As Aloft at Hermès enters its second decade, we mark the occasion with a visual retrospective
Hermès’ flagship store in Singapore is filed with many mesmerising, eye-catching objects; and no more so than on its fourth floor. For here you’ll find Aloft (previously named Third Floor), one of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès’ five art spaces around the world. It’s here—and at La Verrière in Brussels, Atelier Hermès in Seoul, Le Forum in Tokyo and the temporary exhibition art space in La Grande Place, the Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis—where the Maison encourages contemporary artists to bring their creative dreams to life with site-specific works. Each year, artists are invited to interpret an annual exhibition theme that engages the public and inspires discussion.
“Since its launch in 2006, Aloft has fostered a continued dialogue between artists and the greater public with exhibitions that challenge existing practices using a combined range of media. Additionally, while the Fondation is centralised in France, it is very important for us to explore the diversity of creation internationally, and thus, Aloft is a significant part of this process,” says Catherine Tsekenis, Director of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.
The Fondation d’enterprise Hermès has long supported artists who seek to learn, perfect, transmit and celebrate creative skills that shape our lives today and in the future. The foundation not only offers residencies, but also offers nine major programmes that focus on skills; from an academy that encourages artists to discover artisan trades to photography immersions.
The foundation believes in supporting the talent of tomorrow. It also believes in sharing them with the public, which is why it hosts up to 13 exhibitions each year that are free for visitors to enter. We reveal the exhibitions that have captured the hearts of Singaporeans during the 11-year tenure of Aloft, Hermès at 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers.
Ambe, whose work can be found at the Whitney Museum of American Art, is now showing her latest project “(Un)filtered Reflections” at Aloft, Hermès at 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers, until 11 February, 2018
New York-based artist Noriko Ambe transforms books into jaw-dropping sculptures and her unique Cutting Projects can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Nissan Art Collection. Her latest exhibition, “(Un)filtered Reflections” saw Ambe inviting students from Japan and Singapore to help her realise the project.
With the aim of using their school textbooks to show how the world has put so much pressure on them, Ambe invited students from the School of the Arts (SOTA) in Singapore and Furukawa Junior High School in Osaki City to take a textbook of their choice and replace any negative connotations they might have towards it with positive ones. They then drew a line in the book to map out their future. Ambe took these unbroken lines, and after a careful study of their responses, shredded and folded each work to create a three-dimensional shape.
Over the course of the project, Ambe took on the role of listener and used each textbook as a voice for each individual. “Since 1999, I have been cutting paper and books, altering them to embody the relationship among humans, time and nature. As a book itself already contains meaning, my act of cutting is the most important part of my conceptual study… In this project, using textbooks as the key material, I focused on transforming [their] meaning in order to express the relationship between the textbooks and the individual students who use them,” says Ambe. When the public views the pieces, the artist wants people to look at the works and say, “What are they asking? Where are they headed?”
Kim used contemporary ink paintings to tackle the theme of “Reflection” for her exhibition “Oneness”, which was at Aloft at Hermès from April to July 2017
Minjung Kim’s “Oneness” brought the mountains to Singapore, inviting visitors to become one with nature. Celebrating the 2017 gallery theme of “Reflection”, Kim wanted to use contemporary ink paintings to take visitors away from their hectic, technologyfilled lives and reconnect with ancient wisdoms and teachings.
Kim creates each piece using the same Zen-like philosophy. “When I paint on mulberry hanji paper, I have to wait for the right moment to draw some lines in ink. Sometimes it takes days and weeks to find the right state of mind. Breathing needs to be absolutely under control in order for me to execute fine lines,” she explains. “I am always aware of the importance of equilibrium. You can call it Yin and Yang in traditional Asian philosophy, or just simply a balance of the opposites. Yin and Yang are void and fullness. They seem very much opposite notions but in a way they are the same. They are one notion.”
Traditional Chinese ink painting encourages the artist to open his or her mind to absorb every detail around them to achieve oneness with their surroundings. Kim embraces this philosophy in her own work. Her dynamic brushwork and undulating landscapes helped make the visitor contemplate the inconsequence of human life in this vast universe.
AGATHE DE BAILLIENCOURT
With her exhibition “Here from Here”, which ran from October 2016 to February 2017, Bailliencourt addressed the question of being present
The fast-paced world that we live in made Agathe de Bailliencourt want to encourage visitors to take life at a slower pace. “Here from Here” comprised two parts: An abstract installation and charcoal sketches. The sketches came from a residency that Bailliencourt had just completed on the Isle of Skye. While day-to-day life changed very little on the Scottish island, the clouds were constantly moving.
This ever-changing scenery captivated Bailliencourt and she decided to capture it through impromptu charcoal sketches. The sketches were the perfect visual partner for Bailliencourt’s site-specific installation: Hand-painted stones stretched out across the gallery floor to create a calming, abstract horizon made up of blue gradations that had a hypnotic effect on the viewer. It almost had a hypnotic effect on the artist too, as she admits to moving individual stones so she could achieve the result she wanted. “The real horizon is the constantly present possibility of actual change,” says Bailliencourt.
Singaporean artist Ng transformed Aloft at Hermès into a kaleidoscopic labyrinth of pastels with her exhibition “How to Disappear into a Rainbow” from May to August 2016