ENGAGING ARTS & HUMANITIES SERIES
Thinking About Exhibitions and Its Methods: Case Studies
Masterclass by Dr. Seng Yu Jin, Senior Curator and Deputy Director (Curatorial Research),
The National Gallery Singapore
4 January 2023 (Wednesday)
Bilik Court, Faculty of Creative Arts, Universiti Malaya
Background of Program
Through the Engaging Arts and Humanities Series, the Faculty of Creative Arts (FoCA), Universiti Malaya is demonstrating leadership in the use of arts, design, and the humanities to enhance personal experience and address social and political concerns. Human values and aspirations impact how technologies are utilised, how new resources generated by technologies are allocated, and how we perceive the opportunities and challenges that new technologies present. The arts and humanities help us explore the principles of equality, freedom, privilege, and diversity, as well as individual and communal well-being, ethical decision-making, and other options inherent to group decisions. These principles are fundamental to other priority areas of our strategic plan, such as health, education, resource stewardship, and sustainability. Complex problems, whether local, regional, or global, require creative solutions involving multiple perspectives, and the arts and humanities promote the development of essential skills in problem solving, communication (including across cultures), collaboration, creativity, and empathy, all of which are essential in 21st-century higher education and the world at large.
In our first series of engagement, we have invited Dr. Seng Yu Jin to conduct a masterclass on “Thinking About Exhibitions and Its Methods: Case Studies”. Through the masterclass, Dr. Seng will lead our students to consider: Can we conceive of exhibitions as a medium? Are exhibitions only neutral spaces for the display of artworks or don they have agency as an aesthetic, contested and epistemic site? Can we conceptualise the exhibition as a medium that generates new ways of thinking about and making art? Are there examples of exhibitionary innovations in the exhibition histories of Southeast Asia? Do exhibition histories offer a historiographical model and method that decolonises art history?
The dilemma about methodology is in how we develop approaches to studying exhibitions that extend beyond what we have from art history. It proposes thinking of the ‘Exhibition as Method’ and the ‘Exhibition as Medium’ as ways to demystify the ‘original exhibition’. Thinking About Exhibitions and Its Methods: Case Studies focuses on exhibition history in conjunction with the ROD7004 Malaysian Art students’ group project. The group project will require students to restage “Towards a Mystical Reality: A Documentation of Jointly Initiated Experiences by Redza Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa” (Malaysia, 1974) as a case study to be reconstructed, reconsidered and propositioned as an exhibitionary medium, method, and ‘conceptual performance’ that is participatory, critical and reflexive.
Dr. Seng Yu Jin is a Senior Curator and Deputy Director (Curatorial and Research) at National Gallery Singapore. He was previously a Lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts in the MA Asian Art Histories and BA Fine Arts programmes, and now lectures at the National University of Singapore’s Minor in Art History programme, as well as the Chulalongkorn University's Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice. He obtained his PhD from the University of Melbourne. Seng’s research interests cover regional art histories focusing on Southeast Asian art in relation to studies on diaspora, migration, and cultural transfers. He is currently researching on artistic activities and its histories, focusing on exhibition histories and artist collectives in Southeast Asia. His most recent co-edited publication with Jeffrey Say is titled, Intersections, Innovations ,Institutions: A Reader in Singapore Modern Art published by the World Scientific in 2022.
Below is the planned schedule for your reference:
2PM – 2.10PM: Introduction
2.10PM – 3.00PM: Thinking About Exhibitions and Its Methods: Case Studies by Dr. Seng Yujin
3.00PM – 4.00PM: Discussion
4.00PM – 4.30PM: Afternoon Tea
MODERATOR: DR Simon Soon
DISCUSSANTS: Dr. Roslina Ismail and Dr. Wang Jiabao