The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” – Singapore Biennale 2008 #4

November 11, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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In our last installment of the Singapore Biennale series, we shall write about those work which Itchyfingers thought were worth visiting. Some of these might even made it to our list of the “Die-Die-Must-See!” if only we were to see them much earlier. There are a few venues for the exhibits and basically we visited the City Hall, South Beach Development and the free public work at Raffles City first, and only found time two weeks later to visit those at the Central Promontory Site, which I thought wasn’t very accessible. By the way, the two earlier venues we visited seemed to be not wheelchair friendly as they were built long time ago, but this open space just opposite the work-in-progress The Sail wasn’t very friendly either, especially when it rained. Nevertheless, many of the installation made good use of the space and their work were able to blend in harmoniously with the surroundings and the materials or media used were very interesting and unconventional.

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #1: Evolution Mythology by Han Jong-Gun (Installation @ City Hall)
I am sure you have heard that talking to your plants and flowers helps in their growth. This artist went one big step further by taking a year to carefully plant gourd seeds, grow and nuture them and then shaping the fruit with his hand everyday until they resemble human faces! Isn’t amazing to see growing art with life?

gourd
Instead of using a normal gourd and carved out a human face sculpture,
the artist took the harder way. The result? Art with life…

specimen
Some of the gourds were preserved in glass tube resembling specimens

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #2: Singapore by Pimkanchanapong (Installation @ City Hall)
I am sure many people had already tried using Google Earth to look for places and tried tagging some of the countries they had visited. When we first stepped into the room, I was wondering why were there stickers vandalising the floor and then realised they were actually tags on the giant Google map of Singapore. Then we were both handed a little sticker by the volunteer. Thrilled at being able to be part of the exhibit, I started to look around for the familiar landmark to put my tag on…

where
Visitors searching for landmarks and reading the many messages left
by other visitors…

tisuboy
Tisu Boy stays here….

tisugirl
And Tisu Girl lives here! Not forgetting to promote Itchyfingers at the same time…:p

It was fun looking at what people wrote and the memories they had of a certain place. Go up to the upper level where you would be able to view the whole map with a sea of sticker tags and people looking, searching as well as tagging in process.

search
The artist had provided a platform for interaction

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #3: Flight by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan (Installation @ Central Promontory Site)
Using plastic slippers perched on bamboo poles, Flight is a collaborative effort between the artists and the community. 2,000 slippers were collected from our immates here, with the help of the Yellow Ribbon Project. A note from the organisation said that the immates walked in these slippers during their rehabilitation behind prison walls, and through the display of these slippers, visitors were invited to walk alongside them on their road to successful reintegration to the society. Incidentally, the backdrop of the installation was the on-going construction site of the Integrated Resort, so the two blended well as both were on the way to taking flight….:p

flight
It wasn’t easy walking through the bamboo forest on uneven grass area,
especially after the downpour. But wasn’t that the same tough journey
ex-offenders had to face?

slippers
Taking flight…

slipper
A lone slipper that had fallen on the grass…could that be the immate
that had gone back to his old ways?

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #4: Location by Hans Op de Beeck (Installation @ Central Promontory Site)
We had to pass through a tunnel-like passage way that had bright light emitting from the other end before reaching the installation. Immediately one couldn’t help but be mesmerised by the snowy landscape. In a tropical country, this was completely unexpected so it felt very serene sitting on the equally white floor or beanbags. Too bad it was pretty stuffy inside, should had made the temperature lower to complement the sight.

snow
Picture certainly couldn’t do justice to the installation…you had to
experience it yourself!

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #5: Fantasmas by Isaac Montoya (Public Art @ Raffles City)
Actually this concept and technique is not new, and if you are in the same line as Itchyfingers, you might recall seeing a book cover designed by the very well-known Austria designer now based in NY – Stefan Sagmeister. It had a red slip case with a monotone portrait of a dog on the cover. Upon removing the slip case, you would be shocked to see the doggy turned into a fearsome monstrous one exposing all his teeth. (You will need to wait a while to see the picture change on this web page). Fantasmas employed this same photographic technique (which I do not know the origin though) of layering different images together and then subtracting the colours away with the use of colour filters. The result is powerful – with the original carnival-like smiling lady turning into pictures of sorrow and pain….

pic1
Colourful when viewed under normal condition

red
Viewed with the red filter

blue
Under the blue filter…

look
It was fun looking at people’s expression…:p

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #6: Tropicana by E Chen (Installation @ City Hall)
The artist used an unexpected medium in this installation work – the woollen yarn to knit or wove ivy growing from the ceilings, on the floor and around lamppost and scooter. I was trying to look around for the cactus as featured in the biennale official guide only to realise later that those were from his other exhibits of the same concept. The guide said that there was supposed to be some motor on the ceiling to slowly unwind the woven pieces so that the artwork would disapear slowly by the end of the exhibition. Everything seems so cheerful, childlike and colourful and that itself was enough for me. Hmmm…so what’s next? Giant cross-stitching work?

knit
I thought the yarn were mostly used in clothing or handicraft, and
din expect to see work of this scale…must have taken lotsa patience to
finish this…

knit3
The cheerful colours brightened up the cool interior

lamp
Engulfing the lamppost…

knit2
Her outfit kinda matched the woven vegetation :p I think these were
unravelled by the motor

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #7: Address by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan (Installation @ South Beach Development)
The first thing I stepped into the room was to utter, “wow, karang guni…?” The room was filled with personal belongings all stacked up neatly in cube form. Address “represents a development process spanning more than ten years since the first personal objects were collected and ‘cubed’ by Balikbayan boxes. These are boxes that many Filippino migrants use to transport personal belongings home.” It was interesting to look at the many stuff there, but I do feel sorry for the many stuff toys….hahah…

box
I dun think my whole life’s belonging matches half the quantity here…

bear
Ouchh….

help-me
Help me….

mermaid
This is cute…

r-rated
Wow, R-rated dolls…? :p

The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” #8: Raw Canvas by Jane Lee (Painting @ City Hall)
One look you would think that we have one huge raw fabric hanging on the wall next to the stairways. But look closer and one realised that these were actually constructed by paint. The cross-weaving technique certainly made the piece very cloth-like. But this Tisu Boy kept saying she was wasting precious painting material…hahah… 8)

fabric
Gigantic

paint
Crisscrossing

paint2
Another closeup

Looking at the guide I think we might have missed some of the exhibits at South Beach Development, as well as some of the free public arts around the city. Will try to visit them soon before the end of the Biennale this coming Sunday, 16 Nov. Do look out for the sign around the two buildings in case you missed some exhibits like us. 😦

sign
Follow these to avoid missing out any good work!

Itchyfingers are already looking forward to the next Singapore Biennale…:D

Also see related posts:
> The “See-Liao_Catch-No-Ball…” – Singapore Biennale 2008 #3
> The “Die-Die-Must-See!” – Singapore Biennale 2008 #2
> The “Die-Die-Must-See!” – Singapore Biennale 2008 #1

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