Biennale @ Kallang – Singapore Biennale 2011 #2

April 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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In Itchyfingers’ posts on the last Singapore Biennale in 2008, we categorised and highlighted some of the works which we thought were either beautiful, interesting or thought-provoking. We also expressed our dismay at some of the less than satisfactory pieces which we felt either made no sense (at least to us!) or looked as if little effort was spent on the thought process or execution. There were a couple of works which won our thumbs up, earning them the “Die-Die-Must-See” award. But this year, we couldn’t find any piece (at least at the Kallang Airport) that impresses us enough to be worthy of the “Die-Die-Must-See” honour…hahah…Fortunately, there are still some gems…

The “Golden Fingers” Award – Michael Lee, “Office Orchitect”
This is a series of architectural models of a fictitous architect called K S Wong (if you are Singaporean, you will know what does “K S” mean..hahah). No doubt the intricate models were laser-cut by machines, by the final setup has to be done by hand…which was quite impressive.

There was also a biography of this fictional architect on the wall…one would
think that the architect really exist until he reads this

This model of the “Terrace House” has openings where you can see
these interesting layers inside…

This is called “Sponge Block Square Plaza”

Closeup of “Syonan Fukusou Koujou”. Experiments with thousands of
toothpicks as well as on-site observations of the Eiffel Tower led to this
design, which was initially called “My Lavatory”

Missed out the name of this piece, but I find the little houses on the free
flowing organic shape interesting

The “Man Vs Wild” Award – Jill Magid,”A Reasonable Man in a Box”

I was curious when I saw these words on the wall at the door

The moment we stepped into the room, we were taken by surprise by a
shadow of a monstrous scorpion that popped out! It then crawled and
displayed its pincers and massive stinger

I was curious what was the idea behind the huge insect…but hor, after
reading this…do you know what the h*ll the artist was trying to say? 😮

In any case, Itchyfingers just found the projection on the wall interesting and fun…couldn’t help but tried to do a Bear Grylls stunt… 😀

Man Vs Wild! Battle between Tisu Girl and the formidable Scorpion! Hahaha!

The “Best Sound Effect” Award – Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, “Frequency and Volume”
At one of the blocks next to the terminal building, Itchyfingers entered a dark empty room. There was nothing in the room except a row of tables with some machines on them. Initially we had thought it must be another one of those abstract installation so we just wanted to give it a miss and proceed to the next room. But just as we walked across the room, a loud sound scared the h*ll outta me and at the same time, our shadows were projected on the wall…

Tisu Boy’s shadow being cast on the wall…with some high pitch radio tuning

At the same time, the computer screen showed Tisu Boy in line form..

The artist uses “the shadows of visitors to tune into different radio frequencies, translating human bodies into antennae and providing a constantly shifting visual and sonic rendering of Singapore’s radio spectrum”. Quite interesting, combining art and technology…

The Giant and the Dwarf…Itchyfingers had fun running around the gallery,
triggering different radio frequencies before other visitors joined in. It was
fun to see them also being shocked by the loud noise…

The “Best Transformation” Award – Charles Lim, “All Lines Flow Out”
From far they look like two gigantic drumsticks. But go closer and you realised that they were made with dried leaves that the artist collected via our drain system.

Transformation from leaves to drumsticks…hahah…

A plastic ball among the leaves…who threw it in our canal??!?!

The “Most Patriotic” Award

The artist made hundreds of sketches on our local architecture…some of
them may no longer be around anymore…Can you recognise any of these?

The “Almost-Can-Make-It” Award – Gosia Wlodarczak
The artist calls her work “frost drawing” – “freezing specific moments into lines that coexist and interact with the constantly shifting world outside.”

“The lines are endlessly active and fertile, creating dense webs made up of
fragmets of images and objects, faces and text”  Look carefully and you
may discover many interesting shapes and objects…

Looking at the lines against the blue sky

I thought it would be better if the lines were to invade the ceiling, walls
and the floor to better utilise the space…but I guess the artist was running
outta time…hahah

There were others which caught Itchyfingers‘ attention but we couldn’t find a suitable award for them…hahah…

The “German Barn” by Elmgreen and Dragset in the old hangar of Kallang
Airport. The barn represents a rural lifestyle and form of labour that is
fast disappearing

The moving image of the sea was mirrored on the four sides within this
box…and we wondered where the projection came from…

So it was a LCD tv screen that was installed as the base!

