in conjunction with the official opening of singapore chinese cultural centre (sccc), a special exhibition has been held on level 2 of the building.
the aim of this special exhibition is to bring a fresh perspectives to the way we look at singapore chinese culture.
creativity in pulses, showcasing 21 art works by 19 artists, there are new interpretations and fresh perspectives of singapore chinese culture through their lenses.
** the contents of the artworks was extracted from the booklet obtained in the exhibitioni hall
artist: ong kian peng, supported by modular unit (王建斌）
modular unit is a new media design studio that combines art, design and technology to create immersive sensory environments and new formats of visual communication. following this approach, they work across multiple platforms ranging from installations, exhibition design, web and experimental structures.
flow is a drawing machine that reframes perspectives of the chinese calligraphic brush as a drawing and mark-making medium. the process is automatci and generated from a computer which decides on a set of rules, with the visual outcome referencing traditional chinese landscape paintings, resulting in a work that continually stands at the interface of natural and artificial, tradition and modernity.
note: too bad that when i was there, the machine wasn’t on, disappointed that i didn’t manage to get to see it works.
artwork: relationship （关系）
artist: jatham koh meng kwang（许鸣光）
jatham is a photographer based in singapore, whose works focus on documentary, portraiture, and products. he has been fascinated and excited by the process of photography since childhood and finds value in the process thay coalesces into a single image. in a medium that afords endless possibilities, he believes that photography, though bearing a deceptive simplicity on the surface, should carry human depth and weight beneath.
relationship explores the idea of guanxi （关系）in chinese culture and is an inquiry into the network of dynamic internpersonal, cultural, business, familial linkages that serve as bridges between individuals. using photography to document this immense, often unseen, network, the audience is invited to explore this social network of people, objects and places, whether fleeting or ingrained in our memories.
artwork: waiting for elevator （等待电梯）
artist: sarah choo jing （朱婧）
sarah choo jing is known for her interdisciplinary approach to photography, video and installation. she is concerned with the gaze of the flaneur, voyeurism and the uncanny, and her work depicts identifiable moments and characters within contemporary urban society, suggesting private and often solitary narratives.
choo has exhibited internationally in korea, paris, london, and the usa. she clinched the gold award in the 2016 px3 prix de lar photographie, and was award first place in the 2015 moscow international foto awards.
framed within the setting of an hdb void deck, a spatial artefact which offers a slic of singapore’s cultural diversity and the necessary pedestrain interactions which accompany this cultural context. waiting for the elevator focuses on the act of watching the mundane and finding new meaning in existing environments. the work draws on normally unnoticed, trivial and repetitive actions. the audience partakes in this through the act of noticing subtleties and coincidences in these formed sequences – cruicial to the creation of a potential narrative. the attempt to make sence of a non-existent space created through the use of composites echoes the creation of newness in this accumulation of fragments over time.
*side note on the wall of the artpiece: first introduced in the 1960s by the hdb, the void deck was created as space for community interactions and social functions. today, these common spaces offer a cross section of life in our hdb estates, seeing an intermingling of cultures – from mama shops to tuition centres, from chinese funerals to malay weddings. more than ever, the void deck serves as a shared space to build community relations and foster understanding in this diverse society of ours.
artwork: sink （潮）
artist: kirsten tan （陈敬音）
a versatile filemaker with a penchant for bold visual storytelling, kirsten tan’s works straddle a range of genres but are consistent in their humanity and off-beat humour.
her works have been showcased in over 60 international file festivals. she has won best southeast-asian file, best director and special jury prize at the singapore international file festival, and became the first singapore to have her film compete at the prestigious sundance file festival 2017 where it won the special jury award for screenwriting. pop aya also picked up the big sceen award at the internatioanl file festival rotterdam 2017.
sink is a parable that charts the relationship of a man and a sink, as he passes through the seasons of his life, from childhood to old age, as all humans must, whilst the elements remain. a mysterious sink is set against the expansive ocean – creating a striking and subversive image where the surreal unseats the eternal, where innocence meets experience.
with the knowledge we hold in our hands in this current day and age, how do we see our position in relation to the larger world? how do we open up narratives and reflect on our ethnic heritage? how should we relook ourselves and our environs while acknowledging those who have gone before us?
