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Art Encounters #01
Lionel Sabatté: Concrete Contemplations from the Past in the City of Tomorrow
12 January – 2 February 2020, In front of Ngee Ann City


Launched during Singapore Art Week 2020, Art Encounters is a presentation series capturing the art- making process within three 20ft repurposed shipping containers. Functioning as a mobile studio, gallery and public engagement space, the containers will move to unique sites every few months. Every rotation of Art Encounters will uncover new opportunities for integrating art into aspects of local life.


At each site, an artist will be commissioned to create artwork inside the containers, allowing full visibility into the fascinating art-making process. Visitors may engage in conversation with the artist to learn about their inspiration, techniques, and perspectives. The completed artwork will remain on display for a few months, enriched by dialogues and responses from the community around the art site and from the general public.

Featuring diverse artists and mediums across drawing, painting, sculpture and digital installations, Art Encounters offers rare insight into the chapter of creativity that is often concealed in traditional exhibitions, thus bringing the public closer to art. It is conceived to extend robust visual art programming to the public throughout the year and beyond Singapore’s art precincts, creating space for encounters with art in daily life and unexpected sites.

Art Encounters is presented by Art Outreach Singapore, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board.

The inaugural Art Encounters programme was presented as part of Singapore Art Week 2020 and situated in the heart of Orchard Road featuring renowned French contemporary artist Lionel Sabatté creating a trio of sculptures live between 12-16 January 2020. Lionel Sabatté (b. 1975, Toulouse, France) is a multi-disciplinary artist who practices in drawing, painting and sculpture. Since graduating from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2003, he has received several artistic prizes such as the Beijing Yishu 8 Prize in 2011, the Drawing Now Prize in 2017 and the Les Amis de la Maison Rouge - Fondation Antoine de Galbert Award in 2018. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in France and abroad, incorporating several institutional collections. 

As an artist, Sabatté is intrigued by our relationship with the living world, and the transformation of matter through time. For several years now, the artist has undertaken a process of collecting materials often discarded by society that nonetheless preserve traces of our living experience including dust, ashes, charcoal, dead skin and tree stumps. He unexpectedly combines these materials to create delicate and poetic beings. Some of his most iconic works include a group of large goats made entirely of Pu’er tea in Beijing, and a pack of wolves made of dust for the National History Museum in Paris, which has become an emblematic work for questions related to environmental issues.

In June 2019, Sabatté was invited to live and work inside Bédeilhac, a UNESCO-protected cave in France which contains exquisite examples of Palaeolithic painting and sculpture. Responding to the rich history of his surroundings, Sabatté sculpted several human figures and a single goat out of concrete, echoing the forms that were made by hands over 20,000 years ago that represent the ongoing relationship between humans and animals. Continuing this project for Art Encounters in Singapore, Sabatté crafted a family of three prehistoric goats in concrete, bringing an element of the past to a city that to him “represents the future”. Concrete as a material used in construction, played an important role in the development of human civilisation. To Sabatté, concrete perfectly encapsulates the concept of always being “under construction”, as it has remained in use for thousands of years, connecting the sculptures both to the ever progressing present, and humankind’s storied past.
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