Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee | UNSEEN Living Room

A.i. Gallery | EGL| Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee, Palpable and enslaving .jpg

Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee will be taking part in the panel Globalised Aesthetics - Fluidity of images moderated by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (Professor of Exhibition Studies and Spatiality at University of the Arts, Helsinki) on Saturday 21 Sep 12.00-13.00.

LagosPhoto presents Globalised Aesthetics - Fluidity of images.
In the digital world conversing and corresponding aesthetics allow images to become mobile irrespective of their heritage. In this conversation, the panel questions if the art market truly embraces various tonalities, if aesthetics intersect effortlessly as it did before the internet, and if photographers can resist fashion and trends in order to work intrinsically.

Please read more about talks here.

Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee is an artist based between London and Singapore. Her work navigates the nuances and intricacies that arise out of history and memory. Meditating on fractured and lost traditions, themes of displacement and nostalgia weave in and out of her storytelling. Through visual and textual interventions, she attempts an undoing of power structures and knowledge production. By negotiating the dynamic of the ‘near’ and ‘elsewhere’, her practice works to remap a singular history, steering narratives toward alternate and fluid territories.

WeiXin Chong | UNSEEN Magazine 2017

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.  Beige Dreams -Flesh Skin Surface.3,  2017. Courtesy of artist & A.I. Gallery

WeiXin CHONG. Beige Dreams -Flesh Skin Surface.3, 2017. Courtesy of artist & A.I. Gallery

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.

Link to UNSEEN Magazine 2017

WeiXin CHONG.  Beige Dreams -Flesh Skin Surface.4,  2017. Courtesy of artist & A.I. Gallery

WeiXin CHONG. Beige Dreams -Flesh Skin Surface.4, 2017. Courtesy of artist & A.I. Gallery

Fiona Struengmann | UNSEEN Magazine


UNSEEN Magazine Issue 3: Autumn 2016 | Anthology

Excerpt from UNSEEN publication of an interview with artist Fiona Struengmann (b.1986, Germany). The artist incorporates photography and drawing into her work, finding a shared language of expression between them...


UNSEEN: You are presenting two new bodies of work at Unseen this year as part of a larger project. What are you exploring in these new works?


FS: My new series Dialogue explores human nature and the essence of communication. Our hands are the primary tool of interaction in any environment and, indeed, any language. We start to adopt and imitate gestures in our unconsciousness and unveil parts of our inside to the outside. They are a fascinating tool and a tender means of expression. Needleview on the other hand documents my natural surrounding; all captured through a tiny pinhole. A dive into a personal state of being, described in shapes, forms, light and shadow. 


UNSEEN: Tell us more about the self-made pinhole camera with which you created the images in both Needleview and Dialogue. Are you interested in the material processes of photography?


FS: I wanted to redefine photography for myself. What is it actually about? How do we see and perceive it? Instead of a camera lens I created my own aperture, which only lets light into the camera with a tiny needle-sized pinhole. It’s a variation of the camera obscura. Through the regular depth of field, the perception of near and far becomes a blurry impression, which lets you see differently and allows for an internal contemplation. It’s about a moment turning into eternity and a focus on the wordless dialogue between the picture and the spectator.


UNSEEN: You incorporate both photography and drawing in your practice and there are striking similarities between the ways you use each medium. How do you find they relate to each other?


FS: On holding my photographs in ones hand, a spectator may find them somehow more like a drawing and it is exactly this ambivalence that I like to trigger in my work. Both my photographs and drawings relate in sentiment and reductiveness. They are the only two disciplines that allow me to express the reflective, nostalgic and meditative notions I seek to convey. The works I’ve been creating drive a certain hunger for detail and at the same, act as a space to get lost in - for me and the viewer.  

Fiona STRUENGMANN.  Untitled I , 2016. Pointillism & mixed media on paper. © the artist, courtesy of A.I. 

Fiona STRUENGMANN. Untitled I, 2016. Pointillism & mixed media on paper. © the artist, courtesy of A.I. 

Fiona STRUENGMANN.  Untitled II , 2016. Pointillism & mixed media on paper. © the artist, courtesy of A.I. 

Fiona STRUENGMANN. Untitled II, 2016. Pointillism & mixed media on paper. © the artist, courtesy of A.I.