Located at the former New Majestic Hotel on Bukit Pasoh, Straits Clan takes over a 1970s Singapore-inspired, 22,000 square-foot building ridden with historicity. Situated on what was once known as the Street of Clans, its name is interestingly derived from the clan associations of 19th century Singapore, where individuals in a city of immigrants grew in accelerating social change, education, infrastructure and commerce. It then comes as no surprise that when asked to find art for a space as grandiose as Straits Clan, The Artling looked to local contemporaries across an array of mediums and themes so as to adhere to its identity of a club that is “ defined by passions, not professions; beyond accolades or achievements”. Members include rising stars, cultural enthusiasts, and creative-hyphenates, and thus came the project of curating for a space that reflected as such. Here, we take you through the artworks that The Artling, together with interior designer Naoko Takenouchi, architect Marc Webb and the team at Straits Clan, have carefully picked to adorn the walls of Singapore’s newest members club.
Eric Chan, Turquoise No: 15 (2004), Oil on Canvas.
From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and based in Singapore, Chan has established himself as one of Southeast Asia’s most notable contemporary painters. He holds a Masters of Fine Art from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology as well as Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore. The basis of his aesthetic inspiration derives from photographic camera effects, from the blurring or smearing of paintings that mimic photographs taken with slow shutter speeds. His paintings thus result in ethereal imageries of film with tonal inversions. It is because of such an execution in subject matter that we note his exceptional reputation for evoking interests with traditional means of painting under a contemporary scope. Chan finds himself actively exhibiting in Singapore, as well as in the UK, Hong Kong, UAE, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, and has also been awarded the Juror’s Choice at Philip Morris ASEAN Art Awards in 2002.
To find out more on Eric Chan, click here.
Anthony Chua Say Hua, Abstract Composition (2015) and Abstract (2013), Chinese Ink on Paper.
Working primarily with Chinese ink, Chua fabricates contemporary interpretations of modern subjects such as urban landscapes, architecture, and abstract compositions based on the figure of the body. He consistently pushes the boundaries of ink on paper through his unique techniques of painting. This includes creating various effects with different types of brushes, such as the non-conventional feather brush. Informed by both the traditional and modern, Chua amalgamates Chinese ink with Western strategies such as mark making so as to articulate his artistic identity of contemporary expressiveness. Through techniques of smudging, rubbing, and layering, Chua conveys the sensation of careworn walls and surfaces, creating textures that are marked with the accumulated years of lived human experience. Works that feature seasoned heritage buildings are often multi-layered, evocative of things that lie beyond the surface visual, which can only be grasped by the mind’s eye.
For more information on Anthony Chua Say Hua, click here.
Dawn Ng, Green from A THING OF BEAUTY (2015), Archival Digital Inkjet Print.
Green originates from a larger series by the artist entitled A THING OF BEAUTY, where Ng photographs installations of objects sourced in Singapore, described as “the objectified minutia of everyday life culminating in a structural wonderland of monochromatic shapes and shades built on stone”. She acquires these objects from 138 “mom and pop” shops, from convenience stores to bakeries throughout Singapore’s residential heartlands. Ng aims to project each installation as a puzzle unto itself, exposing their absurdities and profoundness over the course of their reframing against an imaginary landscape. Described as a multi-hyphenate visual artist who has worked across a vast array of mediums such as text, illustration, collage, light, sculpture, and large-scale installations, Ng’s works captivate with their themes of time, memory, identity and space. A THING OF BEAUTY has previously exhibited at Art Basel Hong Kong.
For more information on Dawn Ng, click here.
Rizibë, (from left to right) Waterflies, Plunger, Contemplators, Lightreaders, Baskers, Pruners (2014-2015), Pochoir, Acrylic.
Also known as Mriz Sidah, Rizibë is a Singaporean-based artist who works with blurred lines between memory and fiction through the abstraction of moments and their narratives. His works exist as a commentary on Southeast Asia and its vast nomadic landscapes and array of cultures. Inspired by relationships with nature, modernity, and finite views of phenomena, wanderlust, and eastern music and philosophy, we note how these influences form the backdrop of characters and scenes in his vibrant works. His work has also been described as one where “comedy meets tragedy viewed through a generously smeared documentary lens”.
Robert Zhao Renhui, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World (2013), Print.
Zhao belongs to the Institute of Critical Zoologists, whose mission is to “develop a critical approach to the zoological gaze, or how humans view animals”. In A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Zhao investigated the ill-defined boundaries between the natural and the man-made. Intrigued by the goldfish and its lack of a scientific name having been bred by humans for thousands of years, he created an alternative encyclopedia in which animals, such as decorative fish, could have their right of place. Other pages of this encyclopedia include the world’s smallest man-made frog, first tiger mosquitos found in Norway, square apples, fake beef, broccoli, and medicinal eggs. Whilst he works predominantly with photography, Zhao often adopts a multidisciplinary approach in presenting images with and in documents, objects in the form of textual and media analysis, video, and photography projects. His practice indubitably explores man’s relationship with nature, making use of narratives to invoke uncertainty in his audience through his portrayal of imageries.
For more information on Robert Zhao Renhui, click here.
Victoria Fu, Pinch-Zoom (2015), Neon.
An American visual artist, Fu works between digital videos, analog film, and photographic, screen-based, projected image. Her works playfully examines artistic conventions and the dispersal of technical images in our contemporary era through the appropriation of stock footage and original imagery. By using scraps of digital media and constructing them into formal elements, Fu dissects strategies of visual communication. Furthermore, she makes aesthetic the stream of mundane digital data that currently surrounds and floods citizens in the developed world. Fu also co-organized the conference Touching the Screen, and went on to begin a collaborative studio practice that marries aesthetic sensibilities and working processes.
Sebastian Mary Tay, Amidst the Colours #1, #2, #4, #7 (2015), Glicée Printing on Semi-Gloss Paper.
The text appended to Amidst the Colours highlights Tay’s interest in understanding human beings’ interest towards the beautiful and the sublime, an entity that emanates from the human capacity of allowing an aesthetic experience. Constructed from spices, herbs, flour, ice, a fog machine and lighting, Tay focused on fabricating landscapes with physical features that exuded beauty and sublimity in natural landscapes. The orchestration of construction and photography of each image took between three to seven days. Tay aimed at inventing such landscapes where theatrics allowed for colours to manifest and engage with each other, assembled spatially within the fog. It causes viewers to embark on a journey of the imaginative, and therefore find themselves participating in admiration, as contemplative beings. Tay is currently based in Singapore and is working towards exhibiting both at home and in the UK. He is also a member of the Society of Scottish Artists having graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a Masters of Research in Creative Practices.
Sam Lo, My Grandfather Road (2016), Digital Inkjet Print on Archival Paper.
“I felt it was powerful to take back to the streets”, says Sam Lo. This performative activism spanned so large, 170 metres to be exact, that only a drone could capture its grandeur. In 2012, Lo was caught stenciling “My Grandfather Road” and pasting stickers on traffic light buttons. Public outcry was at an all-time high when the artist was arrested as such. 4 years later, Lo approached the organisers of a street carnival with the idea of revisiting this piece due to how the street, Circular Road, would be closed to traffic. Lo describes this as one of the most challenging pieces to date as it was orchestrated from the wee hours of the morning till early afternoon with the help of a 9-person crew. This piece comes full circle as a rebuttal to “The Man” after the 2012 arrest, as the artist was allowed to do it once again but on a colossal scale in 2016, when this picture was taken.
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