The Artistic Connection
CapitaLand links people who work and live in its buildings with the beauty of Art
Issue: Nov 2011
The sleek-looking CapitaLand Art Collection Showcase was designed to bring Art closer to staff and help them appreciate the art pieces acquired by CapitaLand
There is simply no mystery in appreciating Art as Mr Liew Mun Leong, CapitaLand Group President and CEO, shares candidly at the launch of the CapitaLand Art Collection Showcase last month. He thinks that Art can be very incidental and he does not believe in going to a school to understand it.
The CapitaLand Art Collection Showcase, an online gallery that is hosted on CapitaLand's intranet, provides a platform for employees to view the highlights of CapitaLand Group's current art collection, which comprises calligraphy, sculpture, painting, pottery, collage, limited edition print and drawings. The current CapitaLand Art Collection consists of 161 pieces by 74 artists, of which 35 are Singapore artists and 10 of them are Cultural Medallion recipients. This Showcase highlights 50 art pieces within this Art Collection, along with details about individual art piece, artist, type of art work as well as its current location. This is one of the ways in which CapitaLand aims to create value in the work lives of its employees – by encouraging appreciation of art and beauty in their original form.
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Interesting facts on the works, artists, placement location and even medium of art are aimed at fuelling appreciation and interests among CapitaLand staff
Mr Liew sharing with staff interesting anecdotes behind art pieces and highlighting that anyone can appreciate art
Connecting People with Art
Besides encouraging its employees to appreciate Art, CapitaLand also wants to connect those who live and work in its properties with the beauty of paintings and sculptures. And this mission is evidently led and championed by none other than the leader of the CapitaLand Group.
"In my work, I enjoy two things very much: One is architecture design; and the second is this (acquisition of art pieces). We believe that by incorporating good art pieces into our homes, shopping malls, office and serviced residences, we can enhance the quality of our properties," said Mr Liew.
That is why when you step into any CapitaLand property, you may notice the presence of tastefully selected art pieces. For instance, a Man on the Bench sculpture by Kurt Laurenz Metzler sits next to the driveway at Capital Tower while Big Dreams No. 4, a stainless steel sculpture of a rotund figurine mid-flight, buoyed by tiny wings and ideals by Gao Xiaowu (see Living Out Big Dreams), greets the visitors at the building entrance. Art pieces can also be found in selected CapitaLand commercial buildings and Ascott properties.
Keeping a Lookout for Art Anytime, Anywhere
Due to Mr Liew's passion for Art, the number of art pieces collected by CapitaLand is constantly growing. His passion does not dwindle even when he travels for work. In fact, he keeps a lookout for interesting artworks when he is abroad. And because of this, many friendships and opportunities have sprouted. He became good friends with some artists and even visited their homes.
Swiss artist Kurt Laurenz Metzler's "Urban People" at ION Orchard is a sure-fire way to brighten any shopper's day
He recalled an encounter during a trip to Milan. "When I stepped out of the train station, I was very captivated by this artist's sculptures of ‘Urban People'. The figurines of different professions in a myriad of colors were spread all over a bazaar," Mr Liew recounted.
Enthralled, he tried all means to hunt down the artist. Eventually, a chance meeting with an acquaintance on a flight put him in contact with the Swiss artist, Kurt Laurenz Metzler and Mr Liew commissioned him to produce the bright, life-sized human figurines on the steps of ION Orchard today.
Making the Connection, Building the Collection
Building the collection and documenting it was no easy feat. CapitaLand Art Curator Wong Hooe Wai, shared interesting accounts of the initial challenges of documenting the collection as the art pieces were scattered all over different locations. He had embarked on this with Co-Curator Poon Hin Kong and members of the CapitaLand Art Committee.
"We started to document the collection about four years ago and there were a lot of riddles to solve," Wong said. Achieving a complete listing was not an easy feat, especially when the artist or title, or even both, were unknown for many of the pieces.
"In the end, we managed to compile everything and also came up with the CapitaLand Art Management Guidelines. With the help of our IT department, we then developed a CapitaLand Art Collection database and know exactly how many pieces we have today and where they are," Wong shared proudly.
Going forward, the group will continue its collection with emphasis on acquiring sculptures on the theme of people.
CapitaLand Art Curator Wong Hooe Wai shares his experience on documenting the CapitaLand Art Collection
Creating Avenues for Greater Appreciation
The CapitaLand Art Collection Showcase was well-received by staff who attended the launch.
"It is very insightful because now there is an anecdotal understanding to its origins rather than a superficial appreciation," said Joanna Lee, Senior Executive of Corporate Communications.
Management Executive Jack Ren shared, "It's an eye-opener for me to know that we have so many paintings and sculptures in CapitaLand. Mr Liew's stories are very inspiring, and I will definitely go online to view the showcase."
Indeed, art is for everyone. What's more, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life," so said the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.
And certainly the online Art Collection Showcase is one great way CapitaLand is using to help its employees to appreciate Art and in turn, it hopes this will add to their work and personal life.