SINGAPORE - My first encounter with Singapore was somehow a mixture of hope and disaster. More than 15 years ago I took part in a big international sculpture competition, for the front of the five towers in Suntec City. I received a letter with good news and bad news. The good news was that I won the competition unanimously out of 1,300 applicants! The bad news was that the new site owner was not interested in art, and therefore the project had been cancelled.
3 years later, I was rushed to Singapore as they changed their mind.
The tropical island looked like paradise, a mixture of old and new, exotic buildings mixed with pagodas, colonial and western architecture, great cuisine, friendly and hospitable people. A month after I resumed my work, a huge crash hit the stock exchange in the far east and the project was buried forever.
One would think that this was a bad sign, the reality turned out to be different. Over the past years I returned to Singapore many times. I had a few exhibitions including the national art museum and the first international Biennale. Three large sculptures are now permanently sited in the city, including Chinatown and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens, site of the .
In recent years my art activities in the Far East have been expanding rapidly, especially in China and Korea. Last year I had been approached by Sotheby's to stage the . The location is the world famous Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was a great honor and very challenging. Together with the curator , we selected the pieces for the show. In total 17 sculptures – figures, trees flowers and butterflies. Twelve will be new pieces. I started working on them last November in a metal factory in Viana do Castelo in Portugal, a place where I have produced my Cor-ten steel sculptures for the past 8 years.