10 Feb - 11 April 2018Read More
17 Mar - 6 May 2018Read More
17 - 28 January 2018Read More
Interview: New Currents by Piers MastersonRead More
Cinerama: Art and the Moving Image in Southeast AsiaRead More
UNSEEN 2017 | Viewed & Reviewed
Booth reportage by Paul Carey-Kent:
"At A.I., Singaporean WeiXin Chong cleverly linked the vanitas tradition of the floral still life with the beauty industry’s contrary pretensions to counter the ageing process. The Beige Dreams series – referencing the ideal skin colour recalled from her girlhood memory of the crayon considered ‘people-coloured’ – applies make-up (in this case YSL Touche Eclat Shade 2.5) to flowers to yield a look similar to decay."
Link to article here
WeiXin CHONG. Beige Dreams -Flesh Skin Surface.4, 2017. Courtesy of artist & A.I. Gallery
A.I. is pleased to return to UNSEEN Amsterdam 2017 (22-24 Sep 2017) presenting a new body of works by artist WeiXin CHONG. On this occasion, an artist interview has been published in UNSEEN Magazine 2017. Except below:
Weixin Chong (b. 1988, Singapore) uses subtle and refined imagery to delicately commentate on the human practice of archiving and recording history. Her newest series examines our obsession with concealing the aging process, especially in women.
Q. Tell us about how you incorporate theories of archiving into your work.
A. I think we’re never fully aware of our predispositions and assumptions, and how this embedded subjectivity influences how we consider what is worth being archived. While making my plant series, Exponential Taxonomies, a lot of my research dealt with the motivations behind the construction of colonial natural history records—the drive to discover, collect, and attribute names to tropical plants and animals was a way of usurping the “exotic” as one’s own, often competitively among European colonisers.
Q. What specific materials and theories did you use to create Beige Dreams?
A. I wanted to create a clear image and record of my floral subjects, so I printed the photographs on aluminum to embody their texture, bringing out the slick fluidity and moist flesh of the plants. I like how portraiture is monumental in a specific way, like the French painter Fantin-Latour’s floral still-lifes. I also wanted to reference high-end cosmetic advertisements, which were a big influence for this series.
Q. Your final pieces are the result of a creative process that includes research and extensive personal interaction with your subjects before you photograph them. How did this process manifest itself in the creation of Beige Dreams?
A. Creating Beige Dreams was my first time working with flowers, and the work draws on the personal history of my perception of flora as symbols and visual motifs. Flowers have long been symbols associated with girls and young women, and images of or containing flowers usually represent some sort of feminine youth. Additionally, in Chinese culture, prostitutes are euphemistically referred to as “flowers,” and in the Chinese period dramas I remember watching with my grandmother, the characters who were prostitutes often had names associated with flora. Leading up to the creation of Beige Dreams, I became acutely aware of the rate and process of decay that each plant went through, and how different kinds of cosmetics masked or affected this aging. The flesh of the flowers represents our own skin in a way, since the youth of both ourselves and flowers are fetishized. With my past work, I often resisted or found ways around creating formal photographic images, instead using technology like scanners and mobile phones. This new work afforded me the opportunity to receive mentorship from photographer Julio Galeote, who helped me with making the final photographic images. This instruction and encouragement marked a turning point in my embracing the photographic medium, inspiring me to engage further with its capabilities.
Q. The title Beige Dreams is evocative and synaesthetic. Tell us about its different components and what they represent for you.
A. Using the colour beige was a reference to perceptions of skin tone and shades in the cosmetic and advertising industries that we are constantly surrounded by. Beige has always been an unsettling colour for me: I have memories from early childhood where the beige Crayon was a prized component of a colouring collection for being “people-coloured,” even in an ethnographically diverse school in Singapore. In terms of fashion, beige or “nude” colours gingerly tread between their perception as tacky or sophisticated. There’s this unspoken acceptance of beige as a symbol of the most neutral representation of a given entity. Dreams allude to desire’s aspirational components, but also to its darker undertones. Makeup and decoration both relate to a type of dream or desire that we are trying to reach.
Q. How does your work address vanitas, duplicity, and decay, and what you call “blatant superficiality”?
A. I love the chameleon potential of makeup and fashion, and how we encode ourselves through our appearance. Blatant superficiality often signals an awareness of this process, and I see it as our exercising agency and visible engagement with these cultural codes. My work captures some of that awareness, and also captures our own inevitable deterioration.
New work in Gallery VII
WeiXin CHONG's drawing titled Sleepwalk (2016, pen & ink, 20 x 25cm) is on exhibition at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition 2017 in Gallery VII. The unique work links back to her video work produced in 2010, similarly titled. To view, follow link here.
