3rd Singapore International Photography Festival

Singapore Sling

SATURDAY SEES THE LAUNCH of the 3rd Singapore International Photography Festival and this year’s looks to be a fine blend of strong and intoxicating with just a hint of frothy.

Founded by gallerist Gwen Lee and photographer Sherman Ong in 2008, the festival is built around a competitive submission process, which is adjudicated by three guest curators. This year they are the veteran Spanish curator and festival director Alejandro Castellote; Patricia Levasseur de la Motte, formerly at the Singapore Art Museum but now running The Philanthropic Museum, an on-line database project dedicated to photography and new media art; and Zeng Han from China who started out in photojournalism and is now an award-winning exhibition and festival curator.

Together the trio have selected 414 works by 50 photographers from 26 countries to be presented across five venues in the city. Among them is the work by Fernando Montiel Klint, whose series ‘Actos de Fe’ recently showcased at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in CDC’s exhibition “Ouroboros: a Mexican cycle”.

THIS KALEIDOSCOPE OF IMAGERY is complemented by two invited projects which each, in their own way, consider the intersection of photography with our sense of the past. ‘Silvermine’ is an exhibition of some 300 images printed from anonymous eighties snap-shot negatives rescued by Thomas Sauvin from a recycling plant in Beijing. Like witnesses on protection scheme, they are wrested from the narrative in which they were made and given a new identity as they mutate from the specific to general and, in the process, become art.

WANG QUIN SONG HAS EARNED international recognition for his reinterpretation of traditional Chinese handscrolls using contemporary models and contexts. In ‘The History of Monuments’, the second of SIPF’s invited projects, he has created an epic 42 metre mural involving over 200 models who depict his version of the history of humankind.

The exhibitions are supported by a range of events and projects aimed at various niches within the festival’s overall audience. From workshops, mentoring and portfolio reviews for serious professionals to talks by artist and curators aimed at a wider audience and programs for student groups. The once-great Magnum makes an appearance, as it does at so many festivals these days. Is Magnum adding kudos to these events or are the festivals offering a last haven to the failing agency?

This looks to be a rich and well-balanced festival, with plenty to see and do, but not so much as to overwhelm the visitor. Time to look and reflect… and perhaps slip into Raffles for that cocktail.

The Singapore International Photography Festival runs from 5 October to 17 November 2012. For information on this year’s event visit the SIPF’s well-designed website here.


Images (from the top):
An exhibit from the Open call Showcase
© Thomas Sauvin from ‘Silvermine’
© Wang Quinsong detail from ‘The History of Monuments’


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  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.
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