The Minimalism Exhibition: A Regional Movement on the Usage of Materials and Space

For the first time ever, National Gallery Singapore has collaborated with the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands to launch Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. on 16 November 2018. The five-month exhibition will be the first survey of Minimalistic art held in Southeast Asia, and the first major Minimalism exhibition to include artists from this region as part of an expanded global perspective on the movement.

Minimalism: Dan Flavin's monument for V. Tatlin
Dan Flavin’s monument for V. Tatlin

Minimalism has contributed to the transformation of how artists use materials and space, and how they involve the viewer. This has been fundamental to the development of contemporary art forms including installations and performance art pieces.

Minimalism: Donald Judd
Donald Judd’s Untitled (Six Boxes) (1974)

This exhibition will feature 150 such works of art by over 80 artists and 40 composers spanning two venues. Visitors can trace the development and rich legacies of Minimalist art and ideas from the 1950s to the present day at the National Gallery, before delving into key aspects of the artistic tendency – including colour and spirituality – at the ArtScience Museum. The exhibition will also shed light on the ongoing engagement of Minimal art with Asian art, as well as the contribution of Asian artists to a wider discourse of Minimalism.

Minimalism: Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor’s To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red (1981)

Here are some of the featured works that the Minimalism exhibition has to offer:

Work no. 1343 by Martin Creed (2012)

Minimalism: Martin Creed
Martin Creed, Work No. 1343 (2012)

Blurring the distinction between art and everyday life, Martin Creed has transformed the National Gallery’s cafeteria into a whimsical yet functional work of art. Creed introduces a system into the space in which each piece of furniture, crockery and cutlery is unique. The work also redefines the relationship between the viewer and art object, with customers of the restaurant becoming part of the installation.

Minimalism: Martin Creed (2)

+ and – by Mona Hatoum (1994-2004)

Minimalism - + and -
Mona Hatoum, + and -, 1994 – 2004

Mona Hatoum’s circular sculpture takes inspiration from Japanese Zen gardens. + and – mechanises the process of creation and destruction. It contains over 750kg of sand and rotates at a rate of five revolutions per minute. The repeated sweeping movements and hypnotic sound evoke absence and presence, existence and non-existence.

Impenetrable by Mona Hatoum (2009)

Minimalism - Impenetrable

This installation appears almost inviting from a distance. However, when approached, the barbed-wire cube repels instead. This contradiction is a reference to the potential for division and violence embedded in the structures of everyday life.

Room for one colour by Olafur Eliasson (1997)

Minimalism: Olafur Eliasson

Room for one colour explores the scientific effects of light and colour on our vision. The room is illuminated by mono-frequency lamps that suppress all colours except yellow and black, causing visitors to see in shades of grey. The experience demonstrates that our perception is not fixed but rather changes with our environment, suggesting we can see the world from multiple perspectives.

Seu corpo da obra (Your Body of Work) by Olafur Eliasson (2011)

Minimalism - feature pic (body of your work)

The labyrinth is made up of translucent coloured plastic sheets suspended from the ceiling. It allows visitors to wander through different spaces, experiencing not only one colour, but many variations and layers of colour. This installation by Olafur Eliasson has a strong connection to architecture and design and engages a range of sensory experiences; allowing the visitors to consider themselves as part of the installation.

Neon Light Installations by Peter Kennedy (1970-2002)

Minimalism: Peter Kennedy
Peter Kennedy: Neon Light Installations

Playing with how colour can change and define a space, this alluring neon light work – considered to be the earliest example of installation art in Australia – has been described by Peter Kennedy as like “being inside the rainbow”. It’s also the perfect spot for your Instagram-worthy shots!

Mega Death by Tatsuo Miyajima (1999/2016)

Minimalism: Tatsuo Miyajima

Mega Death refers to the huge scale of lives lost during the 20th century due to war and conflict. The cavernous space is lit with blue LED numerals which count down from nine to one at different speeds, skipping zero before repeating the cycle again. This parallels the Buddhist cycle of life, death and rebirth – with zero being the void.

Minimalism: Tatsuo Miyajima (2)

As Minimalism reaches its last month in Singapore, visitors will get to experience the exhibition at ArtScience Museum with a special 1-for-1 offer on tickets!

Minimalism: Space. Light. Object

Minimalism: Anish Kapoor's Void
Anish Kapoor’s Void

Date: Friday, 16 November 2018 – Sunday, 14 April 2019
Venue: National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay

Ticket prices start from S$12. For more information, visit

Photos courtesy of ArtScience Museum and National Gallery Singapore

Deepa d/o Chevi Vadivelu

Animal and music lover, bookworm and movie enthusiast. #blackismyhappycolour

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