ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Tue 28 Jun 2011 Company News

One of the latest additions to the Marina Bay skyline and Singapore’s cultural landscape is the ArtScience Museum. Its self-proclaimed iconic architecture is intended to house “blockbuster” temporary exhibitions on … well anything that can be linked to art or science.

Designed by Moshe Safdie, the building form is intended to represent a lotus flower or, in the words of Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, the welcoming hand of Singapore. It promises 21 galleries with a total area of 6,000 square metres. The permanent galleries in the upper levels of the building set the museum’s conceptual stall out in an exhibition called ‘ArtScience: a journey through creativity’. Divided into Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression, they provide a cursory impression of the ways in which art and science are linked.

Quite reasonably, they aim to provide a taster of the subject intended to whet the appetite. But given that these sections anchor the raison d’etreof the entire enterprise they feel curiously empty calories, particularly as the ArtMuseum itself is constantly referred to as genius on the par with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci.

I don’t know the answer to “Where do Art and Science meet?” but I am pretty sure that getting the masking right on a simple slide projection to include the whole question would be a good start.

The ArtScience Museum was running three exhibitions when we visited – ‘Dali: mind of a genius’, ‘Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds’ and ‘Van Gogh Alive – the Exhibition’ – which I will be reviewing in subsequent posts. Suffice to say the spaces within the building which work best as gallery spaces are in fact below ground – in other words freed from the constraints of the “iconic” architectural form.