Tan Pin Pin



Singapore Art Museum Proudly Presents

23 April 2005 – 19 June 2005
Third Installment of the Bi-annual exhibition series


Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is proud to present President’s Young Talents Exhibition 2005, the third instalment of the series, inaugurated in 2001. This year’s presentation has broadened its scope to include design, media and transmedia practices to reflect international trends in contemporary visual art practices. Conceived as part of a larger initiative to present young emerging talents and promote outstanding artistic practices, the exhibition serves as a platform for the visual arts practices of local promising artists working in various media. The official presentation ceremony will be held on Friday, 22 April, 6.30pm at the Glass Hall, Singapore Art Museum, with His Excellency President S R Nathan as Guest-of-Honour.

President’s Young Talents Exhibition 2005 features works by four emerging Singaporean visual artists with varied beginnings and diverse practices spanning the fields of film, furniture design, performance, new media and visual arts: Charles Lim (Co-founder of tsunamii.net and recipient of JCCI Arts Award in 2002), Jason Ong (Grand Prix winner of the Nagoya Design Do! Competition), Tan Pin Pin (Director of Singapore Gaga, which will premiere at Singapore Film Festival 2005) and Rizman Putra (Co-founder for the multi-disciplinary collective ‘Kill Your Television’ which was the recipient of the JCCI Arts Award 2005).

International visual art practices today interact with other fields such as theatre, technology, architecture and broadcast media to give rise to innovative hybrid creative expressions. Locally, artists have been engaging and responding to these directions, taking their practice into newer areas through collaborations within theatrical performance, artistic expression via new technological mediums as well as other non-conventional interactions with media. Featured in this year's exhibition are four artists whose practices transcend the traditional boundaries of visual art -

CHARLES LIM The project sea state is concerned with the exploration of the waters around Singapore and contain many different tracks. sea state 1: Inside Outside is a collection of photographs from that journey and shows buoys, lighthouses and other assorted objects or structures at sea as the physical reality to these charted boundaries. These are presented in pairs where an individual marker is photographed from two perspectives – looking out from and looking into Singapore – and the seeming indifference between the two opens up an uncertainty in the fortitude of boundaries and borders.

JASON ONG Furniture is, for Jason, “a playful medium to express the many human relationships, ideals or idiosyncracies” and in his design explorations, he strives to create furniture that go beyond serving function and form. Seen in this way, the pieces shown here, Chair for Day Dreamers and Not Selfish In Bed(s), are transformed as symbols of his search for meaning, his explorations into archetypal forms and universal themes.

TAN PIN PIN Spurred by a desire to record and capture moments, to inscribe time and memories through the film medium whether as photography, documentaries or experimental short films, Pin Pin created a video, 80kmh, the photographic series, Friends, Family & Strangers, and the Microwave series of videos where objects are placed in a microwave oven as experiments in constructing a narrative with the most minimum requirement - by documenting seconds.

RIZMAN PUTRA For Rizman, performance in all genres (music, theatre, dance, live art) has become an integral part of his art practice. He considers it to be a natural development from his fine arts training, to be perceived as a kind of ‘live’ painting. The works presented in the exhibition can then be seen as a performance structure in three parts, wherein he investigates the conditions of identity.

The artists are selected by a curatorial committee comprising key experts in contemporary art in Singapore – individuals involved in design, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural practices: Ong Keng Sen (TheatreWorks Artistic Director), Patrick Chia (Designer), Dr Adrain Cheok (Mixed Reality Lab, National University of Singapore) and Noorashikin Zulkifli (SAM). Venturing beyond the conventional boundaries of contemporary visual arts practices, the works by the artists reflect the rich and varied terrain of art in Singapore today. Their varied artistic expressions share a common process of intensive research. Charles Lim adopts a documentative, archival style to establish and unearth processes of thinking whilst Jason Ong’s designs are often attempts at elegant resolution of concepts. Audience engagement features prominently in their quest for ways to communicate with the audience. From Rizman Putra’s flamboyant persona to Tan Pin Pin’s intensely simple and quiet narratives, these are young talents who have developed firm voices, both within their fields and beyond, over years of strong artistic practice.

