Picasso and Matisse Come to Singapore

Singapore, National Gallery, arts

Visitors in the exhibitions space of Singapore National Gallery permanent collections

A world-class art exhibition with paintings from Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse will be presented at Singapore National Gallery this coming May giving a rare opportunity for travellers in the region to see masterworks of both artists in this part of the world. 

It will certainly be a highlight of the art season 2020 in ASEAN. Visitors to National Gallery Singapore will be able to catch the works of some of the most renowned artists in the world, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Nam June Paik in four upcoming international special art exhibitions. This is part of the Gallery’s effort to introduce global art movements and artistic pioneers to Singapore and the region, in partnership with major art institutions around the world.

Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, the exhibitions will take place over the next four years, beginning with Matisse & Picasso, which will open in May 2020, and Nam June Paik, slated to open in October 2021.

Ms Serene Tan, Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board, told recently that “the STB is pleased to support National Gallery Singapore in bringing in a pipeline of world-class exhibitions that will draw locals and overseas visitors alike. The partnership reinforces Singapore’s standing as the gateway to the visual arts scene in Southeast Asia. STB will continue to support the industry in organising quality art events that enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a cultural and lifestyle destination.”

Dr Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore, said, “These exhibitions play a key role in opening visitors’ minds to important artists and artworks that have had a deep influence not only on the global art scene but also the development of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. They also continue our ongoing partnerships with international museums such as Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea since the museum’s opening.”

The three-month Matisse & Picasso exhibition, organised in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia, tells the story of the artistic relationship between two of Europe’s greatest twentieth-century artists. Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) met in 1906 and for more than half a century, closely followed each other’s creative developments and achievements. The sustained friendly rivalry between them was not only key to their individual success; it also pushed them ever-further to innovate with colour, form, and space, changing the course of 20th century Western art. Following its presentation in Australia, the exhibition, which features works from collections around the world, will travel to Singapore, its only stop outside of Australia.

A total different art world to be seen will be in October 2021 the exhibition celebrating Nam June Paik. Over 200 works will travel to Singapore highlighting the five-decade career of the Korean-born international artist, whose experimental, innovative, and playful works have had a profound influence on today’s art and culture. A pioneer of the use of television and video in art, Paik also developed a collaborative artistic practice that crossed borders and disciplines. The exhibition will look at his close collaboration with cellist Charlotte Moorman, along with his partnerships with other avant-garde artists, musicians, choreographers and poets, including John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Joseph Beuys.

Singapore will be the only stop in Asia for the exhibition, which is organised in partnership with London Tate Modern and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

More details about the two other international special art exhibitions will be unveiled at a later date. All four exhibitions will be held at the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery.