DrS Chandrasekaran

Organisation Structure

Dr S Chandrasekaran

Head, McNally School of Fine Arts
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  • DCA (Fine Arts) Curtin University of Technology, Australia
  • MA (Visual Arts), Curtin University of Technology, Australia
  • BA with Distinction (Fine Arts), Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Dr S Chandrasekaran (Chandra) is an internationally renowned performance artist who is documented in the annals of Singapore art history for his pioneering work in performance art in Singapore in the 1980s. He was Singapore’s first Young Artist Award recipient for Visual Arts. 

While having an illustrious career as an artist, Chandra is also an accomplished academic with 18 years of teaching experience in the field of arts education. He has taught drawing, painting, art photography, installation, new media, performance art, art theory, psychology of art, art history, Southeast Asian art history and aesthetics.

As a performance artist, Chandra investigates how the ‘body’ has to negotiate its presence with past narratives and how it redefines its presence as a socio-cultural being in today’s contexts. His interest lies in researching the context of Asian aesthetics in relation to contemporary art practices in Southeast Asia. 

Chandra’s doctorate from Curtin University, titled Locating Self through Performance Art, explores the cultural complexities in performance art and is a critical inquiry into Asian aesthetics in relation to the notion of body.

As Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asia, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, he initiated cross-disciplinary studies with an emphasis on Southeast Asian aesthetics. He is also founder and artistic director of Biological Arts Theatre (BAT) and founder of the Art Fission Company.

Chandra has received many significant awards – including arts scholarships, conference grants, academic scholarships and awards. He has represented Singapore in major exhibitions such as the Havana Biennial (Cuba), 1st Asia Pacific Triennial (Brisbane), Asia-Pacific Performance Art Festival (Canada) International Performance Art Festival (Poland), 49th Venice Biennale and 8th Festival of Contemporary Art (Slovena).

Chandra has been commissioned to work on public artworks, such as for the World Sculpture Park at Changchun, China and the Little India MRT, Singapore. The work titled Bioalloy and Body Performance was nominated for the APBF Signature Art Prize (Singapore) in 2003. 

Publications
  • Infinite Saree (2012).
  • Living Stories (2012).
  • Locating Self through Performance Art (LAP Lambert Academic Publishing) (2009).
  • Man and Modern Myth: A Dialogue (Yali Print Publications) (1994).
  • Striking Distance, Post Graduate Catalogue, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, (July 2010).
  • Bedlam Lull, Diploma Graduate Catalogue, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, (July 2010).

Journals

  • Innovative Thinking Through Life Sciences: Process of UnLearning, in Cross Media Arts, Social Arts and Interdisciplinarity (2018).
  • Innovative Learning in Arts Education and Community-Based Arts through Life Science in Advances in Education, vol 1, no. 2 (2015). 
  • Singapore Eye: Contemporary Singapore Art (2014).
  • Sakti Principle as Posthumanism: Real Body and UnReal Body, in Aesthetics,
  • Experimentation and Innovation in Indian Art (October 2011).
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    Conference Papers / Artist Panels

    • Panel presentation, The Future of Bharatanatyam: The Role of Technology in the Development of Dance Education, National University of Singapore; Singapore (14 October 2018).
    • Aravanis – A Living Female Avatar, Resilience in Uncertain Times, International Conference on Gender, Sexuality and Justice, Chinese Hong Kong University; Hong Kong (5–10 October 2019).
    • Panel presentation, Art and Action: Contemporary Art and Discourse in Southeast Asia, LASALLE, College of the Arts; Singapore (3– 5 December 2018).
    • The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Art Center Kobe; Kobe, Japan (1– 3 June 2018).
    • Taraiyil (Grounding-the-body), International Conference for Performing and Visual Arts, University of Malaya; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (8–12 January 2018).
    • DNA Technology – Innovative Thinking in Arts Education, Community–Based Arts and Performance Arts, 3rd Academic International Conference on Multi-Disciplinary Studies and Education, Oxford University; UK (17–19 August 2017).
    • Innovative Thinking Through Life Science, University of Evora; Portugal (24–25 June 2016).
    • Innovative Learning in Arts Education and Community-Based Arts through Life Science, SOCIO-INT15 2nd International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Humanities; Istanbul, Turkey (June 2015).
    • Revisiting Traditional Narratives Through Hybrid Aesthetics, ‘Ramayana’, ASEAN Cultural Heritage & Identities; Bangkok, Thailand (3–7 August 2015).
    • Cultural Ethnography – Understanding Local Knowledge through Akar Theory, International Conference on Local Knowledge; Bandung, Indonesia (2015).
    • Maafkan Saya. Saya Mau Salawatt (I Am Sorry, I Need to Pray), CEAD 2014: Sensual Landscapes of Ethnography, University of Waikato; New Zealand (22 November 2014).
    • Gaining New Grounds – Collaborative Possibilities for Research and Community Arts, organised by the National Arts Council; Singapore (24–25 February 2015).
    • Bioalloy and Body Performance, BEAP (Bio as Stillness) Conference; Perth, Australia (2007).
    • Ethics as Mediation Process, Shanghai IACSS conference, Center for Contemporary Culture Studies, Shanghai University; China (2007).
    • Ethics as Negotiated Order, Post Graduate Conference, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2006).
    • Many Arms, Eye–Site Conference, University of Sydney; Australia (2005). 
    • Many Arms, 3rd Asia-Pacific Arts Forum Conference; Taipei, Taiwan (2005). 
    • Many Arms, Body Politics, University of Queensland; Brisbane, Australia (2004). 
    • Many Arms, University of South Wales, Drawing Connection II; Sydney Australia (2003). 
    • Funding, Friday Event, The Substation; Singapore (2000). 
    • Body and Space, Singapore Art Museum; Singapore (1999).
    • Artists – Rewards, Excellence and Fortune, Center of Art; Singapore (1999).
    • A Red Pregnant Parasite, XIV International Congress for Aesthetics; Ljubljana, Slovena (1998).
    Awards

