Chaos Blossom No.1By Yen Phang
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“Ship of Theseus” is a tribute to discarded flora. Post-lockdown in Singapore, I started paying attention to the interactions between our urban nature and public workers/private gardeners. There was a lot of pruning, cutting, trimming to our grass, bushes, and trees.
The actions were explosive, noisy, almost violent, all in the effort to maintain a certain neatness in our ‘garden city’. When nature was wilder, more overgrown, it seemed lusher, more alive. After the essential functions of public landscaping had recommenced, the plants appeared to recede into the background again.
So this is my own personal celebration of public planting through the language of abstraction, specifically, through ideas of camouflage and “noise” (nature as visual/informational/spatial noise). I’ve kept the strokes clean, bereft of the overtly gestural, a little alienating in the sense of the artificial-digital (after a prolonged period of self-confinement under the pandemic), inspired by ghillie suits and notions of “decoration”.
The forms are meant to be cell-like and distinct but fungible, like plants in an ecosystem. I draw in pink hues and flesh tones to implicate my own biology and body in the experience of my environment. Running as an undercurrent alongside the painting process is the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, which poses this question: if parts of our impermanent nature (and our bodies) are shed/replaced constantly, is still the same nature?
Based in: Singapore
Born to a geneticist and agriculturalist, Yen is attuned to the biological. Working in the mediums of painting, installation, and performance, he reflects on nature as interface, sense phenomena in eco/bodily systems. He was a recipient of the Winston Oh Grant (2016), Winston Oh Travel ResearchAward (2016), and was awarded …
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While I'm Peering Through Your Thicket in the Dark and You Don't Know It Yet
Yen Phang, Singapore