Behind the Scenes at Gillman Barracks: Meet Josef Ng

By Singapore Arts Club

Feb 10th, 2017 11:30 AM

Josef Ng | Managing Director – Asia, Pearl Lam Galleries

“Since December 2015, I have been the Managing Director for Asia for Pearl Lam Galleries, working alongside Gallery Founder Pearl Lam to develop key frameworks of the galleries, including curatorial and programming, business development, and marketing, across the four major exhibition spaces in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai. After the past decade of being based and involved in the Chinese Art scene in China (and some parts of it in HK), I have returned and set foot back in Singapore to continue to facilitate the ecosystem of gallery work, which has entailed much of my art journey since moving to China from Bangkok, Thailand.

The 17 years in my art industry career has been filled with diverse curatorial projects, publishing essays and critiques, as well as art advisory and consultancy projects with various agencies, individual and institutions – I couldn’t be more fortunate to have laid my curiosities and experiences within Asia for its vast and richness of modern and contemporary art development and production. This is not to say that the road hasn’t been arduous: friends and enemies come and go, genres and trends disappear and re-appear, artists and cultural workers alive and dead - I have faced and confronted them all. As much as the density of visual art has been expanding unprecedentedly since the millennium, gaining much momentum in the past decade, I still constantly remind myself that each of us are just one red dot in the collectiveness of the art scene coming together, be it partaking in the market as an industry or perpetuating the discourse as a community; at the end of the day, there is no finer time to be a shrewd lover of art. Afterall, life depends hugely on it.

Having undertaken a role as a curator-gallerist more so than being a dealer-gallerist, I hope to serve better in the articulation of the presentation and execution of artists and their works through thoughtful exhibitions and projects. As much as artists depend on a good gallery system to support and navigate their ideas and concepts, galleries also have to challenge artists to bind together, not just to organize exhibitions for promotional purposes, but because together we are providing a platform for HISTORY in the making. I believe knowledge must be shared amongst the public so that values can be evaluated despite the notion that art is and should remain subjective and free for all.

Finally, having more time here in Singapore and Southeast Asia, it is very exciting for me to discover newness and re-discover the hidden in the region again. Most importantly, to re-connect once more the here and now of art-making, and the ideologies of the past concocting into the future. We need more arrivals in the visual art to be brutally honest and incisively vocal. For me, I am just glad to be back alive and kicking."


Portrait shot by Natsuko Teruya
Makeup by Kelvin Khoo