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A Jesuit chapel, a symbolic space from the Singapore Museum transplanted to the very heart of the Palais de Tokyo, calls into question the rules of the museum institution.

Three curators from the Singapore Art Museum hide behind the “Black Ninja” mask. Working like a squadron that disrupts institutional codes, they transplant a symbolic space from the Singapore Museum to the very heart of Palais de Tokyo: a Jesuit chapel that comments on the effects of colonialism, turned here on its originator. Through this graft and the multiple effects of substitution its implements, the rules of the museum institution are thus called into question.

The title File Not Found refers to the occurrence of system failures in technology and, to a larger extent, foreshadows the unreliable nature of systems that dominate the art world. The Singapore Art Museum has chosen to focus on its local Southeast Asia region and the role of the institution as a site of production, distribution, framing and reception of art, in order to generate self-critique, in the hope of taking new directions and expanding viewpoints regarding its commitment to art.

The traditional model of the canonical museum is a confined one. It thrives on its very name and reputation, and how it stands itself apart from other institutions, with its most distinctive asset being its collection. This traditional model of the museum presents and stages displays of art and culture as a form of reification, edification and representation; it is now being challenged. Indeed, some of today’s art institutions have evolved from this traditional model to focus on a more active form of cultural participation, for example one that utilises concepts and theories and methods of commissioning, in the ever growing need to continually engage with audiences in a relevant manner 1.

The Black Ninja Faction, composed of three curators situated from the Singapore Art Museum, offers the creation of an autonomous space within Palais de Tokyo (PDT) itself, thereby forcing two different hegemonies to co-exist in the same time and place. This intervention will serve as a form of critique and will question the forms and models of institutions today.

The work will consist of a live “live performance”, an object from the public collection, an architectural distillation of a colonised history, and an artist’s written perspective and elucidation on the relation of art systems and hegemonies to humanity.

The Black Ninja Faction, David Chew, Khairuddin Hori
and Naomi Wang, are curators from the Singapore Art Museum, overseeing collections, exhibitions and community outreach projects. They have curated projects such as The Singapore Show: Future Proof; Negotiating Home, History and Nation: 1991-2011, 20 years of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia; Yellow Ribbon Art Exhibition, art by inmates of Singapore Prisons. Between them, they are interested in exploring and interpolating existing structures and systems they encounter.

Randy Chan, Zaki Razak, Lee Wen and Joel Yuen

1- Irit Rogoff: Participations In Visual Culture (Butt, G. (ed), 2005, After Criticism, Blackwell Publishing, UK)

Co produced by the Singapore Art Museum




From 20/06/2013 to 07/09/2013