Contemporary Art Destination Gillman Barracks Officially Opens


Singapore’s position as an Asian arts hub strengthens

with Gillman Barracks opening


SINGAPORE, 14 September 2012 – Gillman Barracks – the new contemporary art destination in Asia – officially opens with 13 galleries from 10 countries launching their maiden exhibitions in Singapore.


The galleries at Gillman Barracks will display some of the best art of our time, including works by both established and emerging artists such as Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Heman Chong, Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara and Sebastião Salgado, among others in the ever-changing exhibitions. They will showcase the depth and variety of contemporary art practices and provide regional collectors access to a wide selection of contemporary art in one location (See ANNEX A for opening exhibition details).  


Prominent art talent will come to Gillman Barracks to create, exhibit and discuss contemporary art. Top artists such as Christian Thompson and Zhang Enli, as well as curators such as David Elliott, Hou Hanru and Charles Merewether, will give talks at Gillman Barracks over the opening weekend.


Gillman Barracks is a whole-of-government initiative that enhances Singapore’s standing as an Asian arts hub. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) identified the Gillman Barracks site for arts uses because of its unique characteristics. It is jointly developed by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), JTC Corporation (JTC) and the National Arts Council (NAC).


EDB develops Singapore as a vibrant marketplace for arts businesses by building a conducive environment to meet their needs. As part of these efforts, EDB is also involved in the establishment of a contemporary art centre in Gillman Barracks, which will build art-related capabilities through its international artist residency, research, and exhibition programmes.


“Gillman Barracks, an international destination for contemporary art, will further enhance Singapore's position as a world-class city to live, work and play,” said Yeoh Keat Chuan, Managing Director, EDB. “Singapore is now an even more attractive art marketplace with Gillman Barracks. This is complemented by our internationally acclaimed art fair, Art Stage Singapore, and world-class infrastructure such as the Singapore Freeport which is dedicated to storing fine art and high-value collectibles.”


Located on a 6.4-hectare site, Gillman Barracks boasts natural high ceilings, making it suitable for art gallery use. JTC, its master tenant and infrastructure developer, has carried out extensive refurbishment works and the space within the barracks has been divided into various sizes to suit the different galleries’ needs. The development comprises 4,200 square metres of space dedicated to art galleries, and 4,800 square metres to art-related activities such as artist studios and art research centres, as well as three food and beverage outlets.


“Gillman Barracks was chosen to house the galleries as it offers a tranquil environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  JTC has made a conscious effort to preserve the original colonial buildings dating back to the 1930s, providing a unique historical character to the development. Gillman Barracks is an excellent example of a multi-agency initiative and we are confident that it will develop into a bustling visual arts marketplace,” said Manohar Khiatani, Chief Executive Officer, JTC.


NAC oversees the development of visual arts in Singapore, and at Gillman Barracks, NAC supports local artists and curators’ participation in artist residency and exhibition programmes to produce new works and increase their international exposure. In addition, NAC hopes to encourage greater art literacy and appreciation among the general public, through the range of exhibitions and education programmes available at Gillman Barracks.


“Gillman Barracks is an important addition to Singapore’s visual arts landscape, as it allows for more galleries to take an interest in and help promote good Singaporean talent on the international art market,” said Benson Puah, Chief Executive Officer, NAC.


“It will strengthen our existing infrastructure of museums and arts institutions, adding to the overall diversity and depth of Singapore’s visual arts offerings. Through the public programmes available at Gillman Barracks, we hope all Singaporeans will experience and appreciate the art in meaningful ways, and enjoy this new contemporary art destination in Singapore.”


Starting 15 September 2012, there will also be a special opening exhibition at Gillman Barracks that comprises the works of 16 Singaporean and international artists. As part of its efforts to nurture and profile Singaporean artistic talent, NAC supported the projects of eight local artists in the special opening exhibition curated by Dr. Eugene Tan, Programme Director at EDB, who is overseeing the development of Gillman Barracks.


Using the varied surroundings of Gillman Barracks as the setting for encountering and experiencing art, the exhibition will highlight the new meanings and contexts that a different environment brings to the experience of art.