Earth Work 1979 is a re-staging of Tang Da Wu’s seminal show Earth Work, presented in 1980 at the National Museum Art Gallery (NMAG). It revisits a key moment in local exhibition history, and explores the turn towards conceptual art in Singapore.
The earliest recorded example of land art in Singapore, this series was created in 1979 when Tang discovered a field north of Ang Mo Kio that had just been cleared for redevelopment. He spent months observing the textures and colours of the earth, the impact of the sun and rain, and the marks that were left behind. These natural elements became key factors in creating artworks that reflected the impact of Singapore’s rapid development on the environment.
Held in the concourse gallery of National Gallery Singapore, Earth Work 1979 is the first time that these important works have been on public display since 1980. It also includes archival photos that have never been shown before.
We were tasked to handle the branding, spatial design, as well as the build of the exhibition. As the name suggests, earth works are works created through the moving or processing parts of the earth’s surface involving quantities of soil or unformed rock. The earth is almost scared, a heavy infinite mass. In the design of the space, we wanted to respect the absolute nature of earth by creating structure yet gentleness at the same time. The zoning design uses the long hanging curtains artworks to create tension and frames the other works within the space. The natural colour palette reflects the organic nature of the artworks, yet at the same time not overpowering them. In conjunction with the launch, a special publication was also designed featuring essays, conversations, and archival images related to this series.
In collaboration with Superfat Designs.