Sadly, Singapore’s old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station closed down last year and train travel from the station has ceased. Departing trains now leave from the north side of Singapore. One benefit of the station’s closure is that the abandoned rail corridor that runs north-south across the island will hopefully be revitalized into green space for walking, biking and regenerating wildlife (more on that in the future).
The station, built in 1932, has been temporarily re-opened (through this weekend) to host a small art exhibit by Hermès and artist Hilton McConnico called The Gift of Time. Having recently been given the gift of time myself, I walked over to check it out and to finally get a look inside the old station. The exhibit is housed in an enclosed structure in the concourse. There are reminders of time and the old days of train travel all around.
One of the first parts of the exhibit is a small room covered with short messages about life, feelings, thought and time like, “Feel the sun on your face and know the only time is now.” Another one says, “Silence after the vacuum cleaner has stopped.” Funny, I think we all know what that sounds like and how that feels: aaaaahhhh.
One of the next rooms holds an Alice in Wonderlandish timepiece, magically suspended and rotating on a mirror surrounded by Hermès porcelain and crystal place settings.
In another room, an Hermès Birkin bag is displayed alongside whimsical leather creations — a parrot in a cage and a feline face made of leather swatches on a set of double doors to the next room. Some of the equestrian products made by Hermès are also on display (notably the Talaris leather saddle, disassembled and suspended from the ceiling), and the horse is a common symbol throughout the exhibit.
The room with the tree in the middle was my favorite — branches and leaves illuminated in vibrant blues and greens on the ceiling against fiery red walls and flooring, with a tortoise and a seesaw too.
This stunning piece of art was used to advertise the event and is displayed at the beginning and end of the exhibit, mounted away from the wall with lighting behind. Like a sundial and zodiac compass combined, a light rotates around it casting shadows of the Hermès horse (centered and perpendicular) across the face.
Outside next to the train tracks, a few booths and tables await so you can sip a cold beverage or try a Popaganda popsicle while you take in the ambiance of the station. Plain Cafe (a Duxton neighborhood favorite) has a counter with food, bevs and magazines artfully put together. Stop by for a quizzical afternoon in Singapore.