17 January–28 February, 2014

Where does it all begin? Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West

Featuring works by Zhu Jinshi, Pat Steir, Christine Ay Tjoe, Su Xiaobai and Peter Peri



DECEMBER 2013—Pearl Lam Galleries will open its third space in Asia at Singapore’s Gillman Barracks on 17 January, 2014, to coincide with Art Stage Singapore. Complementing the critically acclaimed programmes of the existing Shanghai and Hong Kong spaces, the Singapore gallery has been strategically chosen to strengthen the core mission of the Galleries: to engage in cultural exchange and provide a platform for rising and established talents from the West and East to meet, interact and engage.

This strategic location for Pearl Lam Galleries is also in line with and supportive of the city- state’s ambitious aspiration to be the cultural hub of the region. Due to its geographical location, the Gallery will also have a special focus on Southeast Asian Art.

The space, housed within a heritage building at the Gillman Barracks Art Centre in Singapore, provides an ideal location for the Gallery: “Presenting contemporary art in a historical setting is in keeping with our locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong. We like the idea of the gallery being in a heritage space and bringing in the new and cutting edge. The location and building symbolises what we believe in—being rooted in the past and respecting local cultures while looking to the future,” said the Galleries’ founder Pearl Lam.

Ruoh Ling Keong, Acting Director of Pearl Lam Galleries Singapore, added: “I am thrilled to be part of a very dynamic team and look forward to building a dialogue and exchange between different cultures while respecting the Galleries’ Asian roots. To have the gallery in Singapore, which is at the heart of Southeast Asia both geographically and symbolically, anchors the Galleries in the region and, without a doubt, demonstrates our commitment to the scene.”

The opening exhibition Where does it all begin? Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West provides a unique opportunity to see major artists from the USA and China, Europe and Indonesia, side by side, all exploring and revealing the power of abstract art today.

Curated by Philip Dodd, the acclaimed British arts writer and broadcaster, the exhibition explodes the myth that contemporary art from Asia is dependent on Western art, while revealing and celebrating the complex and ongoing dialogue between Western and Asian abstract art. The exhibition is mounted at a time when abstract art is becoming central again to the global art world after a period where conceptualism seemed to reign supreme.

Bridging the gap between East and West as well as across generations, Where does it all begin? Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West will include works by a group of artists including Pat Steir, a major American abstract artist influenced by Chinese art and Taoism; two important Chinese artists Zhu Jinshi and Su Xiaobai, who both lived and studied in Germany and whose work is distinguished by their unique experiences, influences and emphasis on material; young British artist Peter Peri, whose works explore the tension between line and volume, figuration and abstraction, and art historical influences; and one of Indonesia’s most prominent female artists, Christine Ay Tjoe, whose work is delicate to the point of fragility and reveals an internal world full of inner thoughts, melancholy, struggle, pain, and happiness.

Selected works