    Academic Scholarships Award 

    • Australian Post-graduate Scholarship, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2007).
    • Australian Post-graduate Scholarship, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2006).
    • Executive Dean’s Scholarship, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2005).
    • Australian Post-graduate Scholarship, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2004).
    • Australian Undergraduate Scholarship, Curtin University; Australia (1989).
    • Ministry of Community Development and Lee Foundation; Singapore (1989). 

     

    Honour Award

    • Young Artist Award, Singapore National Arts Council; Singapore (1993).
    • JE & Maloney Travelling/Practicum Scholarship, John Curtin Gallery; Australia (2004). 
    • Chen Chong Swee Scholarship; Singapore  (1998).

     

    Research Grant

    • Third Person, supported by LASALLE College of Arts; Singapore (2015).
    • Orang Suku Luat, supported by the Island Foundation (2015).
    • New Arts Creation Grant (National Arts Council), Infinite Saree (Life Science Theatre Project) (2012).
    • National Arts Council and University of Western Australia, Bleeding Angel, (Third Skin and Cyborgian System) (2007).
    • New Media Grant (National Arts Council), Symbiotic Residency programme, (Life Science and Sculpture) (2007).
    • Wax City, Contemporary Asian Arts Centre, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore (2003).

     

    Professional Practice Grant

    • LASALLE College of Arts; Singapore (2015).
    • Island Foundation (2015).
    • Atma Jaya University; Jakarta, Indonesia (2008).
    • Kassel (Documenta) and Venice Biennale (2007).
    • Day of Provocation Conference, Curtin University; Australia (2005).
    • Palimpsest, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2004).
    • Alchemies, Curtin University of Technology; Australia (2003).
    • Drawing Connection II, University of New South Wales; Australia (2003).
    • Asrti-Bumi, RONG, Tejakula; Bali, Indonesia (2001).
    • Construction Process; Poland (2000).
    • New Faces of Southeast Asia; Poland (1999). 
    • International Nature Art Symposium; Korea (1999).
    • XIV International Congress for Aesthetics; Ljubljana, Slovena, (1998).
    • Asia-Pacific Performances 1997; Canada (1997).
    • Sixth Havana Biennale; Cuba (1996).
    • International Nature Art Symposium; Gwangju, Seoul.
    • Baguio Art Festival; The Philippines (1993).
    • French Arts Festival; France (1993).
       
    Research and Practice

    Selected Exhibitions

    • ircle of Multiple Realities; Taipei National University of Arts; Taipei, Taiwan (2019).
    • Creaturphor; SiteEight, RMIT; Melbourne, Australia (2018).
    • Unwalked Boundaries; Singapore Art Musuem, Singapore Biennale 2016; Singapore (2016).
    • Small Ideas; Sabanci University; Istanbul (2014).
    • Bleeding Angel; Signature Art Prize, Singapore Art Museum; Singapore (2008).

     

    Artistic Research and Practice

    • Interpreting Transgendered bodies Between Narratives in South India (2014–2020).
    • Voices of Orang Suku Laut (2015–2017).
    • Infinite Saree (2011–2012).
    • 6th Finger (2005).
  • WAX CITY (2003).
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    Professional Advisory Panels

    • Scientific Committee, Board Member for Cross Media Arts, University of Evora; Portugal (2016–present).
    • Advisory Member for Little India Art Project, Singapore (2014–present).
    • Advisory Panel Member, Istana Art, Office of the President; Singapore (2015–2017).
    Current Research and Practice
    • Exploring past narratives of Indian migrants from South India in the early 1800s, and how their identities were mapped in relation to Singapore’s sociopolitical economic settings today.
    Research Interests
    • Asian aesthetics: traditional materials.
    • Life science and art: post humanist relation to third skin.
    • Experimental theatre: DNA music, DNA textile and virtual reality.
    • Cross-cultural studies: notion of body in performance art.
    • Innovation in arts education and community-based arts through life science.
    • Ethnographic through performance art.
    • Ethnographic studies: Orang Suku Luat.