First published on 22 Sep 2011. Updated on 1 Oct 2011.
With a new solo exhibition this month, Time Out Singapore’s resident art writer moves from being the critic to the critiqued. Beyond covering the city’s art beat, she’s also taken part in over 30 shows, dating back to her junior college days – at 16 she took part in a student performance at the Singapore Art Museum – to more recent events including a poetry reading at Play Club and self-curated shows at local galleries, including Utterly Art and The Substation.
Here, she explains a piece from her new show ‘Language of Longing’:
‘My work generally comprises oil painting and text installations, which have been part of my practice since the very beginning. For this show, I have also started doing ink drawings and pencil drawings – I’ll have 12 paintings, 100 drawings and one text installation. I am also selling the final 25 copies of a handmade, limited-edition artist book I created three years back.
‘The text installation called “A Hundred Ways to Say Your Name”, which was originally exhibited in one of the tickleart showcases in CityLink Mall. It’s made up of 100 pieces of paper on which short excerpts of prose are written, focusing on 100 memories I shared with a former lover. It got some of the best reactions of any of my pieces – people I would have not come into contact with if I had shown this work in a gallery would Google me and suss out my email, just to tell me how much the work reminded them of an ex-spouse they still loved. People were re-blogging their favourite lines on Tumblr. It really moved me.
‘I have always been interested in starting conversations about sex, gender and sexuality through art and writing. But in the past few years, I have started really talking about this issue from very personal departure points. As a woman and lesbian, I think it is important to champion the personal, because the personal is always political – talking about same-sex relationships is another way of saying that yes, they exist and yes, they are valid.
‘I’ve found that the quickest way to engage people is to come from personal places of love, loss and desire – these are things we all experience. When people are able to relate to certain common aspects of relationships, gender becomes a secondary issue. I want to create spaces in which people can approach gender and sexuality from points of commonality, not difference.’
‘Language of Longing’ is at The Substation from 7-16 Oct.