Minimalist artists challenge us to see simplicity, or perhaps beyond it. Minimalism emerged in New York in the 1960’s, yet through this massive exhibition at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum and the National Gallery – more than 150 paintings, sculptures, object, light and sound installations – the visitor is shown its much deeper roots traced back to earlier Asia philosophies and artistic styles.
This image by artist and activist Ai Weiwei entitled Sunflower Seeds is deceptively simple. He employed more than 1600 artisans in Jingdezhen, a city historically known for its porcelain production, to handcraft millions of unique sunflower seeds (more than 100 million in the original installation at the Tate Modern in London in 2010). What does this say to the viewer with regard to the individual’s relationship to society, to being lost in a crowd, to consumerism or the “Made in China” narrative of mass production – and ultimately to asserting the value of each person?
During my senior year of college, I took a 20th Century Art class and fell in love with the serenity of Mark Rothko’s pallets, the dynamism of Jackson Pollock, and the social commentary (and humor) of Andy Warhol. I often have said that if I had taken this course much earlier, I would likely have become an art historian or curator rather than a social psychologist.
Exhibition notes of Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. link art and science through a quote attributed to Albert Einstein (though reflected also in the Laws of parsimony or Occam’s Razor): “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
The exhibition is on view through 14 April 2019. Performance of Simone Forti’s Dance Constructions at the National Gallery features two YNC students: Adam Lau and Nirali Desai.