Bouquet of Disappointment (2021)
Metallic polyurethane vinyl, polyester stuffing, grosgrain straps
Part of designer and artist Samuel Xun’s Fembuoyant! collection, this work attempts to work through his personal feelings about non-normative experience in Singapore. The amalgamation of soft sculpture and fashion-derived sensibilities is owed to Euro-American lineages of camp and kitsch, and its relation to formulations of queer identity. Inspired by a canon of camp films such as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), Pink Flamingoes (1972) and Paris is Burning (1990), and informed by the writings of Eng-Beng Lim and Audrey Yue, the piece deploys the aesthetics of camp and kitsch to suggest how non-heteronormative experience in Singapore may be coded in the visual register - through textures and colours, as well as titular and other visual cues. It has been crafted in modular fashion, leaving room for reinterpretation and recontextualisation. In this current iteration, the piece is suspended upside down and supplemented with a contrasting floor demarcation; it is to be interpreted openly, with its title serving as a direction for thought.
Cunt Be Bothered (2021)
Quilted and ruffled pieces, synthetic metallic lamé, synthetic tinsel knit, Swarovski crystal embellishments, polyster wadding
This abstractly-shaped piece is a visual representation of the artist’s personal dating history. As a series of modular quilts, the pieces are strung together to form a sculptural tapestry of sorts, each representing a past encounter. The texture of the soft sculpture takes reference from films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blonds (1953) and Gone with the Wind (1939), in which hedonism is used as a coping mechanism for failure in romance. The quilts are individualistic in character, with the scale and extravagance of each drawing ironic parallels to the quality of the person they represent. Xun likens the curatorial proposition here - the end of the world - to the demise of a relationship or dating situation, which would prompt a period of questioning and self-doubt in him. As he puts it: “My reaction each time would be to dissect my dating history in the form of a wall-of-shame quilt, to say that these people, represented by each individual quilt, have wasted my time. I guess the choice of materials have always been a way to mask these insecurities with something campy and beautiful.”