Dress/Address: Queer Show 2021
20 October–01 December 2021
Curated by Jason Wee
That’s the Last Time I’m Watering Your Flowers (2021)
Everything Reminds Me of Him (2021)
Review by Weiqi Yap for Fashion & Market:
At Grey Projects’ 2021 Queer Exhibition, ‘Dress/Address’, clothes provide this way in. From its title, the show posits clothing as “the externalisation of an internally coherent self”. This exhibition does away with the fantasy-laden conjectures Porter speaks of when we see clothes as fashion; and instead as material artefacts of our lived experiences.
‘That’s the Last Time I’m Watering Your Flowers’ and ‘Everything Reminds Me of Him’, are the first two-dimensional works in his practice. Xun’s works in this show are a departure from his “soft sculpture installations” and plush, maximalist wearables per his graduate collection, ‘FEMBUOYANT!’. But they still feel true to Xun’s oeuvre—glitter ribbon is meticulously ruffled and spun into graphic shapes reminiscent of op art. Hung on the wall facing each other, the two pieces are placed in knowing conversation with each other with their tongue-in-cheek titles. Though technically unwearable, there is a wry self-awareness to the textile-based work that knows they may come across as ornamental or decorative—but these pieces continue to demand attention, even on a wall. It would be interesting to contemplate how Xun situates these ‘unwearable’ works against his wearable body of work, given his frequent explorations of Singaporean queer identity through overtly camp garments.
only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world)
07 August–29 August 2021
Curated by Louis Ho
Bouquet of Disappointment (2021)
Cunt Be Bothered (2021)
Excerpt by Louis Ho:
‘only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world)’ is a project with a central proposition: if our world were to come to a screeching halt tomorrow, what would we be left with?
Bouquet of Disappointment attempts to work through Xun’s 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.
This abstractly-shaped piece, titled Cunt Be Bothered, is a visual representation of the artist’s personal dating history. As a series of modular quilts, the piece 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.