For the first time in Singapore, for S$15 one can see 21 paintings from masters such as Modigliani, Van Dyck and Monet. This is the Pinacotheque effect!
Shortly after signing a deal with the National Parks Board of Singapore to turn Fort Canning into the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris, the French institution opened a temporary exhibition to introduce its philosophy to the local audience.
Is the private museum not close to the Curiosities’ Cabinet? It first emerged during the Renaissance and later was given the name of “Chamber of Wonders” when it dealt essentially with works of art. It finally disappeared forever in the 19th century. The museum then replaced the Curiosities’ Cabinet as an official institution.
The idea today is to renew with everything the museum has lost of its essence and its meaning. Hence the name of the museum you are visiting today: La Pinacothèque de Paris. Etymologically “pinacothèque” means “box of paintings”. That word thus emphasizes intimacy and secrecy.
So I decided to go and see for myself as I was visiting Singapore. Fort Canning is located half-way between City Hall and Clarke Quay; it’s a bit of hike but the park is beautiful and so peaceful yet in the heart of the city.
The building housing the future museum used to be the barracks of the British Army; it has a nice simple colonial style, which suits well an art museum.
Inside the building, the current exhibition is very small but the treatment of the room is high quality and gives a good feel for what the future museum will be like.
The curator, Marc Restellini, chose to exhibit 21 paintings from very different periods. They all work well together and the few people there with me enjoyed the close encounter with painting masters, sometimes going back to the same piece to look at a detail or an explanation they had missed before.