Twin Cities

Tale of Two Cities

Collaboration between artists, while not new, has been a strong trend in the arts in recent years. If we consider that Singapore’s contemporary arts scene is still in its relative infancy, or at very best, on the awkward brink of puberty, collaboration can only be a good thing bringing with it a culture of curiosity, experimentation and communication.

Dual City Sessions: Null, conceptualized and curated by Felix Ng, founder of design studio, SILNT, is an interesting look into collaborative efforts between 28 Japanese and Singaporean artists of diverse disciplines. Each country’s team of artists worked based on the themes of nature, architecture and other items symbolic of their country. Using only two elements in monochrome, the artworks were conceived, designed and constructed personally by each artist.

Tale of Two Cities

Ng says, “I met up with Shun Kawakami, founder of artless last year in Tokyo, when i was there for an exhibition. I wrote an article on artless for iSh magazine. During the interview, he jokingly asked me to bring them to Singapore, so that got me thinking.”

Initially conceived by Kawakami as an exhibition limited to Japanese artists, Ng suggested a Singapore component to the exhibition made up of Singaporean practitioners of the same number. It wasn’t easy to convince Kawakami, he was unsure about Japanese aesthetics being misinterpreted by foreigners, but Ng drafted a list of 30 names he had in mind and sat down with Kawakami and showed him their work. He was duely impressed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“One of the things [Kawakami] said, when he saw the initial artworks that the 14 Singapore designers did, was that while the original null* projects has always been more graphical / craft-based, the Singapore ones are very conceptual, which is a really interesting contrast between the two teams.”

The artists in question include Grace Tan of kwodrent (as featured in our last Dada), Hanson Ho of h55, Christopher Lee of Asylum, and Mei, better known as The Analog Girl.

Tale of Two Cities

He adds, “The challenge in creating the artwork was that each designer had to work with those on his left and right, ensuring that his/her artwork would blend/connect with the others. All the designers involved are doing this on top of their day jobs, and probably night as well, so communication was really important.”

The finished product is a pair of 8-metre long prints produced on thin iron sheets bent into the shape of a wave, inspired by and representative not only of Japanese beauty and culture but also of the connection between human and nature.

After a successful showing as part of DesignTide Tokyo 2007 earlier this month, Dual City Sessions: Null will be traveling to Singapore in conjunction with the Singapore Design Festival 2007. For a preview, check out the photos from the Tokyo event.

Singapore Event
27th November – 8th December 2007

Old School
11, Mount Sophia
The Hall, B2-12
Singapore 228 461
www.oldschool.sg

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