Singapore, 9 Nov 2006
Art of Trash
Appetites for Litter: 8th Emerging Artists Show 2006
Plastique Kinetic Worms, Singapore
9-25 Nov 2006
Four emerging artists from Singapore proved that trash can be transformed into art. Their works were showcased in the exhibition, Appetites for Litter: 8th Emerging Artists Show 2006, curated by artist Michael Lee Hong-hwee and held in Plastique Kinetic Worms, Singapore, during 9-25 Nov 2006.
In a city famous for its order, cleanliness and beauty, Singapore has a lesser known "garbage city," a landfill of increasing heaps of trash growing beyond proportions (Straits Times, 20 Aug 2006). How does a city strike a balance between development and sustainability? What can artists enlighten us in this regard?
(Jane Porter, A Linty Find, Found objects, 2005-2006, photo: Michael Lee)
(Jane Porter, Anxious shorts, Video & found objects, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
Jane Porter seems to suggest we leave the mess alone. The installation A Linty Find appears at first as a half-ransacked room with someone's belongings strewn all over the floor. Upon closer inspection, the work reveals countless small drawings made on books and scrap paper. The artist is interested in marks and notes made in a hurry and conveniently forgotten, including being thrown into the washer. Out of sight, but should little gestures like these be out of mind? Her other work, Anxious Shorts features lo-fi stop-motion animation projected into a space filled with junks: This time, objects like paper, plasticine and leaves start coming to life, crawling and jumping about, suggesting that humans are not the only beings with consciousness and agency.
(Alexis Hy, ITADAKIMASU!! SPACE TOFU VROOM VROOM (gallery view), Mixed media, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
(Alexis Hy, ITADAKIMASU!! SPACE TOFU VROOM VROOM (detail), Mixed media, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
For Alexis Hy, chaos is the necessary condition for creativity. Her Manga-inspired installation ITADAKIMASU!! SPACE TOFU VROOM VROOM, comprising wall mural and objects, is aimed at relieving us of the shame against society's moral tastes and norms.
(Shubigi Rao, Pseudoscience on table (installation view), Found objects, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
(Shubigi Rao, Pseudoscience on Shelves (installation view), Found objects, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
Ikea furniture hardly sits in a gallery without distracting the viewer from the art. In Shubigi Rao's pseudo-archeological installation, The Study of Leftovers, the familiarity of the furniture brand receeds into the background, foregrounding the trash she collected, cleaned, labelled and displayed. Her other work comprises a heap of personal belongings of a fictional 'male' archeologist. Going through 'his' diary and notes, one is reminded that often what legitimates a professional's existence is nothing more than signs such as particular structures of thought and communication.
(Yeoh Wee Hwee, Beetle in a Box (installation view), Cellulose tape, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
(Yeoh Wee Hwee, Beetle in a Box (detail), Cellulose tape, 2006, photo: Michael Lee)
Perhaps the most horrifying yet beautiful return of garbage is suggested in Yeoh Wee Hwee's Beetle in a Box, a storeroom filled with organic beads and tendrils kneaded from cellulose tape. No matter how hard we may try to remove chaos from civilisation, it can still find ways to return variously in abject forms.
(Clara Chow, "Don't rubbish this, it's art," Straits Times, 21 Nov 2006)
This exhibition was reviewed in Straits Times and Wordpress. It is the 8th installment in the annual Emerging Artists Show organised by Plastique Kinetic Worms.
Press Release by Plastique Kinetic Worms
Curator's introduction by Michael Lee Hong-hwee
Catalogue contribution by Shubigi Rao
Review in Straits Times by Clara Chow
Review in Wordpress by Lim Kok Boon