artwork: flux （波动）
artist: ong kian peng （王建斌）
flux explores the sensory perceptions of tea – sight and smell, and a less common aspect of sound. using tea leaves as a medium, the installation generates sound waves that causes vibrations, moving the leaves, while a combination of light and reflective surfaces generates a curious visual dynamism. the propagation of sound waves, and the movements, in turn creates a flux that brings out the smell of the leaves, creating an intimate experience in this contained space – a reinterpreted teacup, if you may – in a gentle collision of tradition and modernity.
artwork: unseen: constellations （未见：星座）
artist: alecia neo （梁惠芬）
a large part of alecia’s artistic practise explores relationships between people, their context and their living spaces. her work is fuelled by the desire to connect audiences through common human experiences of alienation, belonging and the search for self. she has been developing projects with communities living with visual impairment since 2012, and is also the director of unseen art ltd, a non-profit arts company with a focus on developing art projects and experimental educational programmes with diverse communities. she is also an artist lead with brack, a trans-border arts platform for socially engaged artists.
unseen: constellations is an acknowledgement of the artisit’s upbringing in a diverse singapore environment and the exposure to various communities and lifestyles, and the possibilities afforded by our context regardless of circumstances.
unseen: constellations provides a platform for youths living with visual impairment to explore their future selves, engaging and documenting the initimate relationships between art and experience. the project explores the engagements between artist and audience, forming a symbolic constellation that harkens back to the role of astronomy in chinese commercial and civil life and also reinforces the tires that bind public and private agents in the living of lives, dreams and aspirations.
artwork: journey （旅程）
artist: lee xin li （李欣立）
lee xin li is an independent illustrator based in singapore, currently working at dp architects. an avid fan of the adventures of tintin by herge, xin li draws inspiration from discovering stories at home and abroad, with a particular focus on aspects of culture, food, architecture, social memory and history. he has worked on proejcts with muji, shell and the singapore tourism board. recent works include sayang singapura, an imaginative compilaton of illustrations of the changed and changing landscapes of singapore.
reconciling our roots and the changing landscape in an ongoing journry while growiwng up in a fast-changing singapore. journet explores the themes of memory, history, culture, architecture and identity in singapore, and intermingles and reinterpretsthese elements through the lens of pop culture and illustration.
artwork: wu ngai boh （有影无）
artist: vertical submarine （垂直潜水艇）
vertical submarine is a three-member art collective with a penchant for injecting humour into their works. their portfolio includes experiential installations, storytelling and drawings and paintings that incorporate text. the collective has exhibited in taiwan, hong kong, malaysia, spain, turkey and mexico. they have been awarded the celeste prize 2011, the credit suisse artist residency award 2009, and the president’s young talents award (singapore, 2009), amonth others.
wu ngia boh takes inspiration from the empty-fort strategy of the thirty-six stratagems – inviting viewers to let their guard down in seemingly-mundane space, taking them through a contemplative labyrinth of mirrored realities and diverse possibilities where everyday items and familiar experiences become estranged. the hokkien phrase, “wu ngia boh?” translates as “is there a shadow?” and invites the viewer to reconsider aspects of truth, materiality, and ways of looking at identity and art.
*side note on the wall of the artpiece: the thirty-six stratagems are a set of military strategies that also had applications in politics and civil interactions. though often attributed to sun tzu （孙子）, historians believe that the stratagems arose not from a single author, but are a combination of oral and written history. famously, the empty-fort strategy （空城计） employs reverse psychology to trick the enemy into believing an unsecured location is full of traps and convincing them to retreat, most memorably employed by zhuge liang （诸葛亮） in the romance of the three kindoms （三国演义）against the wei army.
artwork: 50s news-gift paper （旧报礼品纸系列）
artist: jesvin yeo （杨佩华）
jesvin teo is an educator and multidisciplinary designer who explores the nature and consequences of cultural changes, particularly that of the material culture and heritage of asia. her art and design interests are located at the confluence of culture, identity, tradition and their interface with the contemporary world. jesvin is the founder of designing culutres studio, which has been featured in publications such as wallpaper, and how magazine. she has been awarded the red dot award (communication design), german design award, and te if communication design award, amongst others.
a design that integrates the typographic elements used in 1950s chinese newspaper from singapore lends this wrapping paper its distinctive appearance. by taking a bold typographic approach to overlaying large, bright chinese words of auspicious meaning on old newspaper – like 富 for wealth, 禄 for status or 乐 for happiness – the 50s news-gift paper reflects a mixture of traditional and contemporary features, and offers a present link to the past with the headlines and news stories of the 50s forming a backdrop.
