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Interview with Ernest Goh

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Interview with Ernest Goh
Ernest Goh, B9J9- No. 003, 2015, DIASEC-mounted print

The Artling caught up with artist Ernest Goh ahead of the opening of Breakfast at 8, Jungle at 9, an exhibition featuring new photography works and an interactive art installation. 

In the past, you have mostly worked in photography. What brought you to include this installation work for Breakfast at 8, Jungle at 9?

I was taught by renowned potter Iskandar Jalil in art and design. The influence of his pottery was very strong so the urge to create sculptural works has always been at the back of my head.

What was your inspiration for making this installation work interactive?

I am big admirer of Yayoi Kusama and her work The Obliteration Room made a huge impression on me. The interactivity of Time To Wrap Up is a combination of paying a little homage to Kusama as well as an invitation to people to join me in wrapping things up in nature.

image

What do you hope the audience will take away from the work?

To better appreciate our delicate natural environment.

For a few of your previous series, such as Chickens or Fish, your focus is on the animal and its sentience, allowing it to interact with the world around it. For this exhibition, however, you are using the animals and bugs as specimens, like in a lab. Why this change in depiction of the animals, from live to dead?  

The animals photographed this time are specimens from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Some of them more than 90 years old. 

I hardly differentiate them between dead or alive when I photograph them. The beauty of the animal is still very much intact in fact death enhances the beauty. 

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Ernest Goh, B9J9- No. 004, 2015, DIASEC-mounted print

 

What brought you away from the animal portraits to this more scientific depiction of the animals?

I approach the animal the same way. It is still very much a portrait of the animal. So I see no difference in the process. 

What is your process for finding these specific animals – do you seek them out on your own? 

As a trained taxidermist I have worked with dead specimens of animals and know what to look out for. I also worked with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum’s staff closely to select the animals.  Dr Tan Swee Hee is one of them. His insight as a scientist was crucial when it came selecting the animals.

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Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

See more works by Ernest Goh here!


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