Closure, opening of Gillman galleries

Closure, opening of Gillman galleries
Glamorous and flamboyant Hong Kong art gallerist Pearl Lam, seen here with The River Full in Red, an artwork by Chinese abstract master Zhu Jinshi.

SINGAPORE - The enclave of pedigreed art galleries in Gillman Barracks ushers in the new year with additions and a closure.

Japan's Ota Fine Arts will move into a space four times the size of its current gallery on Jan 17. The prominent Pearl Lam Galleries from China also debuts on the same day.

Japan's Tomio Koyama Gallery, however, is bowing out next month to concentrate on its business in Tokyo. Ota's director Yasuko Kaneko, 33, says its move, from 47 Malan Road at one end of the sprawling cluster to 7 Lock Road in the middle of the enclave, will allow it to stage exhibitions of a larger scale. Its new 400 sq m premise was previously vacant.

Ms Kaneko says: "Our artists work not only with paintings but also huge installations and video works. In the new space, we have greater flexibility to cater to the artists' demands and this allows us to introduce them to viewers in Singapore."

A solo exhibition by contemporary Japanese artist Tomoko Kashiki, which features large-scale paintings, will inaugurate the new gallery.

Pearl Lam Galleries, on the other hand, will debut with an exhibition on contemporary abstract art in Asia and the West and feature artists such as established American painter Pat Steir, well-known Indonesian artist Christine Ay Tjoe and acclaimed Chinese artist Zhu Jinshi.

Its opening was first announced two years ago by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), JTC Corporation and the National Arts Council, which are developing the arts enclave together.

Its launch, originally slated for last year, was stalled by its search for "a group of artists that fit our programme", says gallery director Keong Ruoh Ling.

The gallery, with homes in Shanghai and Hong Kong, aims to focus on South-east Asian art here, while also providing a platform for rising and established artists from the East and West to meet, interact and engage.

Ms Keong, 41, says: "We ambitiously want to craft a programme that brings the best talents to our space in Singapore, those most relevant to us and to the region, and it became clear to us that it is better to be ready than late."

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