The brave new world of digital art

Plush 登載。(Sep 12, 2012)

Art meets digital in an avant garde art exhibition that opens on Thursday, Sept 13, for a month.

The collection of 15 original artworks by nine world renowned avant-garde artists is being displayed at the 9,500 sq ft Ikkan Art Gallery at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, which is located opposite the old Malayan Railway station.

One of the eye-catching artworks at the exhibition, titled “The Experience Machine”, is the photo-realistic “The Last Judgment in Cyberspace” by Chinese artist, Miao Xiaochun.

The painting, which reaches almost to the ceiling, shows a crowd of mannequins posing amidst a sepia sea of clouds.

“Doesn’t this look familiar to you?” asked gallery owner Ikkan Sanada, pointing to the title of the huge artwork.

As its name suggests, the composition and motifs are reproduced from Michelangelo’s universally recognised painting, “The Last Judgment” – except that Miao has added digital elements to it.

He scanned his body in 3D and replaced all the human motifs with these images. As a result, the original one-dimensional painting was transformed into a 3D one with the resultant illusion of the bodies being constantly in motion.

On top of this, Miao changed the point of view of the drawing, making it appear as if he could spin the world around like in a computer game.

Commented gallery owner Sanada: “He added new and different perspectives into the art, which makes the audience feel like they are one of the mannequins in the artwork.”

It has been almost a year that the 61-year-old Sanada moved his art gallery from New York to Singapore, assured of the rising demand for art in Asia. Since then, the gallery has successfully held four exhibitions showcasing the works of world class contemporary artist, such as Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei, and international photographers.

He said that his latest exhibition is his most experimental.

“Personally, I do not want to copy what other galleries do,” he commented. “I would like to introduce the cutting edge of art which looks to the future.” Other works on display are digital installation art by the Japanese creative company teamLab and self-portraits by Yasumasa Morimura. Some of the works are exclusive to “The Experience Machine” exhibition.

TeamLab consists of various skilled “ultra technologists”, who have been active in Tokyo since 2001. It is an unprecedented art group that includes traditional Japanese painters, digital programmers, architects and more. To join the team, one needs to be a geek. The team is now 300 strong, undertaking more than 30 projects simultaneously.

The interactive animation installation, “What a Loving, and Beautiful World”, is the centerpiece of the exhibition. It is a “must-experience” artwork that’s a fusion of beauty and state-of-the-art technology.

The collaboration between teamLab and famous Japanese female calligrapher Sisyu has won the Architecture, Art & Culture Award in 2012 at the international virtual reality “Laval Virtual” contest.

Said Toshiyuki Inoko, 35, CEO of teamLab: “You and other people and the things around you are influencing each other. The work. ‘What a Loving’, enables you to feel this natural and precious relationship between yourself and others”.

A ceiling projector irradiates four square dimensions with serene blue colour. The Chinese characters for natural objects, such as flower, bird, moon and tree, flow slowly down randomly. The moment the shadow of the audience’s head or hand touches the characters, the ink calligraphy changes into colourful animations of a butterfly flapping its wings or a firefly flitting around. A full moon embraces all this with an aura of tranquillity.

Inoko’s objective is to lead the world’s visual art. The surprising, cutting-edge projects by teamLab has been widely talked about worldwide.

TeamLab also produced a 19:25 minute animated feature, “Flower and Corpse Glitch”, exclusively for the exhibition. A digital narrative with the theme of showing great awe towards nature, it has already found a buyer even before the opening of the exhibition.

Another avant garde artist whose work is being exhibited is Yasumasa Morimura. He has won fame and fans for his self portraits, in which he himself would appear as the painting’s protagonist.

On display at the exhibition is his faithful reproduction of 17th Century Dutch painter Jan Vermeer’s masterpiece, “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.

Morimura’s latest creation is a 4 minute 12 second motion video, “Vermeer Study: Looking back”, which provides a story line for mysterious painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. It will be open to the public for the first time. The price tag: S$40,000 (excluding the LCD screen).

Other exhibits include Cryptic LED art by Ben Rubin (USA) and geometric animation depicting objects in New York City by John F. Simon Jr (USA).

The price range of the artworks that’s on display is between S$8,500 and S$150,000.

The exhibition, which runs from Sept 13 to Oct 27, is open to the public as is the opening event on Sept 12 at 7pm.

Visit the exhibit at Ikkan Art Gallery at Artspace@Helutrans, #01-05, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road, Singapore 089065. For more details, visit their website at or email them at

花與屍 / Flower and Corpse Glitch