Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History

Ghosts, myths, rituals, and traditions present a system of shared knowledge that enables the expression of an unspoken, muted consciousness steeped in the vernacular. Ghosts and Spectres—Shadows of History delves into these narratives, considering them from various positions: as standing for different moments in history, and as refuge for free expression and historical memory. The exhibition presents four artistic perspectives, each employing a system of metaphorical reference to explore different moments in history and to situate the present.

Works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ho Tzu Nyen, Nguyen Trinh Thi, and Park Chan-kyong offer an entry point to examine the complex web of symbols that slip in and out of everyday consciousness, tackling ideas of tradition and modernity, politics and ideologies, memory and history. Ghosts and Spectres reflects on the significance of these allegories as “cultural objects” that are embedded in cultural, social, and political histories.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970, Thailand) is recognised for his distinctive voice in contemporary cinema. His films are non-linear and often invoke personal politics and social issues. His films and installations have won him widespread international recognition and numerous awards, including the Sharjah Biennial Prize, UAE (2013) and the Cannes Palme d’Or, France (2010).

Ho Tzu Nyen (b. 1976, Singapore) makes films, videos, and theatrical performances out of historical and philosophical texts and artefacts. His work has been presented at major museums and institutions worldwide including the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao, 2015; New York, 2013), DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2015), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), and Tate Modern, London (2010). In 2011, Ho represented Singapore at the Venice Biennale.

Nguyen Trinh Thi (b. 1973, Vietnam) is a Hanoi-based moving image artist. Her diverse practice, transcending the boundaries between cinema, documentary and performance, has consistently engaged with memory and history. Her works have been shown at international festivals and art exhibitions including Jeu de Paume, Paris (2015–16); CAPC muse d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2015); the Lyon Biennale (2015); Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2015); Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (2014); and Singapore Biennale (2013). Nguyen is founder and director of Doclab, Hanoi, an independent centre for documentary and experimental films and video art.

Park Chan-kyong (b. 1965, South Korea) is a media artist, film director, and writer. His work often engages with histories and politics of representation by evoking traditional cultures and ritualistic practices. Park’s major works include Citizen’s Forest (2016), Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits (2013), the award-winning Night Fishing (2011, co-directed with Park Chan-wook), Sindoan (2008), Power Passage (2004–07), and Sets (2000). Park served as Artistic Director of SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul in 2014.

Curated by:
- Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU
- Khim Ong, Deputy Director, Exhibitions, Residencies and Public Programmes

Image credit: Park Chan-kyong, Citizen’s Forest, 2016, still from three-channel video, 26 min 6 sec. Courtesy of Art Sonje Center, Seoul, and Kukje Gallery, Seoul.