Saturday, 24 May 2008

Orchard Follies

Sculpture - Paragon Shopping Centre

One noticeable development in the last twenty years has been the proliferation of public art works throughout Singapore.

The has been a very pleasant change and speaks volumes about the maturity of this modern city and the growth of its cultural-civic mix.

It would be fair to say that from the perspective of quality the public works are a mixed bag.

In the main though it has been a pleasure to reflect on the endeavours of local artists and the work of commissioned sculptors from further afield.

That is, it was, until the upgrading of Orchard Road commenced a couple of months ago.

I am all in favour of this upgrading as Singapore's main shopping thoroughfare has been facing increased competition from the malls like Suntec and Vivo City.

However it is becoming clear that in the masterplan, some very crass decisions have been made by those responsibile for this enhancement project and this is very much regretted.

Take for example the sculptural group pictured above. The integrity of this work has been completely destroyed by the developer's decision to box in the head section of the work, within the new overhanging Paragon Mall frontage.

Quite apart from what the artist must be feeling, surely someone within the Ministry of Information, Community and the Arts should be guiding this decision-making?

It would have been far better to relocate the sculpture than decapitate it in this fashion and visitors to Singapore will not be favourally impressed by such acts. I hope this is an isolated incident and not the forerunner of things to come?

Given that Singapore has some excellent artists and generous patrons, they deserve better. Mall developers should be given firm and non negotiable guidelines in such matters.


beAr said...

erm... i don't think the false ceiling is permanent. it's prob there to enable construction of the paragon extension...

Jolly Roger said...

I certainly hope you are correct and this is a temporary situation.
I have to say the Paragon structure has an air of permanence about it?