.2.0.17
A short film by Gilles Massot
Presented by Grey Projects
In November 1985, Gilles Massot presented his first exhibition in Singapore: a series of forty-two black and white painted photographs, set for a one-night-only event in a flatted factory in MacPherson Road. The body of work was a reflection on the deep transformation then taking place in both urban spaces and the social fabric of the newly born nation.
This event was a noticeable departure from the form of photographic and artistic practices that had prevailed in Singapore until then, both in its pictorial content and in its presentation as installation in an industrial space. Thirty-two years later, curator Jason Wee decided to revisit this body of work with an exhibition presented in his art space Grey Projects. He aimed to highlight the historical significance granted by the passing of time to both images and artistic process, and bring it back to the public’s attention.
This short movie was conceived as a reflection of the journey and exploration accomplished in 1985, the “there and then”, in relation to its significance and relevance to the “here and now” in 2017, at a time when Singapore has become more particularly concerned with the preservation of its past memories and heritage. Through animation of still images, computer screen capture, and some live situation shooting in and around the National Library, the 31mn movie presents an overview of the works then exhibited and the places featured in the photographs, along with a commentary narrating the genesis of the work within the context of the emerging contemporary local art scene.
The Singapore art scene of the early 1980s had such a spontaneous and informal energy that its vibrancy has yet to be properly identified, recorded and analysed by art historians. The exhibition Singapore from BW to C was an integral part of it and this short movie hope to be a meaningful contribution to this process.
The screening will be followed by a short Q&A with Gilles Massot.
About Gilles Massot:
Gilles Massot is a multidisciplinary artist and academic whose work based on the idea of “the space between things” aims to establish links and decipher the narratives existing between disciplines, people, occurrences and parts of the world. His visual art practice more specifically deals with the theory of photography and its relation to time and space.
After studying architecture and photography in Marseille, he came to live in Singapore in 1981. His early participation to the local art scene saw him involved in a string of seminal art events, including the first editions of the Festival of Arts Fringe and the 1987 Yin Yang Festival. In the 1990S he travelled extensively across Asia and Europe, a way of living that resulted in over fifty exhibitions, and an extensive body of editorial work published in diverse magazines in Asia and Europe.
With the new century his focus shifted onto academia and research. His book Bintan, Phoenix of the Malay Archipelago (2003) had a profound influence on his artistic process, since then often dealing with history and ethnology in the form of mix-media works. This was followed in 2006 by an MA-FA dealing with the apparition of the photographic idea in the 18th century in relation to the notion of “image” as found in the English garden. He recently completed a research on Jules Itier who did the first daguerreotypes of China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Viet Nam in 1844-45.
He currently lives in Singapore where he teaches in LASALLE- College of the Arts. His work is part of the LTA Integrated Art Program (Buona Vista Station), the Singapore Art Museum and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris among other collections. He is a recipient of the French cultural award Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.