State of Play
20 August–12 September 2022
Richard Koh Fine Arts
Curated by Richard Koh Fine Arts
You’re Spiralling Again (2022)
You’re Repeating the Same Mistakes (2022)
You’re Bending to His Will (2022)
Excerpt from Eugenia Tan:
In State of Play (2022), seven artists invite us into their pursuit of alternate creative zones traversing play, catharsis and myth. Showcasing works by Ash Ghazali, Hu Qiren, Mengju Lin, Faris Nakamura, Ivan David Ng, Melissa Tan and Samuel Xun in varying mediums, the exhibition conveys their respective visual languages in the common denominator of play in art.
The subject of ‘play’ for artists requires extensive navigation. The current open call for Singapore Art Week 2023 is in fact, responding to the theme of Play. What are the grounds of play, or the playgrounds for artists? What are aspects of a state of play which apply to creatives then and now?
The humbling element of a playground is its pre-ordained status as a fun zone, an active, mobile site for bodies and minds to roam. This same need for fun activity is crucial in an artistic process. In State of Play (2022), seven artists invite us into their pursuit of alternate creative zones traversing play, catharsis and myth.
A decision of freedom is usually brought about by a prior bout of suppression, even to the extent of alienation. To demonstrate how the artists’ works respond with being deemed free, we can first contrast it with how it may feel to be artistically suppressed.
Xun’s wall-mounted installations You’re Bending to His Will, You’re Repeating the Same Mistakes and You’re Spiralling Again are rooted in themes exploring therapy for self. Xun chimes off consistent, deprecating and disillusioned reminders for preservation and rationalised behaviour, questioning the motivations behind alluded self-improvement. The works expand on the artist’s prior series of a similar intimate premise, with a fixation on chalking down rhetoric thought processes. In the ardour of expectations and creative tasks, Xun has found ways to bend the humdrum of medium and identity into a call for catharsis.
The World is Flat After All
16 July–27 August 2022
The Supper House
Curated by Ashley Chiam
Psycho Ornamental Ideal Boyfriend I (2022)
Old Habits Cry Hard (2022)
Review by Usha Chandradas for Plural Mag:
The exhibition considers the notion of flatness and ties it into that famous bit of historical fake news that the “world is flat.” The show’s title The World Is Flat After All immediately evokes the very real contemporary concerns about the spreading of misinformation and the sinister pervasiveness of data mining in this (sometimes rather terrifying) digital age.
The World Is Flat After All is a coming together of friends, art, fashion and fun — no more and no less. It’s inspiring on many levels — showing that one can find beauty and connectedness in all kinds of different art forms and that art can truly be found everywhere, not just in the closed-off homes of chi-chi collectors and cold institutional museums. While the exhibition may not necessarily be ‘high art’ in the traditional or more conventional sense of the phrase, it’s a great example of how wonderful things can happen when friends and creatives come together spontaneously in unusual spaces.
I’m Exhausted, Where is He?
02 April–24 April 2022
Art Agenda S.E.A.
Psycho Ornamental Ideal Boyfriend I (2022)
Psycho Ornamental Ideal Boyfriend II (2022)
Old Habits Cry Hard (2022)
That’s the Last Time I’m Watering Your Flowers (2021)
Everything Reminds Me of Him (2021)
I Hate You THVIS Much (2021)
Maybe That’s What It’s Supposed to Feel Like (2021)
Review by Nicole Wong for Art & Market:
I’m Exhausted, Where is He? is a glorious explosion of meticulously balanced abstraction, ribbons, and glitter. It is immediately evident that Xun’s works play with ideas of campness. For the unacquainted, and against the contrary instructions from Susan Sontag to avoid defining it, camp is a sensibility that gravitates towards artifice and drama. Camp also began as a kind of unspoken code within communities that shared those same sensibilities.
