Eugene Tan

Director of the National Gallery Singapore

Over recent years we’ve become used to seeing Western institutions shipping exhibitions out to venues in Asia. Tan and the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) are bucking that trend, this year sending an exhibition of work by foundational Malaysian modernist Latiff Mohidin to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. There’s a feeling too that as Western institutions seek to complicate and expand their narratives of Modernism, their story of modern and contemporary art might well be coming from the ones being researched and told at institutions like NGS and others in Southeast Asia. While Tan was on the Bangkok Art Biennale’s selection committee, back on home soil NGS continued its triple focus on the local (exhibitions or projects by Ho Tzu Nyen, Lim Cheng Hoe), the regional (Pinaree Sanpitak, Rirkrit Tiravanija) and the international (Yayoi Kusama, Lee Mingwei), sometimes bringing them all together in blockbuster shows such as the upcoming Minimalism: Space Light Object.