Says Mr Kwok Kian Chow, Director, SAM, “President’s Young Talents Exhibition 2005 is the highlight of SAM’s contemporary art programming in 2005. We are delighted to have the continued support of His Excellency President S R Nathan for this project. Since its conception in 2001, President’s Young Talents has become a platform for our young emerging talents. It recognises artistic development rooted within a vibrant local art scene, yet with an eye towards international artist practices. The series has become an important event in the local art calendar. We understand the importance of providing support and recognition for contemporary visual arts and our own artists who are emerging talents in their field, and hope that the exhibition series may be a first step leading to many other openings including international opportunities."

An exhibition that taps into the pulse of current artistic practices and experiences, President’s Young Talents Exhibition 2005 promises to be Singapore’s contemporary visual art event of the year. So visit the exhibition to get an update on the contemporary art scene in Singapore! In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be series of guided tours of exhibition led by curator of exhibition on 30 April, 21 May and 18 June at 1pm, SAM Lobby. For enquiries, call 6332 3220.

Artists’ Biography

Beginnings: Born 1969. Initially, BA in Law, Oxford University, United Kingdom. Then photography, then MFA in Film and Video Production, Northwestern University, United States of America.
Now: Independent filmmaker known for her Singapore-focused documentaries. Recently premiered at Singapore International Film Festival.

Deeply affected by the speed of change in Singapore’s urbanscape while she was growing up in the post-independent years of the 70s and 80s, Pin Pin overcomes the resultant insecurity with a desire to record and capture moments, to inscribe time and memories through the film medium whether as photography, documentaries or experimental short films. These attempts at documentation are exemplified in her video, 80kmh, and the photographic series, Friends, Family & Strangers. In 80kmh, Pin Pin records her journey on a single videotape with no cuts from Changi Airport in the east to the westernmost point in Tuas. In Friends, Family and Strangers, she took photographs of anyone and everyone all around Singapore within a set period, pushing herself out to places she would not have usually visited. This idea of imposing narrow frameworks and disallowing intrusive forms of editing or selection are evident in the Microwave series of videos. Objects are placed in a microwave oven as experiments in constructing a narrative with the most minimum requirement - by documenting seconds.

Curatorial Committee

Dr Adrian Cheok is the Director of the Mixed Reality Lab, National University of Singapore, which experiments with combining virtual and physical realities. In this regard, he has exhibited at Ars Electronica Museum Of The Future (Austria) in 2003 and worked on other collaborations with artists including a project that was shown in Interrrupt, a cyberart exhibition at Singapore Art Museum (2003).

Patrick Chia is a local furniture designer with international appeal. His designs were chosen by Philippe Starck to be the centrepiece for the Mondrian Hotel (Los Angeles, USA) while his squeeze bench has been acquired for the permanent collection of the Tel Aviv Art Museum. His works have been featured extensively in international publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Wallpaper, Surface and Elle Décor.

Ong Keng Sen, Artistic Director of TheatreWorks, applies an interdisciplinary approach to his projects including The Flying Circus Project, a laboratory project that brings together traditional and contemporary Asian artists from the fields of theatre, music, dance, video, visual arts and ritual. As a curator, he has recently presented Insomnia at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, United Kingdom as part of Singapore Season.

Noorashikin Zulkifli is the Programmes Executive at the Singapore Art Museum. Her major projects included Wunderpark! last August. This was a two-week programme featuring an installation of an artist’s concept of a park, with a strong public engagement direction, as members of the public could create, contribute and install their own artworks, objects, writings into the park.


Shadow-Dances with the Censorship

Source: Author: Bert Rebhandl

In her films and videos Tan Pin Pin explores the living conditions in her hometown Singapore. She makes orthodox documentaries as well as experimental art, and she sometimes accepts commissions from television.

