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Listening to Architecture at the National Gallery

The National Gallery has debuted its Archigallery with an exhibition that invites visitors to listen to an ongoing conversation about its architecture through time.

Listening to Architecture at the National Gallery

The National Gallery Singapore has launched the ArchiGallery – an exhibition space dedicated to architecture. Located on level four of the City Hall wing, the ArchiGallery opened its inaugural exhibition last week, titled Listening to Architecture: The Gallery’s Histories and Transformations.

Curated by the National Gallery Singapore’s Senior Curator Seng Yu Jin and Assistant Curators Joleen Loh and Goh Sze Ying, the exhibition aims to provide an immersive and comprehensive showcase of the National Gallery’s historic City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings (designed by British architects G.D Coleman and Frank Dorrington Ward, respectively) and their architectural transformation into the venues they are today (architectural conservation by studioMilou and CPG Consultants, permanent galleries exhibitions by Gallagher Associates Asia and WY-TO).

“This exhibition is a means by which the Gallery may look self-reflectively at its own history within Singapore’s Civic District, and to make sense of the district and cultural planning that has long made the site an important landmark,” says Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.

The exhibition is also a way for the Gallery to acknowledge the tremendous collaborative effort to transform the two buildings. It tells the story of the buildings’ transformation through a broad range of exhibits, ranging from conventional artefacts and documents to multi-sensory installations by young local artists.

“The archaeological remains that were found as part of excavation work date back to the 1300s and tell a story of an almost forgotten past, providing a glimpse into the lives of the island’s different inhabitants, who have shared the same space across vastly different eras,” says Low Sze Wee, Director for Curatorial, Collections and Education, National Gallery Singapore.

Displayed in the exhibition along with these artefacts are a digital print by Michael Lee and an immersive sound installation by Zai Tang. Lee’s Mapping World: Scenes of Singapore explores the relationship between Singapore’s architecture, urban planning and people, while Tang’s Resident Frequencies: A Brief Aural History of the National Gallery Singapore is an eight-channel sound installation commissioned by the Gallery and created from sounds recorded in and around the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings.

The exhibition also allows visitors to virtually navigate two spaces that were previously inaccessible to the public – the Gallery’s main dome and the walkway between the holding cells and the courtroom in the former Supreme Court – via a 360-degree tour projected onto the wall. Visitors can control their movement within the virtual space through their physical actions.

Listening to Architecture: The Gallery’s Histories and Transformations is located at ArchiGallery, City Hall, Level 4. Admission is free.

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