Guggenheim UBS MAP

On the MAP: A New Venue in Singapore, Shilpa Gupta’s Neighborhood, and the Cultural Role of Rice

Ho Tzu Nyen, <i>The Cloud of Unknowing</i>, 2011. Four-channel video installation, color, with sound, 17 min., edition 1/1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund 2012.141 © Ho Tzu Nyen

Ho Tzu Nyen, The Cloud of Unknowing, 2011. Four-channel video installation, color, with sound, 17 min., edition 1/1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund 2012.141 © Ho Tzu Nyen

A New Home for No Country

MAP’s first touring exhibition, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, is coming to Singapore—and its home there will be the brand new CCA—NTU Centre for Contemporary Art. CCA, a national research center of the Nanyang Technological University, opened its doors just a few months ago in Gillman Barracks, a former colonial barracks latterly reborn as a thriving arts complex. Paradise Lost, CCA’s inaugural international exhibition, which opened last week, presents audiovisual installations exploring ideas of migration created by Trinh T. Minh-ha, Zarina Bhimji, and Fiona Tanthre, three well-known Asian artists based in Europe and the United States. CCA will host No Country starting May 10, but for those in or near Hong Kong, there’s still a chance to see the exhibition closer to home: it will be on view at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center through February 16.

A busy junction near Shilpa Gupta’s studio, 2013. Photo: courtesy Shilpa Gupta

A busy junction near Shilpa Gupta’s studio, 2013. Photo: courtesy Shilpa Gupta

Shaped by the Neighborhood

Location matters to artists as much, if not more, than it does to the rest of us; some are affected directly by the places in which they choose to live and work. In the case of MAP artist Shilpa Gupta, whose home is in Bandra, a diverse coastal neighborhood in Mumbai, her surroundings often form the theme—and locus—of her work. Gupta’s light installation I live under your sky too (2013), a monumental metal frame bearing loops of neon script, flashed that phrase in English, Hindi, and Urdu on Bandra’s promenade, thereby addressing several different facets of the area’s multilingual community. As Gupta said of the piece in an interview with Art Asia Pacific, “It is important for me to have the work in Bandra. [I]t has such a rich and varied mix of people from different backgrounds and faiths.”

Rochie Cuevas, a postdoctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (left) and a participant (right) at the event "In a Grain of Rice." Photo: Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Rochie Cuevas, a postdoctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (left) and a participant (right) at the event “In a Grain of Rice.” Photo: Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Grain of Truth

If the world’s diverse Asian cultures have one thing in common, it’s rice. A few Sundays ago at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, MAP presented “In a Grain of Rice: Food and Culture for South and Southeast Asia,” an event that recognized and examined the importance of rice to the region. Part of a series of programs exploring key themes and questions raised in No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, “In a Grain of Rice” brought together culinary scholars, artists, chefs, and gourmands for discussions and cooking demonstrations. The event plumbed the traditional significance, economics, and yes, even the taste of rice: participants had the opportunity to try everything from rice-based dishes cooked by professional chefs to “Hakka” teacakes—patties of rice mixed with radish and dried shrimp—prepared by residents of the rural Hong Kong village Choi Yuen Tsuen.

On Our Radar

  • The third edition of Sri Lanka’s Colombo Art Biennale features established and emerging artists from that country, as well as a range of international work. Presented through February 8 in various venues around Columbo, the theme of this year’s Biennale is “Making History.”
  • In addition to its overall focus on Latin American art, sections of this year’s Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair, which runs February 5–9 in Mexico City’s Centro Banamex, are devoted to artists under 35, works from the first half of the 20th century, and design.
  • On February 8, 89plus Americas Marathon: Autoconstrucción brings together emerging and established practitioners from the fields of culture, science, and technology to discuss issues of self-construction and activism in the Americas. Part of Zona Maco, the multidisciplinary one-day event takes place at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City.
  • Running from Feb 7–9 at Dhaka’s Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Complex, the Dhaka Art Summit focuses on contemporary art from Southeast Asia. As noted recently in the New York Times, the event, which marks rising international interest in the region, will include 250 participating artists, among them MAP’s Shilpa Gupta and Tayeba Begum Lipi, and artist and MAP contributor Naeem Mohaiemen.
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