In her films and videos Tan Pin Pin explores living conditions in Singapore. For 40 years the city has been ruled by the People’s Action Party. Economic success and limited democracy typify the political situation. ‘Lurve Me Now’, an early short film in which she speculates about the fantasies of Barbie dolls, was banned in Singapore owing to its sexual implications. "It's very hard to make anything critical in Singapore. You have to say something without actually saying it. So it's sort of a shadow dance that I sometimes find myself playing. (...) It actually makes my films better. You are constantly trying to add subtext to a film."

In ‘Moving House’ Tan Pin Pin shows the shutting down of a graveyard and the consequences for a family whose dead members have to be moved to a new place. Related to this project is also a contribution to the documentary series ‘Afterlife’ about death and notions of life beyond death in Asia. In her half-hour film Tan Pin Pin shows the work of Ah Kow, who opens graves and moves bodies from place to place at need. In his spare time he tries to get rid of the negative associations of his work.

Tan Pin Pin often works for television stations in Asia but is also increasingly interested in the expressive potential of feature films and videos. ‘Microwave’ was originally part of a video installation involving the filming of various items turning in microwaves. Among the items were a dollar note, an American Express card and a Barbie doll. In effect Tan Pin Pin put iconic items into a new context.

‘80km/h’ shows a journey by car from Changi airport to the checkpoint Tuas, which is the actual entrance to Singapore. The car keeps scrupulously to this speed, and the few deviations are noted in the closing titles. Since the camera points to the side, the landscape next to the motorway is what is filmed. This is an indefinable zone between the city and its surroundings and is marked by housing development and traffic. In the course of the journey, dusk gradually falls, till the car reaches the checkpoint at 7.43 p.m.

Tan Pin Pin’s most recent film ‘Singapore GaGa’ is about folk who make a living in the niches of the official culture. A poor woman in a wheelchair sits in front of the underground and sells handkerchiefs for a dollar each. Whenever business flags, she sings about Jesus to console herself. In the underground an old man in shorts presents his musical artistry. He has often had brushes with the police, and now a disgruntled woman asks him for his permit. He replies sweetly that he is registered as a national holy treasure.

In ‘Singapore GaGa’ Tan Pin Pin seeks hints and signs of a cultural identity other than the city’s official self-presentation. This brings her to the ventriloquist Victor Khoo, who with his puppet Charlie was already famous in her childhood and has ever since been amusing the young. In the radio stations of MediaCorp she finds folk who speak the news in Chinese dialects otherwise forgotten, since the official languages in everyday life in Singapore have become English and Mandarin. Indeed she finds a whole range of languages and dialects. Old men sing ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’ and recall going to school, whereas veiled girls during a sports competition yell encouragement in Arabic. Though Singapore is only a small city state on the Southern tip of Malaysia, it is also part of Southeast Asia as a whole and is coloured by the latter’s motley past. In ‘Crossings’ Tan Pin Pin shows an emotional visit of the film maker John Woo to his hometown Hong Kong. He is now working in Hollywood. Tan Pin Pin records his career as a typical Diaspora success and presents rare exerts from his films.

From the 11th to the 13th of November Tan Pin Pin is to hold the video competition ‘Fly by Night’ together with the curator Yuni Hadi. 40 candidates or groups are to be given a theme, about which they should make a video in the course of a day. This ‘video challenge’ is meant to contribute further towards the democratisation of the audiovisual media in Singapore.

Tan Pin Pin, born 1969 in Singapore, is a writer and director of films and videos. She completed her film studies at Northwestern University with an MFA. In 2004 she was Artist in Residence at the University of Technology in Sydney. Her works have won more than twenty awards and nominations including a Student Academy Award and the USA-ASEAN Film Award for Moving House . She is the co-organiser of the video challenge ‘Fly by Night’, meant to spur independent film-making on in Singapore.

