Light to Night Festival returns from 19 to 28 January and looks set to paint Singapore’s Civic District in a dazzling array of colors as it transforms iconic cultural institutions and parks into a creative canvas with spectacular works of art.
The Festival will expand from an anniversary celebration event by National Gallery Singapore in 2016 to become a precinct-wide arts festival spearheaded by the Gallery, together with four other precinct partners – The Art House, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum and The Esplanade. It is also one of the marquee events of Singapore Art Week.
Themed ‘Colour Sensations’, the Festival will take visitors on a captivating, multi-sensorial journey through the changing colors of the precinct from day to night with the various commissioned works. They can look forward to a vibrant kaleidoscope of public art and activities by artists from Singapore and beyond, including interactive light projections, immersive colorscapes, illusionary play with mirrors, and participatory indoor works and performances that span seven programme zones in the precinct – making it the largest precinct-wide visual, literary and performing arts festival in Singapore.
An art trail of dazzling and interactive public art installations
Watch the Civic District turn into a nocturnal wonderland when the sun goes down. For the first time, National Gallery Singapore’s City Hall façade will become an interactive canvas for audiences to create public artwork. Titled Chromascope, visitors are invited to participate by stepping on stomping pads to project colored visuals onto the Gallery’s façade.
Its neighbouring Former Supreme Court Building, together with The Arts House, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall and the Asian Civilisations Museum, will also be a sight to behold with the biggest façade light extravaganza in Singapore – Art Skins on Monuments – where coloured light projections by 30 Singapore and Singapore-based artists, illustrators and multimedia designers, including new media artist Brandon Tay, visual artist Speak Cryptic, illustrator-artist Aeropalmics and contemporary artist Samantha Lo, adorn each monument.
On the Empress Lawn, a multi-sensory adventure awaits as House of Mirrors by Melbourne artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney makes its Asian debut. A thrilling blend of both delight and paranoia, the installation is a fascinating labyrinth of endless mirrors which takes one on a journey through thousands of disorientating optical illusions and bewildering reflections – all taking place
Visitors will also see the Esplanade Park tunnel light up as Singapore-based lighting design collective Nipek presents Trip to the Colourscape, a display of vibrant hues aimed at stimulating one’s awareness of our environment through the interplay of colored lights and shadows. This experience will be enhanced with musical performances at the Esplanade Park by local bands such as Cosmic Child and Sang Mataharitidur Mati. In addition, Year 1 students from the National University of Singapore’s Architecture faculty will be presenting a new site- specific installation, Art Incubator: Tropical Primitive Hut, which will take centre stage at the ACM Green. This interpretation of the primitive hut explores the natural connections between people, architecture and the environment that may often be overlooked during Singapore’s rapid urban development – adding a different perspective to visitors’ experience of the Civic District.
As part of the Light to Night Festival, National Gallery Singapore has also commissioned five artists who are richly informed by their own history and experience of the region to create indoor participatory artworks, of which two will be unveiled at the Festival. A Stitch in Time by Filipino artist David Medalla is an expansive sculptural work that was inspired by his chance reunion with a handkerchief that he had gifted to an ex-lover years earlier. Visitors are encouraged to stitch words or small memorabilia onto the canvas as a display of interconnectedness and accidental discoveries.
The UOB Southeast Asia Gallery will also see an internationally-acclaimed performance work by Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei – Sonic Blossom, which reminds one of the fragility of life and the moments that make it beautiful. In the live one-on-one performance, a classically- trained opera singer will approach one visitor at a time in the galleries to perform a personal short rendition of Lieder (art songs) by Franz Schubert.
The two works will accompany three other commissioned pieces – One or Several Tigers by Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen, The House is Crumbling by Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak, and Walk, Walk, Walk: Search, Deviate, Reunite by teamLab – and an existing work by teamLab Flowers and People – Dark, which have been progressively opened to the public since December, to encourage one to also experience the museum as a space for people to gather and interact.
A Festival for everyone
Festival-goers can look forward to fun and enjoyment with more than 30 programmes in 10 days that have been specially put together by the Civic District precinct partners.
Right at the center of all the action, be prepared to soak in the Festival atmosphere at Art X Social, as the Padang will turn into a sprawling picnic ground with more than 80 food and craft stalls, complementing the experience of watching the light installations and projections unfold across the Civic District. With a wide variety of programmes, from dramatized readings, music performances, poetry recitations and artist talks, there is something for everyone to kickstart the brand new year.
The Festival runs for 10 days, and starts from 5pm till midnight on weekends (Fri & Sat), and visitors can still enjoy the outdoor light art installations from 8pm till 10pm on weekdays (Sun – Thurs). The installations inside National Gallery Singapore follows the institution’s opening hours, except Friday and Saturday when it will close at midnight. Admission to the Festival is free.