Sunday, July 17, 2011

ArtScience Museum @ Marina Bay Sands

The ArtScience Museum was only opened earlier this year. Its building is one of the most unique, I believe, as a museum, against the conventional ones that normally appeared in "rectangular" blocks... common look-and-feel in most parts of the world :)
Of course, if we were to do our maths, we'll know that such structure do not optimise space! How big can it be? On the other hand, we'll also keep in mind the "art" that comes with it. Perhaps, the arty experience when one navigates around the building?

Another interesting part about its operation is, we could actually purchase the entry ticket online, at the SISTIC website. Ah! Something unique. I don't find the entry tickets of the National Museum or the Asian Civilisation Museum selling on the SISTIC website. Moreover, we normally the site with performance arts!

Ticket is expensive: $30 (when without discount). When asked the person as the sales counter, "Can we take photos of the exhibition?" I was told, "As long as there isn't flash, you can take anything you like."

Well, it sounded reasonable. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case. I was "threatened" to have my photos deleted if I took pictures when attempted to take a couple of pictures. Anyway... not too good an impression... that reminded me of the Confucius Temple incident in the Beijing.

Things in the museum were definitely very very expensive! There were teaching guides for the various exhibits in the museum - at various levels... however, $2 per copy... haha... if we do the maths, I doubt we'll come here for such expensive learning journey (Ticket is not cheap). Post cards - I saw stacks of postcards... each with almost 30% of the writing area covered with text and logo... just look like any of those free ones available at cafes... guess what, it cost $2.50 per piece...

There are 3 exhibitions going on now at the museum - Van Gogh Alive, Dali Mind of a Genius and the Shipwreck.

(1) Van Gogh Alive
This is not my first encounter "with" Van Gogh... First time was in Paris, when visited the Lourve. A closer look was at the OmniTheatre at the Singapore Science Centre on a documentary about his life and work.

It was quite a nice multimedia art installation, which, when coupled with the relevant sound effect, it brought out the emotions behind the art pieces. There were explanations of some art pieces in a small room. Spent about an hour there...having a greater understanding of the thoughts behind each piece of painting. Some of the paintings include: Sunflower and Starry Night . There's also a self-portrait where his head was bandaged, when he was recovering from his 'cut-off' ear. From the brief write-up, I just wonder... so, he liked his friend (hm... a man!). Of course, that also reflected his mental stability, when he spent a number of days in the asylum. It just left me thinking... there's no perfect ending to some of these well-known talented people, to some extent, tragic. Sad.

This visit was indeed a further reinforcement of what Impressionist artists do :)
Also noticed a couple of "words of wisdom" from Van Gogh, and one of them is as follows:

Here's more findings (as I blog about this visit):

Just learnt, Don McLean's hit song Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) is about Van Gogh's emotional journey depicted through his paintings...

(2) Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds
It's a collection of a cargo of objects that went with the sunk ship. The entrance to the exhibtion hall was a brief introduction of the background... that spoke about the silk road, trade between the east and the west, etc before talking about the route that the ship took... seemed to be a returning trip from China to Persia, but detoured to Indonesia (Belitung Island) where it sunk.

It was a rich display of objects! from vasks to bowls... and mirrors :P
They came from a few provinces in China and those were made during the Golden Age (China, Tang dynasty). A collection of bowls were nicely laid out in glass showcase... they seem ordinary to many of us. Well, they were, I believe, even in those days... however, their 'value' shot up because they were the objects of the yester-centuries and had been hidden (er... immersed) in deep sea most of their 'life'! 

Something new I learnt was... something that seem the most ordinary, e.g. the white porcelains, are amongst the most precious in the collection! Because of the degree of purity and transparency... Hm...
There are also some other interesting things like the kind of prints on the bowls and cups... OK, there's a little hands-on activity available to the visitors, just like when we collected lots of 'stamps' in the various places of interests in Japan, we could also do a little paper pressing exercise to have the little prints pressed on papers.

(3) Dali: The Mind of Genius exhibition
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), commonly known as Salvador Dalí (Catalan pronunciation: [səɫβəˈðo ðəˈɫi]), was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres. {extracted from Wikipedia}

Dali's work was featured at the 3rd story, the entire floor was delicated to his work, which was divided into several galleries. Of course, his symbolic masterpiece, the melting clock stood right in front of the museum (BTW, there's at least one more version of the melting clock in the exhibition gallery). A very ingenius way of using "clock" to symbolise time... the persistence(?) or the non-permanence (?) of time? Who would have thought of the idea came from a piece of melted cheese from the oven! Ah! Let me apply what I learnt from my ADMT colleagues - this is called "Shape borrowing" (hm... one of the tools in SCAMPER, if I recall correctly). There were lots of metaphors when looking at the sculptures. Ok , another word learnt is... he's a surrealist! He also seemed to be an expert to bring about or illustrate contrast in his pieces of work.

While his genius could be reflected his work, a range of the work could be controversial, in particular, the one on themed, Venus (I think). It's a collection of drawings of women - in different forms, shapes, sizes, postures, etc... I felt, it's simply beyond obsessive... it's the strange thought or maddness that was going on in his mind! It could be scary!

All over the gallery, there were words that reflect Dali's thinking... e.g. "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it" and "The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad."

Well, who's mad? who's obsessive in the thoughts, hm... 
Click HERE to the museum's website

Well, if you ask if it's worth the visit... hm... it depends... and it's certainly a place that not many know how to appreciate what's housed inside... Hm... ask me if I see what's the 'relationship' between the 'art and science' showcased here... I'm afraid, I've yet reached that 'level' to make the connection...

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