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Reflections: King For a Day by Equator Art Projects

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Reflections: King For a Day by Equator Art Projects

The title of the exhibition is as ambiguous as it seems.

King For a Day was a rather spontaneous project in which Equator Art Projects sought to engage with emerging Singapore artists.The concept of the exhibition consisted of two parts: the first was to put together a group show, featuring works representative of each artist’s current practice. Our Main Gallery in this scenario represented a conventional exhibition space. The fun began with the Project Room, which each artist, as King or Queen, was given ‘ownership’ of this small kingdom for two days. This intimate space was visualised as an alternative platform for the artists to openly conceive a solo project. Perhaps it was an opportunity to do something experimental, or to expand on aspects of their art-making and for others, to respond to the bizarre exhibition title.

Here are reflections from the artists about their solo projects.Kray Chen Ke Rui | 30 May - 1 June 2014

For my installation, I installed 11 electronic crawling toy soldiers and a monitor screen. The toy soldiers, because of the way they move, will always navigate along the walls; I imagined them circling the room, almost ritualistically and inevitably. The screen displayed Stop and Watch – a first person view of a digital watch. The time shown is digitally manipulated. The hour and minute are frozen at 12:52 while the seconds continue to change and go on infinitely. I wanted to remind viewers of the passage of time yet depict stagnation, reflecting back on the toy soldiers as they move perpetually but do not go anywhere.

Filip Gudovic | Negative paint | 3 - 5 June 2014

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Negative paint exposes the objects and the negative space of painting production. This project presents the notion of materiality in relation to the practice of painting.

 Most of the objects exhibited have been naturally formed by the studio environment and processes that undergo the making of painting, thus a status of a readymade is applicable to their appearance. These processes are the negative space of painting production. A space becomes a container for paintings self-reflexivity. The objects simulate a possible archive for a painting activity and the space allows for an experiment in classification. One can find cracked paint, wire, masking tape, blu-tack, broken pencils, empty paint cans, doodles, floor drips, paint roller, canvas leftovers etc. My role as an artist was to select, position and curate; apart from that, there was very little intervention done to their original appearance.

Godwin Koay |  “King For a Day”? A Workshop Towards Revolution | 6 - 8 June 2014

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Responding to the title’s implicit allusion to authority and invisible, normalised hierarchical orders; the work very much came out of thinking through situation, staging, opacity, framing, desire, and tension. It was publicly pitched as a workshop drawing on thematics found in Notes from a Revolution, written to shift focus towards keywords like revolution, riot, insurrection – feeding on popular conceptions of chaos and militancy tagged to anarchy, asking, “could violence ever be considered legitimate, and might simply thinking so be seditious?” On a Facebook event listing, anticipation was built up through postings of a spectrum of relevant material, but the form and structure of the workshop was never explained to prospective participants. However, this expectation was punctured at the last moment, through the revelation of a supposed letter from the cultural ministry demanding desist of the workshop-event. This puncturing was a planned action, a fictive gesture made to re-situate the political-as-form enclosed in the space of artistic production towards broader, lived political contexts and realities. The work returns to text as both vehicle and constricting device. Anarchism as performed, is then not so much instructional as it is relational, using space as a site to expand connection, knowledge and possibility.

Victoria Aravindhan | The Shulamite | 10 - 12 June 2014

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Inspired by the sensuousness of the Shulamite from the Song of Songs, I wanted this project to reflect her femininity and the potency of her character. Stone was an ideal material for the sculptures due to its significance in culture and tradition, being both symbolic and historical in many ways. The dialogue and exchange between the sculpture and material can be reminiscent of that between the King and the Shulamite, one based more on sensation rather than language. The importance of the three-dimensionality of the objects was to create a spatially engaging setting, one where your body and stone exist in a space forcing you to experience the work. Wooden text based carvings juxtaposed with the stone sculptures serve as a dialogue between mediums, elaborating on the narrative.

May Lim | An Exercise in Futility | 13 - 15 June 2014

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 The initial intent of the mural was to see how my work (which until now had only been executed on paper) could be translated in the context of a space. The corners of a room have for me always carried a certain potency and I wanted to amplify this in using a corner as the line of symmetry for a drawing. In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard describes the corner as a “sort of half-box, part walls, part door”, symbolic of the capacity for change.

At the end of the project, the painting would be cleaned away and painted over. As the name of the work suggests, the prospect of such an endeavor seemed like an exercise in futility. Towards the end however, the impermanence of the work seemed fitting to the very ideas of change and transience that I have always sought to convey in my works.

Bach Zainol | Ouroboros: The Kingdom of Thalassa | 17 - 19 June 2014

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Trying to depart from an obsession is not as easy as it seems. Most times, you will end up back in the beginning, unknowingly or willingly. Like the circle of life. And like Ouroboros, the serpent - who keeps devouring its own tail and keeps re-creating itself, as depicted in Greek mythology.

This work represents the soundtrack of a fictional motion picture of life. A collection of different types of experimental animation (spontaneous drawings), film, video edits, music, singing and sounds – representing different stages of life. The music and sounds accompanying the visuals are selected and composed to suit the individual stages. These stages are laid out in a track listing format, played in sequence and looped.

My visual works constantly involve this struggle of distancing the autobiographical subject matter and escaping your pains through art-making. This particular work further represents that struggle and the complications that arise when you try to separate the personal and universal elements. Can they work together? Or will the obsession (Ouroboros) destroy itself?

Lau Eng Seng | Knowledge & Wisdom makes one a King | 20 - 22 June 2014

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All Kings seem mighty and with awe, but even a King had the probability of facing his fair share of concerns and worries when restructuring the reign had struck on to the majesty. That was exactly how I have felt upon understanding that by undertaking King For a Day, I had a Project Room all to myself for 2 days with a tight timeframe to produce new works. One of my biggest challenges was to visualize not just an artwork for the Project Room, but also a cohesive one with the environment and the exhibition theme. Furthermore, the conceptualizing stage has got to be quick enough so that when gathering additional resources, one would not end up worrying.


King For a Day was held at Equator Art Projects from 30 May – 22 June.

 All photos courtesy of artists and Equator Art Projects.


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