artwork: in between （弦外之音）
artist: zulkifle mahmod （祖基菲）
zulkifle mahmod is one of singapore’s leading sound-media artists and has been at the forefront of a generation of sound-media artists in singapore’s contemporary art development. zul was also the first singaporean sound artist with a sound sculpture at the 52nd venice biennale in 2007. in 2017, zul was awarded the special inaugural honorary award, the soichiro fukutake prize, for his commissioned artwork at the singapore biennale 2016.
photo credit: prestige
in between takes inspiration from the city in flux – and seeks to find a way to frame questions of identity and culture in relation to our changing physical landscape, and seeks to challenge the interface between artist, subject, artwork, and viewers. drawing influence from the aural soundscape of city life, notions of work and domesticity, and material culture, and with a percussion melody that draws reference to popular chinese tunes, the sonic experience of the percussion rhythm being struck on the copper pipes continually morphs as the user moves in the space, and invites visitors to reconsider art and art-making and how they can be employed to reframe persepctives and open new ways of seeing and hearing.
artwork: spotted nyonya （点点娘惹）
artist: hans tan （陈彦翰）
hans tan is a designer and educator based in singapore. his work is occupied with the authenticity of the contemporary design artefact as a deliberate gesticulation of material culture. he deploys design as medium, making use of utility as a pretext to comment on design and its industry as a phenomenon. with a keen interest in developing materials and processes, his work explores ideas concerning identity, heritage and consumption.
spotted nyonya is an industrial reinterpretation of nyonya porcelain vessels – traditional domestic wares native to the chinese-peranakans of southeast asia. this contemporary take on traditional objects transforms the original multi-coloured surface into a new, dotted pattern, adapting from a technique similar to resist-dyeing often applied to fabric dye patterns. the vessel is masked with a dotted motif and subsequently sandblasted so that the protected areas are preserved while the exposed sections of the original glaze are erased, revealing the white porcelain that lies beneath.
artwork: clear as day （一清二楚）
artist: karen tan 陈慧玲）
karen tan is the founder of pocket projects, a creative consultancy for niche real estate development projects, and likes to work with installation and found objects. pocket projects has a focus on urban regeneration and placemaking through adaptive reuse of the old building, and past projects include the lorong 24a shophouse series in geylang which has been awarded the ura heritage awards. she is also the founder of the projector – an independent, alternative cinema and vibrant cultural space in singapore, and the last remaining heritage cinema in the country.
an archaeological “cabinet of curiosities”, a futuristic experimental laboratory: a set of test tubes fill with multiple intricate layers of various materials, sometimes sharply separated, sometimes merging in gradations of homogeneity and integration, gathered and imagine from sources of either a chinese, a singaporean or an outsider’s context. the confusion of these fragments is a reaction to the impossibility of a clear and definite characterisation of a “singapore chinese – a rejectioin of the simplification and homogeneity of an identity. it suggests an acceptance of the ambiguity and an expectation of its continuous flux going forward as the world accelerates.
artwork: the identity gyroscope （寻根）
artist: fiona tan （陈佳玉）
fiona tan’s works straddle different scales and media, with an interest and focus on the social and political roles that architecture and design can play in shaping the world around us. informed by her professional practice as an architectural designer, central themes that run through her work include issues of identity, authority and migration, expressed through deliberate distortions of reality or uncanny juxtapositions to suggest alternative modes of living and thinking.
photo credit: prestige
the identity gyroscope is a representation of the artist’s attempt to make sense of her identity as a third-generation singaporean teochew. presented as a contraption for navigating one’s identity, the work comprisesa series of abstracted mappings and deconstructed identity signifiers in orbit around a central core. viewers are invited to uncover and make sense of the layers of information presented, perhaps navigating their own identity in the process. a 3-dimensional collage forms and shifts depending on the perspectives and positions a viewer assumes – abstracting identity as a complex construct of interpretations, narratives, and experiences, constantly in flux.
artwork: in the space between categories （分类。空间）
artist: clara yee （余欣颖）
clara is the creative director of nomadic creative house in the wild. her design practice creates and collaborates across disciplines, from fashion prints, spatial interventions to cross-country cultural adventures.
