asian civilisations museum, singapore 2016


In January 2016 I was commissioned to produce a video work for a new permanent exhibition about Chinese Ceramics at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.

Working with exhibition designer Susan Freeman of FRD, Sydney, and curators from the Museum, a representative selection of 50 objects was chosen from the collections.

I proposed a display using three large UHD monitors running video imagery of the objects being carefully placed on a slowly revolving turntable, against a neutral background. Each object rotates a few times on the turntable before being carefully removed by a curator’s gloved hands. This simple performance is repeated again and again. I directed the shoot in Singapore, working with a local video production company and Museum staff.

In the display, the three screens are not synchronised, allowing for different triptych combinations of collection objects to appear randomly, creating varying visual associations for the gallery visitor. The screens are not intended to be didactic, nor a central feature of the exhbition space – the actual objects are the focus of attention here.

Rather, the screens allow visitors to see aspects of the objects not available to them in the static displays, and to reveal details that might be difficult to apprehend in some of the smaller, delicate pieces. Also, the graciously slow rotation and careful handling of each individual object points to the skilful conservation and professional care provided by the Museum for these important cultural artefacts.