Talk 3.4.2014: Kong Yen Lin, Tropical Heatwave – The Rise of Conceptual Photography in Singapore and Southeast Asia

Yrjönkatu 8–10 (courtyard), 00120 Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 612 33 44,


Talk “Tropical Heatwave: The Rise of Conceptual Photography in Singapore and Southeast Asia” Thursday 3 April 2014, 5–6.30 pm

Singapore. An accidental nation. A miniscule island swathed in tropical jungles transformed into an urban city state within four decades. The same can be said for its practice of conceptual photography. Who were the pioneers? What were the precedents? A history-in-making, these are questions yet to be answered.

What is certain now is how the medium has picked up rapidly within the past five to eight years to assert itself as a powerful form of artistic expression in Singapore. The recent boom in home grown festivals, exhibitions, awards, self published photo books – driven by global influences and trends- is testament that photography’s popularity is white hot.

Beyond its shores, Singapore is also gradually reprising its historical role as a trading port between the East and West, to serve as the contemporary confluence of new currents in Southeast Asian photography.

This session is an introduction to the conceptual photography landscape in Singapore, its latest developments, key artists and institutions involved, as well as a selection of works from around the region. It will also touch upon the Singapore International Photography Festival, a biennale photography showcase of international bodies of works, coming up this October.

Kong Yen Lin is an art writer and photo curator.  She was trained in documentary photography, having specialized in photojournalism at university and working as a photo sub-editor for Reuters news agency for close to four years. These days, she is involved mostly in the conceptual genre. She was the Education and Outreach Programme Manager of the 2012 and 2014 Singapore International Photography Festival and has participated as a guest curator in Brighton Photo Fringe’s Open 2011. The photo book “The Epiphany of States”, which she contributed a foreword and essay for, was selected in 2012’s Photobook Show, exhibiting in Brighton and Helsinki. She is currently in Finland for a month-long artist residency.

The talk is in English, welcome!

Picture 007(Ang Song Nian, Sidewalk Easement)