Tomio Koyama Singapore Closes With Ian Woo Solo Show
By Marybeth Stock
After just three years in Singapore, Tomio Koyama Gallery mounted its final exhibition at Gillman Barracks. The gallery is one of five others bidding farewell to the Litte Red Dot’s unique but struggling arts cluster. The problems at Gillman Barracks, like all growing pains, have been mixed: low visitor numbers; awkward location; ambivalent public response; a dearth of nearby eateries; a lack of weather-protective walkways . . . the list goes on. Gillman has made real efforts to address these concerns, by fine-tuning its infrastructure and organizing special arts events. Essentially, though, poor sales are the culprit here. It has been suggested that the fact that most of the departing galleries feature innovative or emerging contemporary Asian and Southeast Asian artists may have been challenging for the small pool of cautious local collectors, who prefer familiar names, entrenched reputations and impressive price tags. This is particularly regrettable, given that for the past three years, the departing galleries—and those who are remaining—have been energetically fulfilling Gillman’s objectives to introduce a compelling array of global and regional talent to the local art scene, and to contribute to Singapore’s ambition to become the region’s premier arts and cultural center.