Monday, February 11, 2013


It's eerily quiet in Chinatown now the non-stop Chinese New Year celebration has, well, stopped, so we headed over to the ArtScience Museum by the Marina Bay Sands.

It's an interesting building. When you see pictures of the Sands, three pillars supporting a shark/a boat/a giant metal turd in the sky, there's what looks like an enormous flower at the left corner of the base. That's the ArtScience Museum, a complicated set of curves that doesn't seem like a very efficient use of space, but which looks quite nice. It would never be allowed in Hong Kong, with its absolute paucity of space, but Singapore has room for a few more interesting buildings than just some more pointy skyscrapers.

Inside, it doesn't feel so adventurous. We went to the top floor first, where there's a video about being curious and inventive that was built from pure corporate soulessness, and on the next floor down is a exhibition of LegoTM artwork, which has been heavily advertised for the last six months.

Unfortunately, most of what there is in the exhibition is just stuff, made out of lego. There's no wealth of different interpretations available, no discussion of how this is different to a child putting bricks together (or even a discussion of how this is exavtly the same). The dreaded TM after every mention of the Lego name drives in to you that it's a corporate endeavour, and the few places where something clever might be said, like the surreal depiction of a artist's studio made from lego, or the irony of building a dinosaur from plastic bricks that were made from hydrocarbons that were long ago were dinosaurs, but nothing is said at all.

Of course, that might actually be some clever artistic statement about how the idea of different interpretations themselves should not be spoonfed to visitors to the gallery, but as the exhibition is filled with cheery admonitions by the artist to be positive, rather than anything heavily nuanced.

The actual construction of large objects from LegoTM is quite impressive, and the artist is an impressive individual himself, for turning his back on a career as a lawyer to make things out of LegoTM instead, but the whole thing is just too clean, too sterile, to really leave an imprint on your psyche.

After that, we went into the basement for a spectacularly bad coffee and a chocolate croissant apparently made from rubber, before looking at the Fujian exhibition (less bright colours, more gloom) and the Magnum exhibit (lots of photos, very few captions) and then cleared off again.


Post a Comment