Description of the RA's Gallery VII's hang below:
In the second of the print galleries, Rebecca Salter RA surrounds us with people, animals and the places they occupy. As we investigate the works, we become tourists and voyeurs. We are drawn into the privacy of individual rooms and we surreptitiously look out through doorways or windows. In some of these works, we see tumbledown buildings and slow decay; in others we find industry, energy and new possibility – building sites, gas rigs and commuters hurrying to work. But the world we occupy is natural as well as urban. In this room, we encounter forces of nature, as well as the importance of our relationships with animals.
Link to the work online at the RA Summer Exhibition 2017 here
Feature: SARAH CHOO JING | Art of Rehearsal (13 May - 26 Nov 2017)
A.I. is pleased to announce Sarah Choo Jing (b. 1990, Singapore) will be presenting a new work titled Art of the Rehearsal in a group exhibition: Personal Structures hosted by the European Cultural Centre (organized by GAA Foundation) in the context of the 57th Venice Biennale.
Art of the Rehearsal was commissioned for the opening of the new media gallery at the National Museum of Singapore, the theme of which was traditional dance.
The work comprises a panoramic video collage and individual video portraits depicting cultural dancers from three different local troupes. A short essay by Louis Ho (curator at Singapore Art Museum) will be published to mark this exhibition supporting this new video work.
Interview plus upcoming shows in Venice & BarcelonaRead More
Singapore artists chart new waters at Venice BiennaleRead More
Singaporeans making their mark at the 2017 Venice BiennaleRead More
Channel 4 - Man Made Planet: Earth from Space
Using images of Earth taken from space across the last 45 years and stunning time-lapse sequences, astronauts reveal how humanity is transforming the world - for better and worse. In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 captured the iconic ‘Blue Marble’ - the only photograph ever taken by an astronaut of the entire Earth. Since then, NASA has taken much more.
Alongside fellow astronauts, Nicole Stott, highlights that population growth has changed the view of cities, creating mega-cities from virtually nothing: "To see these glowing cities kind of popping out at you at night is really pretty incredible. For me it opened up this whole new view of looking at places like China. "You can imagine all of these people bustling around that area, but it’s like the mute button is on. It’s a very surreal thing. It gets you thinking about what are all those people doing down there?"
For U.K. viewers, refer to the broadcast here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/man-made-planet-earth-from-space/on-demand/64826-001
View of a man-made salt pond in Australia (Photo credit: NASA/Channel 4)
Sovereign Art Prize 2017
We are pleased to share that Sarah Choo Jing's (b.1990, Singapore) recent photograph work titled 'Nowhere Near' has been nominated and is a finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Art 2017 Prize. The artist was previously a finalist for the 2014 Prize. All finalist works will be exhibited at the Christie’s Hong Kong showroom, The James Christie Room from 19 - 21 April and then at The Rotunda, Exchange Square Hong Kong, from 25 April – 4 May.
The Grand Prize winner will be announced on 28 April.
Link to the 2017 finalist shortlist here. Public nominations are also taken for the Public Prize.
This year's judging panel include: Alexandra A. Seno – Head of Development, Asia Art Archive; David Elliott – Writer, curator and museum director; Jim Supangkat – Artist, art critic and curator; Michael Snelling – Artist, writer and former Director and CEO of the National Art School, Sydney; Miao Xiaochun – Artist and Professor at The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.
About Sovereign Asian Art Prize
The Sovereign Art Foundation was founded by Yorkshire-born art collector and CEO of Sovereign Group, Howard Bilton, with the purpose of utilising art to fund and promote art programmes.
Held annually, the Sovereign Asian Art Prize invites mid-career contemporary artists, who have been nominated by our carefully selected board of art experts, to enter up to three artworks online. Entries are then judged by a small judging panel consisting of independent art experts and professionals from the region, who select the best 30 artworks from a range of digital images. These 30 pieces are then exhibited in a prominent public space in Hong Kong, where the pieces are judged a second time, in person.
Installation exhibition at Birch Aquarium in San Diego
April - December 2017
On April 7, artist Iyvone Khoo (b.1975, Singapore) unveils Infinity Cube, a new immersive installation that explores bioluminescence.
London-based artist Iyvone Khoo worked alongside Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine biologist Michael Latz whilst on a residency at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Khoo varied sound stimulation, flow visualization and macro videography to reimagine the phenomenon of bioluminescence. The project is supported by the MEAD Fellowship, University of Arts London, UK. More than six hours of footage was documented of single-celled marine organisms called dinoflagellates reacting to various stimulants, such as the human heartbeat, music, water flow, and air pressure.
Link to exhibition at Birch Aquarium, San Diego here.
Two bioluminescent video works were recently exhibited at Moving Image NY 2017, further info here.
About the artist
Khoo (b. 1975 in Singapore) lives and works in London, England. Her diverse media include glass, photography, video and bioluminescence. Often employing a spirit of investigative play, she considers how perception shapes experience, sometimes using the camera lens as a surrogate eye. “I use light as a form of painting, space as an extension to the canvas and video as a polymorphic visual tool,” Khoo explains. Khoo earned her MFA at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.
Link to press coverage on San Diego Union Tribune
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