As part of the final stage of the National Museum of Singapore’s revamp of its permanent galleries, the Glass Rotunda has reopened on 10th December 2016 after two years of renovation works. Two permanent installations “Story of the Forest” and “Singapore, Very Old Tree” are showcased here.
Story of the Forest
Health advisory: Those who are prone to epileptic fits or seizures may want to use your discretion on visiting this exhibit due to the lighting and moving/flashing images.
Upon entering the upper level of the Glass Rotunda, one is greeted by the sight of a floral blizzard.
You’ll soon find yourself being immersed in a larger-than-life interactive digital installation that is inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized William Farquhar’s Collection of Natural History Drawings. This treasured collection was brought to life by internationally renowned Japanese digital collective, teamLab, using the latest cutting-edge technology to transform 69 drawings into animated illustrations.
As you make your way down the passage towards the lower floor, visitors will encounter various flora and fauna. Try to spot and interact with the various animals that inhabit this forest! I found that the birds and the deer are easily startled and tend to take flight when you approach.
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Ohh…I spotted a Black Panther!
I love the vivid colours and that the scenes change from day to night and as you walk along, it may start to rain too!
For a more immersive and educational experience, visitors can download a free mobile application via the App Store or Google Play and you have the option of going on “hunts” to “capture” the different flora and fauna that call the Glass Rotunda home. Valuable insights into the illustrations from the William Farquhar collection will be revealed when you have successfully “captured” the animals using your phone’s camera function.
When you reach the lower level of the Glass Rotunda, you can either sit or stand in the middle of the room to take in the 360 degree view of the scenes being projected. This display certainly takes your breath away and is simply visually stunning!
Singapore, Very Old Tree
The lower level of the Glass Rotunda houses the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao. This features 17 images of significant trees in Singapore and around the vicinity of the National Museum, as well as various stories which present visitors with an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.
What is Not Visible is Not Invisible
This exhibition of multi-media installations uses unconventional approaches in art-making and features selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC). Its title and design takes inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit.
Go on a philosophical journey with the various artworks, which will take each visitor into a new state of mind through personal interpretations of the presentations, its surrounding space and context.
When you enter this space, you will see three infrared lightbulbs strung from the ceiling in front of a blank wall. These bulbs are triggered by the viewer’s presence and they will light up to reveal the ultraviolet text on the wall: “What is not visible is not invisible”. The work only appears when it is seen, thus highlighting that to express the invisible, one needs to paradoxically have to make it visible.
I’m not good at interpreting art pieces, many of which are too profound for me, but cobwebs – yes, I agree that sometimes these are “invisible” if you don’t notice them.
This exhibition has several spots for those who like to pose for photos or if #OOTD is your kind of thing.
Moving through the exhibits, I came across a room filled with green balloons (Work No. 262 by British multimedia artist Martin Creed), but my foodie mind immediately made me think of luscious green grapes, thus I didn’t know how to interpret this installation.
I think it makes quite a nice background for a photo – no?
This one below is titled “Repulse Bay” (by Dominique Gonzales-Foerster) – I was a bit confused as its name reminded me of the beach in Hong Kong, but then again, it also resembles a swimming pool! Apparently the artist’s intention is to attempt to have an exterior/interior situation where you are unable to differentiate between whether you are indoors or outdoors.
I was clueless as to what these pieces of paper are for but apparently you can take one home if you like. The faces do look cute!
Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre
This is a new kinetic installation by home grown artist Suzann Victor and it took 2 years to be completed! This stunning contemporary masterpiece features 14,000 handpicked precision-cut Swarovski crystals accentuated by sophisticated LED technology that hang from eight wing-like stainless steel chandeliers. Wow…each “wing” spans 1.2m in length!
At various times in the day, these chandeliers will swing, being propelled by customised electromagnets and they can form 8 different swinging patterns. I especially liked them when the blue lights were turned on, but you need to be quick to photograph them as the light patterns will keep moving and changing too!
Telephone: +65 63323659 / +65 63325642
Daily from 10am to 7pm.
Last admission to Glass Rotunda at 6:15pm.
Last admission to all other galleries at 6:30pm.