Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space (still), 2010. Film
Allan Sekula: Fish Story, to be continued
3 July–27 September 2015
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Block 43 Malan Road
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday noon–7pm,
NTU CCA Singapore presents Fish Story, to be continued, bringing together for the first time in Southeast Asia an important body of works by the late eminent American artist and photographer, theorist and photography historian, Allan Sekula. The exhibition will juxtapose three chapters from his ambitious project, Fish Story (1988–93) alongside video essay, Lottery of the Sea (2006) and his last film, The Forgotten Space (2010) co-directed with American film theorist Nöel Burch. These core works of Sekula’s research on the maritime world underlines his sustained argument that the sea is the “forgotten space” of the contemporary global economy.
The key project, Fish Story, was created over a five-year period and considers global maritime trade as an integral part of capitalist market forces. Blurring the boundaries between academic essay, photography and socio-historical research, the exhibition Fish Story is structured in nine chapters, three of which are presented at NTU CCA Singapore. The opening chapter, Fish Story (Chapter 1), depicts travels from distant ports, focusing largely on the busy and abandoned harbour areas of California. Middle Passage (Chapter 3) charts the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific maritime space, in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Walking on Water (Chapter 9) closes the series and consists of slide shows produced in Warsaw during Poland’s establishment of the first post-communist government.
The video essay, Lottery of the Sea is a geopolitical investigation of the contemporary maritime life. Structured in three movements that unfold as a voyage crossing Japan, Panama, and Spain, the title takes reference from pioneering political economist Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations (1776), which compared the risky life of the seafarer to gambling. A critical examination of global capitalism, The Forgotten Space profiles the supporting figures of the global economy: truck drivers in Los Angeles, factory workers in China, and Filipino migrant workers. Both films are conceived as extensions of a wider research on the ocean and global maritime trade to which Sekula has committed during the last 20 years of his artistic practice.
Through its presentation in Singapore and engagement with the maritime histories of Southeast Asia, Fish Story, to be continued hopes to reflect on the history of Singapore whose port activities contributed vastly to her economical growth—an added chapter and continuation of Sekula’s important artistic research whose geographical expansion is open-ended.
Fish Story, to be continued will include works from the collections of Fond Regional d’art contemporain Bretagne, Rennes, France; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; and Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA 21), Vienna. The exhibition will be complemented by different events and interventions in The Lab and a film programme in The Single Screen. Fish Story, to be continued is situated under NTU CCA Singapore’s narrative of PLACE.LABOUR.CAPITAL. that draws from transdisciplinary research addressing the complexities of a world in flux and the network of connections that such underlying elements define at both local and global scale.
Curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, and Anca Rujoiu, Curator, Exhibitions
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, opened in October 2013, is a national research centre of Nanyang Technological University, developed with support from the Economic Development Board, Singapore. Located in Gillman Barracks alongside a cluster of international galleries, NTU CCA Singapore operates as a local hub with an international perspective. The NTU CCA Singapore embraces academic and scholarly research with contemporary art as knowledge production in its own right, taking a holistic approach towards art and culture by intertwining its three platforms: exhibitions, residencies, and research & education.