• Course 13: Every Artist is an Archivist? Let’s Make an Art Archive!
Course 13: Every Artist is an Archivist? Let’s Make an Art Archive!
Course 13: Every Artist is an Archivist? Let’s Make an Art Archive!
by Koh Nguang How
16 – 21 August, 2019

Course Description
Based on working in the National Museum of Singapore in the late 1980s, Koh encountered many artists who were also “collectors” and “archivists” of art ephemera. Artists also have large volume of their own art works, personal records and items related to their practice or interests. However, not every artist would have a place in the history of their own countries or national collections. In reality, many artists do not care very much to be part of the official art histories or collections but most of them do. However, many artists and their family members waited too late to organise their “collections”, some of the knowledges were lost when the collectors (artists) and inheritors left us without making the materials with better or proper identification.

The Singapore Art Archive Project (SAAP) created by Singaporean artist and former museum worker to deal with the lack of a proper art archive in Singapore. It started at his living apartments in the early 1980s and took on the current name in 2005 and exhibited widely locally and abroad as an on-going art work (installation). The SAAP also served the needs of people searching for reference materials when it is not on tour or exhibitions.

For the Summer School as School programme, a workshop on creating our own art archive to be carried out using the Singapore Art Archive Project as a case study. Participants can compare established archiving practices and principles with possible non-archivist approaches and solutions to make their own art archives. One possible project for the workshop is to create an art archive on modern and contemporary art in Kosovo.

Koh Nguang How was born in Singapore, in 1963. He worked with the National Museum Art Gallery as curatorial assistant from Oct 1985 to Jan 1992, which provided him with a learning environment about the art world. His artistic practice started in 1988 and encompasses photography, collage, installation, performance, documentation, archiving and curating.
He is associated with the art collective The Artists Village since its inception in late 1988, where he also documented many of its artists and activities.
He started to exhibit art archives from 1992 in “Performance Week” at Gallery 21, Singapore; next in 2004 in “ERRATA: Page 71, Plate 47. Image caption. Change Year: 1950 to Year: 1959; Reported September 2004 by Koh Nguang How” at p-10, Singapore.
He initiated his “Singapore Art Archive Project” (SAAP) in 2005; subsequently presented various thematic works and exhibitions under the SAAP. He presented 30 years of newspaper cuttings in a work “Artists in the News” during the 3rd Singapore Biennale in 2011. He created four exhibitions under the project “Singapore Art Archive Project @ Centre for Contemporary Art” during his residency at the inaugural NTU CCA Residencies at Gillman Barracks in 2014/2015. He presented “Singapore Art Archive Project” in the Inaugural International Exchange Program, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, S. Korea, in 2015/2016. He presented the “TAV Archives” in “SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now” at the National Art Center, Tokyo and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in 2017.


He held his first solo exhibition of photographic works in “Art Places”, at the Jendela Visual Arts Space, Esplanade, Singapore, in 2015.

10 participants will be selected to participate in this course. Eligible participants must read the Terms, fill out the application form, upload the required documents and submit the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Scholarships are available for participants from Kosovo.
A limited number of scholarships, that cover the participation fee, are available for international participants.