The year 1989 is considered a pivotal moment in global history; it marked the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War and the birth of the World Wide Web.
“The time is out of joint.”
Derrida opens Spectres of Marx (1993) with the above line, taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, wherein the troubled prince is communing with the ghost of his father. Derrida invokes the ghost of Hamlet’s father to bear the weight of history as it is deconstructed, to preface disjointedness and pluralism.
South Asia is described by many in the art world as being “the next big thing.” With more and more artists and museums popping up, increased attention has been focusing on the rapidly emerging Asian art scene.
Singaporean-born New York-based photographer John Clang is known for his low-tech style; resisting the temptations of Photoshop, he prefers instead to hand-cut and paste images together. Working mainly with the idea of accessibility, challenging the barriers between the artist and the audience, his ongoing series “(Re)Contextualizing My Mind,” (1996–?), now on show at Pékin Fine Arts in Hong Kong, brings forth a different side of the artist. The photographs here show poetic translations of Clang’s thoughts, and the images featured are equally abstract. Though he declines to identify them this way, the works feel like a walk through the artist’s visual diary. On the occasion of the exhibition, ArtAsiaPacific spoke with Clang briefly about his work and his passion for archiving.
Shanghai-based MadeIn Company is the brainchild of Chinese artist Xu Zhen, who in 2009, subsumed himself into what is ostensibly a strictly commercial company that produces and sells Art. Established as a saucy rejoinder to all things “Made in China,” MadeIn is also a rebuke to the prepackaged mechanics of the contemporary Chinese art market. Its works are ambitious and conceptually provoking—including performance, sculpture, video, photography, internet art and painting, as well as research and curation.
In September, on a Bangkok rooftop, a group of ‘wanderers and forgetters’ recently offered their concerted support as one of them struggled to memorise and retell word-for-word a story written by Heman Chong. They were gathered at Bangkok’s The Reading Room for the third in a series of exhibitions orchestrated by Chong—previously at Rossi & Rossi in Hong Kong and Future Perfect in Singapore—entitled The Part Of The Story Where We Lost Count Of The Days. The three-part structure of this work exemplifies the peripatetic artist-curator ’s mobility and sociability.
During its preview on Wednesday, Art Stage Singapore was hectic and crowded — not only with deadline-frantic media, but with eager collectors who, according to several local galleries, had already snapped up over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of paintings and photographs by Singapore artists alone.
In the past few years, Laos’ art scene has remained relatively under the radar while neighboring Southeast Asian countries, such as Myanmar and Cambodia, have gained considerable international recognition (Vietnam and Thailand already having a notable presence). It was therefore a treat to see two Lao artists at this year’s Singapore Biennale.
Shooshie Sulaiman was born in Malaysia in 1973. After receiving a BA in Fine Art from the MARA University of Technology (UiTM) in 1996, she was given the National Art Gallery of Malaysia’s prestigious Young Contemporaries Award. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Shooshie also runs 12 Residence, an exhibition and project space and art-infused guesthouse.
Singapore’s premier contemporary art exhibition, the Singapore Biennale, will open to the public on October 26. This year’s edition named “If the World Changed” will have a strong Southeast Asian focus bringing in 27 curators from around the region. This new curatorial model is aimed at developing a deeper knowledge of art scenes in the region, filling in the gaps where the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) curation is not as strong. In choosing this year’s curators, former director of SAM and project director of the biennale, Tan Boon Hui, said that the selection of curators started from “where we don’t know, people who have access to the scene, new art practices. . . this approach is taken in hopes of expanding the capacity of the Biennale.” With greater focus and intensity on this part of the world, curators selected a wide-range of projects to contextualize the unique practices, concerns and perspectives of artists from Southeast Asia. 82 artists and collectives from 13 countries, were invited to reflect on the current state of the world while offering re-imaginings for the future. Many venues are clustered in the Bras Basah. Bugis Precinct—including SAM, 8Q, National Museum of Singapore and Peranakan Museum—but some works can be seen beyond the main hub at locations such as Fort Canning and Taman Jurong. Here’s a teaser of of Singapore Biennale 2013’s offerings.