We were at the largest art exhibition in Singapore last week entitled ‘A Moving Masterpiece: The Song Dynasty as Living Art’. It was held at the Expo, taking up a whopping area of 10,000 sq metres. Exhibits include the items that were used during the era and explanations on how the people lived. The main attraction is the 128m x 6.5m animated reproduction of Qing Ming Shang He Tu (Along the River during Qingming festival), an enormous paranormic painting by Zhang Zeduan. That was what we came to look at.
Our first exhibition experience as a family turned out to be rather solitary, as they issued a tape recorder and earphones for each visitor as an aural guide to the various sections of the exhibition. I’d thought that we would walk together and ogle at the masterpiece, but in the end we walked about on our own to explore the place. ‘Own time own target’. IN FACT, almost everyone at the exhibition was walking alone. What is this?!
It was amazing how every single character was moving and interacting with the others, and the coolest part was that they even produced a ‘night-scene’ of the original painting. I’m sure the artist didn’t paint one in night mode!
In my opinion, I felt they’d overdone it with all the merchandise and ripping parts of the painting off to decorate pillow covers/pencil cases/bags/paper fans/lamps/poker cards. Yes, the painting was even printed on poker cards, and they are not cheap. The original painting might belong to public ownership, but doing all these just shows that the painting is somehow not very valuable as everyone can own a piece of it. Well that’s my opinion, and others might counter by saying that it’s a form of art and they would wish to see it on every possible accessory.
Overall, it wasn’t as enjoyable I thought it would be, and seeing all those expensive merchandise scared me off a little. It made me wonder if the masterpiece was just a tool to make money after all. You may beg to differ.
Venue: Hall 3, Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Duration: Ends Feb 6 next year; weekdays from noon to 9pm, weekends and public holidays from 9am to 9pm.