Tadao Ando on Your Wall
Singapore, Lithographs at Art Gallery –
Expensive – but you can buy original LITHOGRAPHS AND PRINTS created by the famous Japanese architect at ODE TO ART SINGAPORE CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY. Or just look at them for some inspiration
If you’re an architecture geek, you may want to fill your home with artwork from legend Tadao Ando (born1941). The Japanese self-taught architect was once a lorry driver and a boxer in his younger days, and took night classes in drawing. He went on to become one of the world’s most respected architects, renowned for his modernist structures in concrete. They balance the bulky boldness of concrete with the ethereal softness of light as seen in Row House, or the otherworldly Church of the Light. He is the 1995 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, the oscars of the architecture profession.
In 1984, Ando published his first lithograph printing of his architectural masterpieces in ink and colour pencil. In 1998, he made his representative work, “Tadao Ando Prints 1998” that consisted of 10 prints. You can see a number of these original lithographs and prints at Ode to Art gallery in Singapore and make a purchase. The price range for the Church of Light (86.5 × 147 × 4.5cm), which is part of a limited edition set, is US$2500 to $5000.
Ode to Art gallery at Raffles City was founded in 2004 by Jazz Chong, who believes that it is important for customers to know the artist in order to be in love with a work of art. For Jazz, the artist selection process is multi-layered. With a focus on the artists, she seeks to understand the artist’s journey and body of work, as well as the story and sentiment behind the pieces.
Not sure how to proceed with purchasing your dream Tadao Ando piece, or what to do with it in your home? Ode to Art gallery also provides personalised art consultancy services. This is important as the artwork curation reflects the personality of a space, and the owner.
My favourite Ando quotes
I am interested in things happening around me, and I need to understand what’s going on in other artistic sectors like music and literature.”
We borrow from nature the space upon which we build.”
A chat with:
Ode to Art Gallery founder and owner
As you offer a personalised art consultancy service, how do you marry the ideal artwork with the right person as curation reflects the personality of a space, and its owner?
We have been helping many international developers, hotels, show-flats, corporate offices, as well as architects and interior designers. To many of them, art needs to fit their corporate culture. I need to understand the message they want to convey to their clients or how they wish to represent their brand. So whether I am proposing one piece of art or sculpture in the centre reception of an office, or art consultancy and art collection for an entire hotel, the personal storytelling is very important.
In the context of a personalised service to a home owner, the most important thing is to get to know my client. I ask about their taste, the artists they like, their budget, and their idea of the perfect collection. The space matters, of course, but it’s not the most important factor to me – I’m here to help them build a collection that resists the tests of time, or moving to a new place, a strong collection that can stand alone and that they will be proud of.
Some people build a collection to pass on to their children, some may want to collect strong pieces to give their interior more personality, so it is my role to understand their needs and to adapt. The client is always at the heart of the process. Choosing art is a very personal endeavour, and it is a privilege to be able to help a family or a couple with something so intimate. I find that establishing a personal connection with my clients really helps. Over the years, some of my clients have become close friends.
What should Singapore, Singapore art students and Singapore artists do to put Singapore on a higher level of recognition and respect in global art?
The Singapore art scene has evolved a lot in the last 10 years, thanks to our government support to the National Gallery, and to the organization of international art fairs. Inviting international artists like Yayoi Kusama in 2017 helps make Singapore vibrant and places us on the map.
I would encourage art students and artists to travel and see more, and to get involved in international art exchanges, residences, competitions. A lot of art platforms exist in the region, and they represent fantastic opportunities for our artists to showcase their works throughout Asia. We are lucky to be at the heart of a big art market, and Singapore artists have the potential to reach a much larger audience than they currently do.
We also need to foster art education in children even more. I left most of my maths theories behind when I left school, but enjoyment of art, the sense of appreciating an aesthetic, that stays with you for the rest of your life. It is crucial that kids are exposed to art from a very young age, to learn to appreciate visual arts, music, theater, cinema, and to be inspired by the great melting pot of cultures that Singapore is blessed with.
And last but not least, we should not forget to support our current Singaporean and Singapore-based artists!
What food do you crave after a hard day at work?
I enjoy many different foods, but to me, there is nothing quite like coming home to a home-cooked meal. I am blessed with a husband who is a fantastic cook, even though it is not his profession. He is an architect, and his cooking is a form of art, everything is special, up to the presentation.
To my husband, cooking is a science. We have commercial utensils at home for him to prepare his famous roast duck. Many of our friends love his local delights, like his Hokkien mee, or crab noodles. He has even been featured in The Straits Times and Business Times with a full page about his passion for cooking!
But besides the wonderful taste and presentation, there is a sense of care and homeliness in his cooking that I can never find at any restaurant.
Architect, Edmund Ng Architects, Jazz’ husband
Which Tadao Ando lithograph at Ode to Art do you like most and why?
I would have to say Tadao Ando’s Church of The Light. The work has a fundamental simplicity yet it manages to be highly evocative, which I feel clearly demonstrates how Ando skillfully utilizes the natural resources of light to define and create new spatial perceptions. The minimalist style of the work greatly appeals to me as it lacks any additional ornamentation not included in the construction process, highlighting the significance places on the materials used. Although the space is devoid of the traditional Christian motifs besides the extruded cross, to me this design evokes notions of purity that are prevalent to Christianity, creating visual poetry that I find personally to be very moving.
As an architect you have designed modernist homes with off-form concrete features. Does Tadao Ando and other Japanese architects influence elements of your work?
Ando is definitely one of my influences. His work inspires me through its focus on simplicity and functionality over decoration. Although his style is minimalistic, his architecture is meant to be lived in and felt, and the strong Zen influence creates a sense of peace and spirituality, that I too feel homes should have as a place of respite. I also appreciate Ando’s masterful use of materials to achieve this, and the way in which he manages to evoke a feeling of weightlessness with his designs, despite often using heavy materials such as concrete. This is an aspect that definitely influences my own work, and which I try to achieve through my designs.
You’re an avid cook and foodie. If Tadao Ando dropped by your home for dinner, what would you cook for him? Could you share some of the wine or drink would you serve?
Good question! I would probably have to say mee siam. Much like his own designs, I feel that Mee Siam is an iconic local dish that is simple and uncomplicated, yet it is ultimately delicious. It focuses more on the taste and the emotions it evokes rather than aesthetics. The dish can also be shared in a communal manner, creating meaning that extends beyond itself.”
Story by Carol Kraal. Photographs courtesy of Ode to Art Contemporary Art Gallery