she has worked with multiple renowned clients like alexander mcqueen, the singapore tourism board, and barbican london. she has been recognised in the straits times’ 30 rising stars of singapore under 30, nuyou’s next big things list, and is an honouree in forbes asia’s inaugural 30 under 30 creatives changing the face of the arts in 2016.
as the city grows in complexity, so too does the need to grow in perceptiveness and to recognise the fundamentals of humanity. in the space between categories abstracts the popular and amorphous notion of race – a term often conflated with nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, and culture in singapore – and represents this through geometrical shapes and patterns inspired by culture and architecture. in their composition, these layers and overlaps create a space in whcih the distinction between these individual swatches begin to blur and blend, drawing out commonalities through the most basic shapes amid the mass.
artist: winnie wu （吴威）
winnie wu is the principal behind studiokaleido, a graphic design practice that has been constantly cited in blogs, magazines, print annuals and award shows as a rising star and game-changer in the industry. her experimental and bold approach to publication design, alternative branding and typography has won international praise and over 20 accolades such as the red dot design award, german if award, hong kong global design award, graphics design annual, japan typography award, and gold pin design award.
photo credit: prestige
a selection of winnie wu’s work takes cues from the dynamism and semiotics of chinese graphic culture and hanzi typographic forms presented within the confines of orderly western modernism. although graphic design is widely construed as an aesthetic veneer, she approaches it as a form of writing and means of communication between client and audience that is able to further uncover insights to a certain medium or subject matter in question. when the occasion allows her to leverage on the cross-pollination of linguistics, an ‘east meets west’ aesthetic begins to emerge.
artwork: vessels （瓶）
artist: edwin low （刘志雄）。 individual works by larry peh （白志玮）， theseus chan （陈益）
edwin low is a designer, educator and entrepreneur whose interests lie in the field of material culture and the roles that material objects play in our society. edwin is the creative mind behind supermama, a gallery shop in singapore, and has been the lead designer of several collections under its label, including singapore icons, a porcelain collection which was awarded the president’s design award in 2013. supermama works closely with local designers and traditional craft facilitites in japan to produce meaningful giftward that represents the singapore culture. using culture as a context, supermama explores the intersection of cultural artefacts, everyday objects, and the concept of basic luxury.
put together in collaboration with larry peh of & larry, vessels approaches the very traditional craft of porcelain making from a contemporary perspective. the history of porcelain dates back more than two millennia, originating in china in the domain of artisans, vessels takes this rich history and reinterprets it through the lenses of leading contemporary designers and artists in singapore, bringing together an unexpected melding of the old and the new, pushing the boundary of the motion of a traditional vase.
artist: edwin low（刘志雄）
新。山水 is a contemporary inerpretation of the traditional chinese landscape painting, where each painting provides us a glimspse into the world and perspectives of the artist in their time.
as the world progresses, perhaps a more appropriate evolution of the 山水画 is one that is based on the changing landscape which surrounds us today. using singapore architechture and its skyline as a point of reference, 新。山水 reinterprets our world through a meeting of traditional and modernity.
*side note on the wall of the artpiece: shan shui （山水）, literally “mountain-water”, is a style of chinese painting that employs the use of brush and ink (as opposed to paint) to depicting landscapes. three basic rules of composition make up a quintessential shan shui painting: first, meandering paths add depth and organicisim to the painting; second, a threshold, typically a mountain or its components, serves as a boundary; last, the heart of the paiting is the focal point towards which the lines of the painting point.
artwork: bamboo – negotiating symbols across time and place （竹筒书 – 建筑装饰与符号）
artist: jesvin yeo （杨佩华）
photo credit: ntu
in a new age of digital books, bambook offers a neat analogue take on scrolling through text with an array of 225 bamboo strips measuring a total of 4.35 metres in length. the book archives images and symbolism from three temples built in hokkien architectural style in singapore, betweem the 18th and 19th centuries. the form of the bamboo scroll evokes the cultural links to our past, and offers new generations a lost tradition in printed matter.
there are however some artworks which are not included in the booklet. and i am not able to find any information about them.
for the one below, i only managed to find out the name of the artwork is “last ones standing”, by karen tan.
while the below two artpieces, have no further information.
more readup about this exhibition:
exhibition Period: 20 may – 30 sep 2017
opening Hours: 10am – 8pm daily
venue: sccc gallery (level 2)
free admission (last admission to the gallery is half an hour before closing)