The “Die-Die-Must-See”! – Singapore Biennale 2008 #1

October 29, 2008 at 12:16 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers visited the Singapore Biennale 2008 three weeks back (wow now then post! heee…very busy…). Among the many work exhibited, there were some which really left a deep impression on us for its creativity, beauty, element of surprise and interactivity; some were interesting and unusual; and some really left you wondering what the h*ll were they trying to do…Itchyfingers shall start with what we thought were really the “Die-die-must-see” pieces.

The “Die-Die-Must-See” #1: Hair Salon by Leandro Erlich (Installation @ South Beach Development)
This installation easily topped Itchyfingers‘ list of “Die-die-must-see”. When we first saw the salon from outside, we weren’t even impressed by it cos it looked just like any ordinary neighbourhood hair salon. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go in and was a bit puzzled why the two visitors inside seemed to be having fun taking pictures, until Tisu Boy took a glance at the rationale and said the artist did something to the mirror. Curious, we stepped into the salon.

Nothing special leh, we thought, just a retro looking salon. The room had the typical two-rows-of-mirrors-facing-each-wall setup. But on second look….something was not right!


The reflection in the mirror was not the same girl!

It was only now that we realised that the “mirrors” on the walls were not real mirrors! I stick out my hand to confirm it…So, only the opposite wall had real mirror, and the reflections we saw actually came from the real mirrors in the other identical room next door! This was really totally unexpected!


See! No reflection on this “mirror”!


The artist had painstakingly created a mirror image of all the item
found in the salon, including clock, hair products and magazines that
had flipped wordings.

We had fun trying to spot any loopholes in the salon, but everything seemed to be perfectly reflected, just like mirror images. I couldn’t help but check out the magazine to see if the artist had mirrored even the inside pages…(so itchyfingers!) but immediately realised that I shouldn’t be touching the ‘exhbits” when the sharp-eyed volunteer quickly came to me. Opps! Sorry sorry! 😛 Ya, he did mirror the inside pages, well, not sure if it was the whole book though…not enough time to check out…hahaha…:D

When we were inside, all visitors were amazed and amused by the discovery. This was indeed a clever way to create an element of surprise especially outta something so ordinary, posing an interesting question about reality and illusion. I think even the volunteer had a lot of fun observing the facial expression of visitors! Well, the exhibit wouldn’t be a success without the volunteers patiently realigning everything after every visitors’ touching them!

The “Die-Die-Must-See” #2: Blackfield by Zadok Ben-David (Installation @ City Hall)
Thousands of small, wrispy plants etched out of metal grow out of a ground of white sand. The intricately etched out sea of dark plants were simply beautiful.


It reminded me of life in a desert…

I wished I had a pair of binoculars to zoom into every single plant to admire them…walking around the white sandy ground, with a change of perspectively, one would be pleasantly surprised…


Cheerful and brightly coloured on the reverse side!

It had this mesmerizing effect that made visitors wanting to view them from all angles…up close and personal…


…on all fours…


Even on all five!

When your work had such effect on people, you know you had succeeded! 😀 So Blackfield certainly deserved to be number two on our “Die-die-must-see” list!


A closeup

The “Die-Die-Must-See” #3: Serigala Militia by Tromarama (Video and Installation @ City Hall)
Itchyfingers dun normally have the patience for video installation as you have to wait for the clip to finish before you can watch it from the beginning, and most of the time, they dun make any sense to us..:p But for this piece, we watched it three times! Why leh?


The room had a normal video projection in the centre. Both sides
of the wall had a stretch of woodcut artwork on them.


Looking at them again, you would realise that these were actually
storyboard of the music video playing on the screen.

What impressed Itchyfingers was these storyboards were actually individually cut from plywood. The artists of a group of tightly knit young people from different design background, incorporated the traditional woodprint technique to create this set of storyboard: applying a layer of black ink on the plywood; cutting out the details; shoot a picture and continue cutting out more details and shooting another picture. Each picture would then become a single frame for the music video, thus creating a certain stop-motion animated raw effect, which complemented the heavy metal music video quite well.


Having tried woodblock printing in school, I know this piece of work
is really time consuming! Great effort!


A closeup of a frame

The “Die-Die-Must-See” #4: Maggots by Pham Ngoc Duong (Installation @ City Hall)

The first exhibit that welcomed visitors must be the huge maggots crawling on the staircase to the red carpet.


So cute!

These playful looking maggots were what the artists wanted to show when one looked under a microscope.”The presence of maggots signals the rotting of the host’s body – a metaphor for corruption within a system”, was what the official guidebook says. Wow, I din share the same feeling as the artist, but I had the feeling of being shrunk down to miniature Itchyfingers walking side by side the maggots…if only the artist were to go one step further and make giant furnitures around to show how life as a maggots really is…that would be more interesting…:p The number of maggots could be trippled to add on to the impact…hee….just a little thought…:p Nevertheless, I still like Maggots.


Invasion of maggots

I think another exhibits that deserved to be on Itchyfingers‘ “Die-die-must-see” list should go to the South Beach Development Building itself! We shall show you why in the next post… 8)

Also see related posts:
> Money No Enough Too
> Death of Friendship

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