July 18, 2011


I usually don't remember much of my weekend because I'm usually concussed on my bed from the work week, but this weekend was slightly different (and excessively active, mostly because I was working 3pm-late Friday-Sunday)- and I attended PLACE, an art exhibition held by some old RJ art students.

I REALLY enjoyed myself, and I'm not saying this just because I know that Yongfeng, one of the artists featured in PLACE, reads this blog. I was really blown away by the quality of the work and the thoughtfulness with which they engaged the theme-

"PLACE brings together a group of friends on the cusp of adulthood in an attempt to recreate and relive collective art-making. The project is an examination not only of overlapping physical, mental, and emotional spaces, but also the complex geographical, personal, and artistic spaces that have developed since they last worked together. PLACE becomes more than just where their bodies are; it is where their minds choose to wander, the distances their relationships can cross, and even the sharing of a virtual platform for the exchange of ideas. The exhibition is as much about remembrance as it is about discovery. It is as much about the process as it is about the product, and the knowledge that art is as much about getting there as it is about being there. It represents the struggle to find their Place as artists and individuals, and the reminder that this Place can only truly exist in a state of flux."

This resonated in me, a lot, especially coming back after over a year abroad. The places, the people, it's changed (or maybe I've changed)- the places that I long for no longer exist even though I can remember them in my bones. It's been 7 years since we sold my grandparents' old home, but I sometimes still take tours of it in my head- there's the little den where my grandfather used to nap in the afternoons, there's the little window-way where my grandmother used to stand to call to us for dinner, outside, there's the papaya tree we planted together when it was so hot out, and I whined. And I think that there's a lot of the nostalgia, and a playfulness about engaging with the audience, that lies within the exhibition.

These are some images of the works-in-progress of the ones that I enjoyed the most:

My friend Yongfeng is one of the most talented people I know. The completed piece is actually quite different from this image, but still in this multi-layered, quiet blue. I think the piece is very much like Yongfeng, actually. He layered a photograph of present-day Marshall Road over several other maps, other images, and then hand-drew people, lines, and signs, and it was like some treasure hunt to identify all the little hidden signs and people.

Berny's work is absolutely gorgeous in person. It is 2 large panels of tracing paper hung in front of 2 windows, and the work changes as the light shifts. She stabbed (sorry, no better word) little holes in the tracing paper and used a variety of printing techniques to create this textured, ephemeral piece that just completely elevates its original inspiration of peeling paint.

Teng Yen Lin's paper sculpture frames the entrance when you first step into the space, and I immediately loved it because it is a collection of browned paper strung up and left falling. And then Yongfeng pointed out the teensy people, ladders, and objects that she cut out from the pages and I seriously fell hard. It is whimsical and playful and interesting, which are the same qualities present in the books I love, so really, I feel a little obvious listing this piece as one of my favourites.

I also really enjoyed Queenie's digital art portraits along the staircase, and Zixin's soundscape in the cupboard under the stairs- it was all extremely interesting comparing their H2 art project work (which I saw 3 years ago in RJ) to their current PLACE project.

Their posters are some of the most innovative and creative that I've seen in a while-

It's also near Katong laksa and some seriously good Peranakan food, so it's definitely worth a trip down!

All images from the PLACE Art Show website.

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