Singapore GaGa
(Film / TV, 2004)
Documentary, 55 min

80 km/h
(Film / TV, 2003)
Experimental documentary

(Film / TV, 2001)
Experimental short film

Moving House
(Film / TV, 2001)
Documentary, 22 min

Roger's Park
(Film / TV, 2001)
short film, 16 mm

Lurve Me Now
(Film / TV)
Short film, 3 min 30 sec

(Film / TV)

(Film / TV)
Short film, 2 min 20 sec

Spaces and Shadows
Contemporary Art from South East Asia

The autumn programme SPACES and Shadows focuses on the dynamic developments in the fine arts, film, music and literature in the countries of Southeast Asia and on artists’ working conditions there. It presents politically explosive perspectives and views on a complex – and often traumatic – history. The region, which includes cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore, is on the move; which is also evident at the spatial, intellectual and spiritual levels. Its dynamic character stems from its rich variety of intersecting cultures. The clash between ever greater mobility and rigid social and political structures, on the one hand and the powerful desire to create free space on the other, have driven artists to develop their own subversive positions within their art.


Exhibition talks Tan Pin Pin
Discussion (in English) Genre: Fine Arts
We 16.11.2005 19:00h Free admission

Director of the film Singapore GaGa (see the film series Whose Terror is it Anyway?), speaks on creative ways of dealing with censorship in this talk entitled "How to speak without speaking?"

Within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Weeks, which are supported by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin (DKLB).




List Price for home video use: SGD$30.00*
Running time: 142 min
ALL Region, PAL, English subtitles
Rated NC16**

Product Details

9 award winning Singapore short films have been specially selected for the inaugural Singapore Shorts DVD Compilation: 3 Feet Apart by Jason Lai, Autograph Book by Wee Li Lin, Birthday by Bertrand Lee, Locust by Victric Thng, Mother by Royston Tan, Moving House by Tan Pin Pin, The Call Home by Han Yew Kwang, The Secret Heaven by Sun Koh, While You Sleep by Eva Tang.

Proceeds from the DVDs go to raising funds to support the preservation and cultural mission of the Asian Film Archive.

This compilation is presented by the Asian Film Archive and the Singapore Film Commission and curated by Tan Bee Thiam, Yuni Hadi and Zhang Wenjie.

• Best Asian Short Animation, Bangkok International Film Festival 2004
• Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2005
• Jameson Best Asian Short Film Award, Bangkok International Film Festival 2005
• Renault Samsung Prize, Busan Asian Short Film Festival 2004
• The Voice Award, Singapore Short Film Festival 2001
• Gold Medal, Documentary, 29th Student Academy Awards
• Best Short Film, 15th Singapore International Film Festival
• Silver Hugo, 38th Chicago International Film Festival
• 59th Venice Film Festival

*Note that the price are for individuals only, and may not be screened, loaned or broadcast for any group for either educational or commercial purposes. Any institution or representative wishing to purchase copies for organizational use should follow the Educational Institutions, Libraries and Organisations links for ordering information. The film compilation is protected by copyright.
**Sales and rental of the video is subject to minimum age requirements within Singapore. "3 Feet Apart" is rated NC16; the rest of the titles are PG.

Product Details

Titles included in this compilation: 3 Feet Apart, Autograph Book, Birthday, Locust, Mother, Moving House, The Call Home, The Secret Heaven, While You Sleep

Directors: Jason Lai, Wee Li Lin, Bertrand Lee, Victric Thng, Royston Tan, Tan Pin Pin, Han Yew Kwang, Sun Koh, Eva Tang

Encoding: ALL Region, PAL

Available subtitles: English

Available Audio Tracks: English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Tamil, Japanese, Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Run Time: 142 min

Layers: Dual; Number of discs: 1

Format: Colour, Black and White

Aspect Ratio(s): 16 x 9 Letterbox, 4 x 3

Audio Encoding: Dolby Digital 2.0

DVD Release Date: 9 September 2005

Bonus features for selected shorts:

-Director's Notes and 10 page inserts about the films in this compilation

-Bonus Footage: 1996 footage of exhumation of Tan Pin Pin's great grandfather that inspired Moving House in 2001

-Gallery of film stills, behind the scenes stills, storyboards and scripts