Started by the arts educators and creative practitioners Sabrina Koh and Kimberly Shen just under two years ago, the self-funded outfit dblspce exerts its independence in more ways than one. For starters, it offers a dual mentorship-meets-residency programme where artists can come in with budding ideas, and the duo helps unpack and shape these concepts over three to four weeks. Unlike most artist residencies that call for recipients to produce a minimum number of works by the end of the stint, the focus here remains on the creative process, with the artists deciding on the outcome.
Kimberly Shen (left) and Sab Koh (right) are the co-founders of dblspce.
There’s also the matter of its physical location: a cosy 322sq ft space on the second floor of Peninsula Shopping Centre. Retro strata malls have become increasingly popular among local art galleries and collectives in recent years. (The experimental I_S_L_A_N_D_S, which was first set up in the same mall in 2017 and then moved to Excelsior Shopping Centre in 2020, comes to mind. Ditto the latest edition of the Singapore International Photography Festival last September, which exhibited works in vacant units across Peace Centre.) Yet such set-ups remain a novelty and – in a city recently crowned the most expensive in the world – deepen the conversation about taking art out of the traditional white cube setting and into everyday spaces. Here, Koh and Shen tell us more.
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