Have you heard of Alliance Francaise de Singapour? Well, I am not aware of this organization until last Friday.
I was here with few friends at gallery of Alliance Francaise de Singapour. The gallery displayed a young local artist work called “The Mountain Survey“.
This is a Solo Exhibition!
Marvin Tang received the opportunity to show his work at Alliance Française as part of France & Singapore Photographic Arts Awards (FSPAA). His work was shortlisted by a panel of judges. The winner of this award receives a solo exhibition with Alliance Française as well as production support. Marvin Tang was selected amongst his fellow peers who were also shortlisted in this award.
I have also done a short interview with the young artist Marvin Tang on his exhibits. He is currently studying master degree in London and back for a month and a half in Singapore.
Question 1 : Tell me a little about yourself.
Marvin Tang : I started photographing when I was a young child and given a camera during overseas travel. However, I became particularly interested in photography only 10 years ago. I started out in reportage photography which still strongly influences my work even in my transition to visual arts. I received my formal training in the School of Arts Design and Media (NTU) and now pursuing my Master in London College of Communications.
Description of the artist work – The Mountain Survey :
A survey of Mountains in a country with barely any hills.
The survey investigates mountainous landscapes observed at various nature reserves around Singapore. Once vital during the building boom in the 1970’s -1980’s, these mountains have since ceased their functions and taken on a new role in providing a space of tranquillity.
~ extracted from the printout that I received.
Question 2 : Why do you choose mountain?
Marvin Tan : I called them mountains as a namesake as these were largely terms used to describe the quarries in multiple newspaper articles. But at the same time, mountains refers to huge natural formations that does not exist in Singapore. The use of mountains here comes as a reference to convince ourselves of a natural setting that does not truly exist.
Question 3 :Where do you usually get inspiration from?
Marvin Tang : My points of curiosity are often inspired from a continued research on history or observation. I like to understand how things come to be, which in this case how the mountain became mountains and where did the quarries go?
One of my favourite part of the galley is the little boxes displayed at the floor. My first impression tells me these little boxes look very similar to granite stones. That’s my own interpretation. Let’s see the artist explanation.
Question 4 : Explain the little boxes?
Marvin Tan : The floor pieces (The Cavern and the Built) are both new pieces that I am exploring as a study of creating objects in relations to narratives I have found pertaining to the mountains. In the Cavern (The black square near the entrance), it relates to a news article I found that speaks of how Singapore does not wish to have so many holes in the ground.
Question 5 : What are these little sand?
Marvin Tang : Those are Quarry Dust. It is an important material uses in building materials. However, at the same time, the high Silica content of Quarry Dust was also the cause of lung problems amongst quarry workers.
Question 6 : Prizes you have won locally & internationally.
Marvin Tang : I was honored to receive the Singapore International Photography Festival Portfolio Award in 2016 & Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Photography 2015. With recent exhibitions with Enterprise Projects, London; Nooderlicht International Photo festival IN VIVO, Netherlands and Odesa Photo Days, Ukraine.
Question 7 : Your favorite masterpiece.
Marvin Tang : Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich
The below artwork is not displayed at the wall but at the floor. Look down at it and you will feel like you are looking into a very deep ‘black hole’. This is my way of interpretation of this photo/artwork. I didnt check with the artist as I wanted to have my own way of imagination.
Before I spoke with the artist, I thought these were taken at the Bukit Batok – Gombak Norite. But I was told these pictures were actually taken in Pulau Ubin!
Question 8 : What is the message you want to send out from your photos?
Marvin Tang : There are so much that we do not know about the world around us. My image does not aim to explain the world but merely open the conversations around it.
Question 9 : Tips for people who wish to take up photography
Marvin : Do not get lost in making photographs. Read, write and wonder. Think about the world and find yourself in it. Do not be so eager to photograph everything.
After finished exploring the gallery, we went checking out the facilities in Alliance Francaise de Singapour.
Alliance Française de Singapour
Alliance Française de Singapour is a non-profit educational and cultural organization. It was my first time to pay a visit at this colorful buldings. There is a library at the second floor which is open for public.
The library has good collection of books, digital cd and DVD. Visitors are feel free to browse at books here, well if you know French 🙂
French boy reading a comic book at the children corner.
Alliance Française de Singapour has offered a great array of cinema and performing arts events in its theatre as well as various visual art exhibitions in la galerie becoming a renowned cultural destination.
Where & When ?
Alliance Française de Singapour – la galerie (2nd floor)
From 3 August to 8 September 2018
Saturday: 9.30am – 5.30pm
Tuesday – Friday: 1pm – 7.30pm
Do not miss the Artist’s Talk on Saturday, 18 August 2018 at 5:45pm
How to go :
- By car – There is a small car park limited to 15 cars at Alliance Française de Singapour, using cash card.
- By mrt : Newton MRT Station then walk for few minutes, you will see the colorful building below –Alliance Française de Singapour.
Final thoughts :
Marvin Tang is a Singaporean young talented artist who uses photography as a tool of investigation. He has also won multiple awards around the world. I am glad to have seen one of his work and most importantly gotten a chance to get to know him and his work through our interview.
Secondly it was a good discover to know about this place -Alliance Française de Singapour!
Lastly, we all have a great time catching up and meeting new friends during my visit at the Galerie @ Alliance Française de Singapour!
You may like :
- Singapore National Museum – Oldest museum in Singapore.
- Asian Civilization Museum – Learn about Asian arts & culture
- Peranakan Museum – Find out more about Baba and Nyonya, a unique hybrid culture at Singapore.
- National Art Gallery – Wake up your imagination.
- Singapore Philatelic Museum – Learn about stamps and old notes.
- Civil Defence Heritage Gallery – Singapore’s oldest surviving fire station.
- Singapore Discovery Centre – Big playground for kids.
- British Museum in London UK
- The Louvre in Paris : Top 15 things to do in the largest Museum in the world!