Part of Quiet Rooms (2009), an installation of charcoal drawings on paper collage by Malaysian artist Nadiah Bamadhaj.
Art is something that strikes me as beautiful. Like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But modern art, to me, is rather a case of nebulosity. During my travels to some of the major cities in the world, I try to fulfill my obligation as a (shamelessly) savvy tourist by visiting some of their infamous, quintessential modern art galleries/museums. From the video of a progressively rotting plate of fruits at the Tate Modern to the haunting, ghostly images and installations at the Guggenheim, the artistes’ expressions have exponentially expanded my conservative outlook of the arts itself. I begin to question the complexity of modern thinking and if that does us more good than bad. And like it or not, I often leave these places feeling more confused, but relieved. Does that make any sense at all?
I might not have understood or appreciated some of the exhibits at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) but solely for showcasing contemporary pieces of some of the renowned artistes in this region, its effort should be applauded. Also, the architecture and facilities are, in my opinion, of world-class standard.
Truth be told, it was neither the love of art nor the Biennale hype that brought us here. SAM was a side trip after a visit to the nearby Fine Palate Café.
It’s really rare of us to brunch at cafés, mainly because of the expected typical offerings - toasts, bacon, poached eggs, pancakes, etc. But there were some interesting dishes on the menu that caught our attention - sesame buckwheat noodles and tuna with capellini. The buckwheat noodles (soba), with its natural tinge of salt, were dressed with an aromatic goma (sesame) oil. A curl of the soba with the seared, crunchy prawn (although I do question the size of the described “tiger prawn”) was simplistically a delight. I also enjoyed the tuna with capellini very much. The tuna chunks were succulent and fresh while the mixture of shoyu and mayonnaise was tasty without being confusing. Unlike some of the art pieces. I should also mention the complimentary fluffy, toasted bread and slightly tangy dip that I assume to consist mainly of tomatoes and bell peppers.
The arts didn’t just end at SAM. At the nearby SAM at 8Q, in conjunction with the Singapore Biennale 2011 Open House campaign, a few more exhibitions were offered to the public for free that day. At the mini theatre, an independent film was being shown. It was about death. By then, I knew I had enough for the day and dragged myself out to the adjacent lounge where a few modern chairs were placed. It was cool and quiet. I found myself the most comfortable spot and napped.
Singapore Art Museum
71 Bras Basah Road
Tel: (+65) 6332 3222
Fine Palate Café
51 Waterloo Street
#01-04/05 Singapore 187969
Tel: (+65) 6336 5120