Each of Xun’s pieces sport an aesthetic extravagance that leans into the exaggerated femininity, customary of drag culture. On first sight, the flamboyance of his works appear at odds with the emotional tenderness of their titles. For example, in That’s the Last Time I’m Watering Your Flowers, Xun’s flowers bloom in gold glitter and a technicolor palette of green, orange and purple. Instead of emphasising finality and loss, the visual electricity of the work gives the effect of a sly grin or a hair toss, as though reminding this nameless ex-lover, “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”
Through his work, Xun transfigures the rawness of his emotions and experiences into self-contained, decorative abstractions. In works such as Psycho Ornamental Ideal Boyfriend II and Maybe That’s What It’s Supposed to Feel Like, Xun blatantly gestures towards a romantic ideal while emphasising the artifice of these aspirations through his use of lush materials as well as mod-inspired geometric lines and shapes that contribute to the visual drama.
Every heartbreak is uniquely personal. Despite the many ways we can share them as stories of humour, grief, or at times, growth, each romantic entanglement and dissolution is individually experienced, even for those on either end of the break. To experience ‘I’m Exhausted, Where is He?’ is to be constantly aware of this distance while also relishing in the brief moments of community that come from commiserating over yet another bad date or sharing a wink over an inside joke.
Veneer & Visage
12 February–06 March 2022
The Supper House
Curated by Weiqin Chay
Maybe, Just Maybe (2022)
Excerpt from Weiqin Chay, and review by Weiqi Yap for Fashion & Market:
“Veneer & Visage” delves into the ways identities are projected when (un)covering the facade of one’s appearance. In attempting to peel away these layers on the surface, we explore how the veneer as an in-between space filters, obfuscates, and reshapes how one is perceived.
Featured exhibits include fashion, textile composition, sculpture, and digital painting by six multidisciplinary Singaporean artists who tap on their personal narratives to create artworks that reimagine the ‘face’. The works are aptly situated in the beautiful interior of the design house, Supper House which aims to be a point of congregation for diverse creative fields.
Veneer and Visage is an art and fashion exhibition staged at Supper House, an interdisciplinary space for creatives nestled in an industrial building on Tagore Lane in Singapore. Curated by Weiqin Chay, the exhibition seeks to explore “the ways identities are projected when (un)covering the facade of one’s appearance.” The exhibition’s premise is a topical one, as masking and concealing one’s face continues to be a mandatory safety measure in many places around the world. It is not uncommon for fashion exhibitions to respond to cultural events—galleries and museums have long drawn on historical events as points of curatorial germination. Most recently, the ICOM Costume Committee unveiled ‘Clothing the Pandemic’, a virtual exhibition of Covid-19 face masks curated by museums worldwide, including masks from the collections of Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum.
It’s my party, I’ll cry if I want to, you’ll cry too if it happened to you
12 January–06 February 2022
Curated by Louis Ho
BRB, Powdering My Nose (2022)
Excerpt from Louis Ho:
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, you would cry too if it happened to you" is a project about unhappiness, or more specifically, affirmative unhappiness.
The collaboration between The Projector, Singapore’s foremost independent cinema theatre, and curator Louis Ho, is comprised of an exhibition of site-specific works located in The Projector’s Golden Mile space and a retrospective of Indonesian filmmaker, Kamila Andini. Works in the exhibition respond to the theme of affirmative unhappiness through the televisual medium, unhappiness being understood as feelings that do not serve the needs of dominant modes of contemporary life, simply because to be happy would be to accord with those ill-fitting frameworks.
In a pair of multi-component installations, Xun employs his characteristic sugary palettes and ornamented textures to activate the otherwise mundane environment of The Projector’s bathrooms, and as commentary on the melodrama and melancholy found in his favourite films and television programs. The colours and texture of his objects, from the synthetic textiles of heart-shaped soft sculptures to the embellishments adorning bejewelled urinal cakes, are references to specific scenes in “Desperate Housewives”, “Sex & the City” and “Please Like Me”, and “Happy Together” (1997) and “Shelter” (2007). These scenes are marked by personal setbacks for the characters involved, and the psychology of sadness is here filtered through the incongruity between the aesthetics and materiality of camp, and the multivalent significance of the public restroom (ranging from soilage to illicit sex).