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March 18
First Major U.S. Exhibition of Ho Tzu Nyen Opens at CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art June 22
Resnicow and Associates: Juliet Sorce / Chelsea Beroza / Emilia Litwak
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Featuring A New Commission, “Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger” Examines the Singaporean Artist’s Practice over Two Decades of Exploring Southeast Asia’s Colonial Histories

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY (March 18, 2024)Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College’s (CCS Bard) Hessel Museum of Art marks the first in-depth examination of artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s multifaceted practice (b. 1976, Singapore) in the United States. Widely considered one of the most innovative artists to emerge internationally in the past 20 years, Ho creates complex and compelling video/sound installations that probe reality, history, and fiction rooted in the culture of Southeast Asia. On view June 22 through December 1, 2024, Time & the Tiger features five immersive film and multimedia installations spanning two decades that draw from historical events, documentary footage, art history, music videos, and mythical stories to investigate the construction of history, the narrative of myths, and the plurality of identities.

Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger is an essential exhibition for introducing U.S. audiences to one of the most important artists working in Asia today and expanding understanding of colonialism’s histories beyond an American context,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. “Despite having exhibited throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, including representing Singapore at the 54th Venice Biennale, Tzu remains little known in the U.S. By engaging new audiences with his work, this presentation builds on CCS Bard’s strong tradition of providing a platform for bold innovation in contemporary art-making.”

Ho works across a variety of media, including film, video, installation, painting, writing, and performance to critically examine how histories—be they state, cultural, or personal—are continually imagined, negotiated, and performed. Commenting on the cross-culturalism of Southeast Asia, Ho invokes and unravels a vast range of subjects, from pre-colonial and colonial myths, to European Renaissance paintings, to modernist narratives and geopolitics, to cinematic representations of a hybridized and unstable present.

The exhibition opens with Utama - Every Name in History is I(2003), a single-channel video exploring the “double founding” of Singapore, first in 1299 by Sang Nila Utama, said to be descended from Alexander the Great, and again in 1819 by British colonizer Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Drawing parallels between these founding narratives and other case studies, the video weaves in the stories of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Zheng He.

A centerpiece of the exhibition is the large-scale installation One or Several Tigers (2017), a signature work in Ho’s oeuvre. Blending the techniques of shadow puppetry and digital animation and, drawing on more than a decade of historical research, the work centers around a lithograph entitled Interrupted Road Surveying in Singapore (c. 1865-85) by German illustrator Heinrich Leutemann. This print depicts Irishman George Drumgoole Coleman, who is credited with designing and constructing modern-day Singapore, encountering a tiger while conducting surveying work in the jungle with a group of prisoners. In Ho’s imaginative restaging, the tiger represents the colonial imaginary, with the workers clearing the jungle to make way for what is today a hub of global capitalism and, as the artist references, a so-called “Asian Tiger” state.

Marking its U.S. debut are the new works T for Time and T for Time: Timepieces (both 2023–ongoing), co- commissioned by Singapore Art Museum and Art Sonje Center with M+, in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Sharjah Art Foundation. These video installations draw from the many traditions and histories of time and timekeeping across Asia. Representing a summation of Ho’s previous work exploring the heterogeneity of Southeast Asia, T for Time and T for Time: Timepieces reflect on our contemporary experience of time as stemming from European notions of linear progression, regulated by the Gregorian calendar and networked by computers. In it, Ho asks whether we can recover the different experiences of time that were evident in Southeast Asia before Western influence.

Other works on view include The Nameless and The Name (both 2015), which extends Ho’s inquiries into the pluralism of identities as they relate to Southeast Asia, in this case the story of the triple agent, Lai Teck, the Secretary-General of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947. The region’s histories and tropes are further explored in CDOSEA (2017–ongoing), part of a larger, ongoing project entitled The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia. In CDOSEA, Ho amasses a rolling database of sounds and images—organized around the 26 letters of the English alphabet—that, together, speak to the complexities inherent in Southeast Asia. This seemingly disparate information is processed through an algorithm in which video, music, and narration loop in endless variation, constantly reconstructing the piece anew. F for Fold (2021), an expandable dictionary created by the artist, serves as a reference for the terms described in the video.

The first major survey of Ho Tzu Nyen provides a captivating and complex picture of a region in flux, raising questions about historical processes, collective myths, and national identities.

About Ho Tzu Nyen
Ho Tzu Nyen was born in Singapore in 1976. He has had solo exhibitions at Substation Gallery, Singapore (2003); Artspace, Sydney (2011); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2015); and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2024). He also represented Singapore at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). He has participated in numerous international film festivals including the 41st Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes International Film Festival in France (2009) and Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (2012). Important group exhibitions include Singapore Biennale (2006); Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2007); Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009); Autonomous Zones, Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2013); 2 or 3 Tigers, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017); Aichi Triennale (2019); Sharjah Biennial 14, UAE (2019); Home Works 8, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2019); Nation, Narration, Narcosis: Collecting Entanglements and Embodied Histories, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2020); Schéhérazade, at Night, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020); and Thailand Biennale (2024). Ho earned a B.A. in Creative Arts from Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (2001), and an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore (2007). Ho lives and works in Singapore.

Exhibition Catalogue
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring a selection of the artist’s writings over the past two decades and essays by Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, Selene Yap, Kenneth Tay, Jang Un Kim, and Je Yun Moon, with May Adadol Ingawanij, Kathleen Ditzig, Hiroki Azuma, Lee Weng Choy, and Yoko Nose. Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger is published by Singapore Art Museum.

Exhibition Organization and Credits
Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger is organized by Singapore Art Museum and Art Sonje Center (Seoul, South Korea) in collaboration with the Hessel Museum of Art and Mudam Luxembourg—Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean. Its presentation at the Hessel Museum of Art is organized by Lauren Cornell, Chief Curator and Director of the Graduate Program and Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Exhibitions at CCS Bard and the Hessel Museum of Art are made possible with generous support from Lonti Ebers, the Marieluise Hessel Foundation, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Board of Governors of the Center for Curatorial Studies, and the Center’s Patrons, Supporters, and Friends.

*About Singapore Art Museum * Singapore Art Museum opened in 1996 as the first art museum in Singapore located in the cultural district of Singapore. Known as SAM, the museum presents contemporary art from a Southeast Asian perspective for artists, art lovers, and the art curious in multiple venues across the island, including a new venue in the historic port area of Tanjong Pagar.

The museum is building one of the world’s most important public collections of Southeast Asian contemporary art, with the aim of connecting the art and the artists to the public and future generations through exhibitions and programs. SAM is working towards a humane and sustainable future by committing to responsible practices within its processes.

To find out more, visit

About Art Sonje Center Art Sonje Center is a dynamic contemporary art museum situated in Seoul, South Korea, dedicated to showcasing the experimental artistic practices of our time. Established in 1995, ASJC provides a platform for artists whose work challenges traditional norms and pushes the limits of artistic expression. Through its thought-provoking exhibitions, public events, and learning programs, ASJC fosters critical discourse and reflection on the role of art in addressing contemporary social, cultural, and political concerns.

ASJC takes a bold approach to exhibition-making by collaborating with artists and professionals from various fields, including music, culture, architecture, dance, and fashion. Moreover, the museum is committed to supporting emerging artists, both nationally and internationally, and providing them with a platform to showcase their work to the wider art community. By promoting meaningful dialogues between artists and the public, ASJC plays a vital role in shaping the cultural landscape of our time.

To find out more, visit