THe NAture museum
An artist cannot exaggerate the sun (1883-1888)
Can’t see the forest for the trees (1840-1993)
Collection of the Coast Exploration Society, 1978-1988
Bats, Mangroves, Durians, Reservoirs, Tilapias & Floods : The Francis Leow Archives
All images by the ICZ
THE NATURE MUSEUM
Commissioned by the 2017 Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA)
"An immersive museological setting by Robert Zhao of ICZ, The Nature Museum takes you on a journey through photographs, artworks and historical documents both found and fabricated. Get lost in another time as you wander around the artful arrangements of books, posters and images captivatingly displayed on Victorian shelves and vitrines, accompanied by antiquated caption texts.
Artist and photographer Zhao has become known for his layered narratives blending historical documentation and imaginative storytelling that provide thought-provoking commentary on natural as well as social issues. The installation is fleshed out by a guided tour and lecture performance, created in collaboration with playwright Joel Tan, weaving together myriad stories of our island’s rich flora and fauna, its little-known agriculture and aggressive landscaping, fully revealing the extent of Singapore’s ‘Garden City’ moniker.
Underneath bubbles a deeper story of violence and control, hidden in much of Singapore’s encounters with nature: forests recede while manicured greenery emerges. Rediscover the meaning behind images of the plantations and jungles of our past and ponder the implications of the clash between Nature and urban development on our tiny island.
In ICZ’s inimitable style, The Nature Museum meshes past and future in an arresting work that will astonish all who are curious about the world around us."
1 - 9 Sep
Mon-Sun: Noon - 11pm
(on performance nights, exhibition is closed between 6pm-10pm)
Performance: 31 Aug, 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 Sep
1h, no intermission
In The Nature Museum, the Institute turns its attention to the natural history of Singapore Island over a period spanning the late 19th century to the present day. This period is marked by rapid urban expansion on the island, creating multiple encounters between human environments and the natural world.
The Institute is interested in tracking these encounters and their histories, from colonial knowledge-production and documentation to contemporary urban ecology. This exhibition brings multiple strands of knowledge into a single museological encounter: Employing the Institute’s full range of investigative methodologies, the artefacts on display include archival images and historical texts, research papers, documentary photography, installation, and moving image.