29th international workshop of Frac des Pays de la Loire : Singapour
organised as a part of « Singapour en France - le festival » , in collaboration with the National Heritage Board (NHB), Singapore
Chun Kai Feng, Godwin Koay
Joo Choon Lin, Loo Zihan
Kray Chen Kerui
residence 5thJanuary - 8thMarch 2015
After Croatian, Chinese, Mexican, South-African artists, the Frac des Pays de la Loire welcome young artists from Singapore for the 29th International Workshop.
The city state of Singapore is known for many things, but chiefly its rapid development and growth from fishing village to first world economy. It is timely, as Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence in 2015, for a young generation of artists (all of whom were born post independence) to explore important lines of inquiry and reflection in their respective practices, of where and who we are today as a nation. The five young Singapore contemporary artists explore different tensions in their works, from the tension of authority and power, societal acceptability and what is seen on the surface and the everyday - and what truly lies beneath that. Their works deal with and react in different ways to these tensions: from protestation to absurdity, or the use of repetition or experimentation to disrupt the familiar.
Chun is interested in mapping the day-to-day. He regularly makes works based on urban elements which do not draw attention to themselves. His works are made with industrial techniques and materials, and cohere to a personal formal sculptural regimentation. These abstracted urban objects compose to form a space which is charged with narrative potential.
Godwin Koay is an artist and art worker based in Singapore. Using image and text, both digital and physical, found and fabricated, his work is informed by and performed through modes of open-ended inquiry. This is directed towards exploring possibilities of an artistic practice forged at an interstice with anarchist social and political praxis, broadly engaging thematics and tensions of autonomy, authority, fiction, urgency, precarity, and anxiety.
Underlying Joo’s practice is her philosophical interest in the nature of reality which might be summarized in terms of the philosophers’ longstanding investigation into the relations between appearance and essence. Choon Lin’s own investigation into these questions is also informed by her interest in technological developments: as the various technologies of representation devise new ways of capturing the likeness of things, so the quality of the surfaces of these things undergoes a transformation. Consequently, reality itself appears as if reconfigured. She has been experimenting with a range of materials and media as a means to examine the relations between visual and tactile experiences.
My work is anchored in the moving image and extends to performance and mixed-media installations. I deploy these divergent mediums to address fundamental societal and artistic questions, such as the relationship between the artist and participant, the role of the “proper” and the still under-recognized pervasiveness of shame. A quiet lyricism and poetic rhythm couches my explorations of shame, sexual content and the dangers and pleasures of self-exposure. In submitting to my own self-exposure, I propose my work as a gift to the viewer.
The archival of Singapore’s queer history is a main focus of my practice. Through the use of rigourous and disciplined research practices, I deconstruct existing historical narratives and provide multiple alternatives. A dialogue is setup between performance and documentation, and through this I negotiate the tension between the flesh of the body and the bone of the archive.
By exposing myself in and through performance to transactions and relations of power, sexuality, and voyeurism, I offer viewers a means to circumvent assumptions they bring to the otherwise private content of sexuality, shame, and personhood. A queer lens is held up to the viewer’s eye, momentarily refracting their perception of the world and asking them to see otherwise. Via this refraction, I urge compassion and tolerance for the marginalized and the exiled.
The one thing that fuels my artistic practice is also the one thing that my art comments on – it is the constant pressure to work or perform or behave in a way deemed more desirable or favourable than the current way. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. It is a condition that I find in myself and in many others around me – the idea that I could be bePer or how time could be better spent.
This is the reason why my art seemed to be busy or noisy. I try to recreate the environment that I am in, a place with an overwhelming availability of options and opinions and news and products and everything else. It is a state of constantly being on the losing end because any options you decide on appear to look inferior, somehow. The use of repetition and loop is a coping mechanism, it is my way to reassess past moments and reimagine possibilities – sharing the weight of being across virtual clones, or have them carry out duties that I could not do so on my own.
The crucial point of engaging this issue in my art is because it seems rationality is corrupted. It is only through the lies and fantasy and absurdity of art that perhaps such subject can refresh itself from the burden of logic and linearity and singularity.