December 2016



Ever wonder what goes into coordinating an exhibition at National Gallery Singapore? We chat with the museum’s Senior Manager of Exhibitions, British expat LOUISE CLARK, about the Artist and Empire: (En)Countering Colonial Legacies event, and what went into planning it.

What’s a typical day at the office like for you? My work involves communicating across the many departments within National Gallery Singapore, as well as with external stakeholders such as lenders and exhibition designers. I work closely with the curatorial team that’s responsible for the content of the exhibitions, the exhibition team that does the fabrication and design of the exhibitions, and the artwork management team that brings in the works from across the globe and installs it all. I also manage the timelines and budgets for the exhibitions. For Artist and Empire, I worked closely with the curatorial team on the loans from the UK, liaising on a daily basis with institutions such as Tate Britain and National Portrait Gallery, as well as private lenders in the UK. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to create an exhibition – from the artwork logistics and installation, to the creation and scheduling of the accompanying programme of events and educational programmes. How long does it take to plan this type of exhibition? The ideas are often years in development, but my role as project manager often starts a year or two before the opening. There are over 200 works featured in the Artist and Empire exhibition. How difficult is it to coordinate bringing in so many pieces from around the world? It’s a matter of careful planning and research from our curators to find the appropriate works; our artwork

management team handles the transport and display logistics. There are many considerations that must be factored in, from conservation, logistics and lighting to specific lender requirements. Previously shown at Tate Britain, this exhibition examines from a contemporary perspective the art produced for the British Empire, and features viewpoints from Southeast Asia. How has the exhibit been adapted for Singapore? The curatorial team here has developed the narrative to appeal more to the Singapore audience. It has included works from the National Collection, and from Malaysia, India, Australia and Brunei, as well as more works from contemporary artists, all of which act as a counterpoint to the historical pieces from the original show, which was called Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past. See it until March 2017 at National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrews Road.


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