Two floors of exhibition spaces were dedicated to works of students from
primary and secondary schools. Some were interesting, but as it was so
stuffy at the Kallang Airport venue, we didn’t spend too much time looking
at all of them…

This particular one from a primary school kid caught our eyes…My goodness..
at such young age, he is already faced with such tough life choice! 😮

Perhaps it is better not to worry so much…Er, that’s about all there is
for this exhibit…

Coincidentally, found this row of smiley faces on the gate…wonder if
they were original from the time when the airport was functioning or
added on later when the building was used as the Peoples’ Association

There were also some work which really made Itchyfingers scratch our head until they bleed once again and still dun understand what was the artist trying to do…Here are just some of them…

The “Best Vent-Your-Anger” Award – Mike Nelson
When you are angry, you need an avenue to vent your pent-up frustration. What better ways to do it than to vent it on some discarded boxes?

A mutated box…

One is not enough…you will need a whole room of them to calm those
angry nerves…Careful of those fingers!

What to do about these boxes after the show?

Reuse as lucky draw boxes…! Er, but there is a hole at the side…hahah

The “Super Waste Paper” Award
First impression counts. To make an impact and create a lasting impression for visitors, it is good to have a big piece of work on display. However, the first thing that welcomed visitors at the Kallang Airport was these gigantic rolls and rolls of papers wrapped in wire gauze left standing around the room. At the side was a fake printing machine…well…what can I say…? It did leave a lasting impression…one that means “waste of paper”.

Nice meh?

The “Like-that-Also-Can” Award – Nedko Solakov
If we have not heard of this ‘work’ from the friendly staff at the Japan Creative Centre (JCC) when we visited Singa-Planet early in the morning, Itchyfingers might, like many others, just missed this. As the artist is terrified of flying, he cannot come over to execute his idea. So he got another Singapore artist to fly to him to discuss his idea and help him to execute it. It sounds so bizarre that someone else can do you job for you…how is the person gonna replicate your style?

The same stairs that led us to the “Forbidden Spiral Staircase”. I started to
look out for the artwork…

Then I saw these ugly scribbling on the wall…I knew I was supposed to
look for some “big words” according to the friendly staff at JCC…but this…?
They looked more like vandalism…Obviously there is no ‘style’ to replicate…

Then we were supposed to look for some tiny words…which I finally found…but I was really not too sure if these were indeed the “artwork”…

I really thought these were the works of some pranksters…

Until I saw these that I confirmed this is indeed the “artwork”…

Really…like that also can? Well, at least it gave me this picture which I
kinda like. The guy taking photo of his girlfriend was the same couple who
climbed up the Forbidden Spiral Staircase…You are not supposed to venture
out of here too…naughty…tsk tsk tsk…

The “Like-that-Also-Can” + “Super Waste Paper” Award
Something as lame as putting a few cans of paint + photocopying a whole stack of paper can be called art certainly deserves a double award from Itchyfingers

A whole stack of paper wasted…oh wait, maybe Itchyfingers missed the
point… The real “art” piece is actually the piece of stone!?! 😀

The “Super Hairy” Award – Sheela Gowda, “Behold”
From the “Best Sound Effect” room, pass a black curtained door and you see these black rope-like thing on the floor and hanging from the ceiling. It reminded us of Tropicana by E Chen from the last Biennale. But this one looked so dirty, dark and gloomy, and the room (or was it the black velvet curtain) smelled musky, that Itchyfingers felt like committing suicide with those black ropes hanging from the ceiling…hahah…. 😀

It was only when I read online that I realised that these arepainstakingly
woven from short lengths of human hair to become a four kilometre-long
rope holding aloft steel car bumpers in a precarious pas de deux, inverting
the conventional casting of the human body to its metal machine cohort.”
What the…?? Four kilometre-long of hair? A bit gross right?

The “What-the-H*ll-is-This” Award – Ceal Floyer, “Overhead Projection”
An absolutely cannot-make-it piece – a light bulb being projected on the wall with an overhead projector! There were two doors to this ‘exhibit’ and while Itchyfingers had our fingers still fixed on the door handle with our faces contorted in disbelief, the other door was opened by another Causasian visitor. He merely popped in his head and also showed a “what-the-h*ll-is-this” expression before popping his head out.

Waste of electricity to turn on the projector to show this lightbulb. I dunu
about you, but having just returned from another overseas trip visiting
many wonderful world-class museums, Itchyfingers simply cannot
appreciate this sort of ‘art’…

These are just some of the works that Itchyfingers share here…we may not have understood the concept or rationale behind all the works to fully appreciate them. There are many others that we might miss as the venue was really a bit hot and stuffy to stay longer, unless the work is particularly interesting. Do drop by the Kallang Airport and judge it for yourself! Admission at the Kallang Airport exhibition is free.

After scratching heads till it bled, pondering the rationales behind the many
work here, it’s time for a wash! Hahaha… 😀

Also see related posts:
> Taking off at Kallang – Singapore Biennale 2011 #1
The “Why-Din-I-Think-About-It?” – Singapore Biennale 2008 #4
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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