Exhibition: The World Outside

Photography: Arron Teo

You are looking at The World Outside, a drawing installation by Ling Nah Tang in collaboration with atelier | small. The work was commissioned by the Esplanade-Theatres, as part of the year-end Visual Arts celebratory event “Look After”, and is currently on view at the Esplanade Tunnel.

Tang’s work is inspired by the city’s transitory spaces such as the void decks of Singapore’s public housing apartments, alleys, shopping malls and in this instance, the centre’s Tunnel. She uses charcoal, paint and paper together with the inclusion of architectural and furniture elements in her work, and creates ‘rooms’ along the Tunnel to provide an experience of illusion and reality, memory and imagination, private and public space, still life and landscape.

“Conventional use of transitory spaces is symptomatic of the urban condition,” Tang explains. “We use a corridor, alley, stairway or underground passageways to move from point A and B, without stopping to think about functions of these spaces and potential interactions with fellow users. Instead, caught up with the pragmatics of everyday life, we forget to search our souls on more important issues like global problems, personal growth and the power of community in improving life. The World Outside addresses this problem of personal and social disengagement by encouraging urban dwellers to slow down, linger and ponder upon questions such as “What and where is this ‘world outside’?”; “Have I been there before?”; “Why was I there, who was with me?”, and “Why am I here now and who am I waiting for?”

Ling Nah Tang exhibited her work in the 2nd Singapore Biennale, and also in the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice (Singapore Pavilion) in 2008. Her work reflects the conditions of the modern city, particularly its speed and the lack of interpersonal intimacy in urban life. She was awarded the Young Artist Award (Art) by the National Arts Council, Singapore in 2004.

atelier | small was founded in 2010 by three architecture undergraduates (Quek Li-en, Tan Yong Shen & Wu Huei Siang). Their contemplation of space, materials, details and sustainability is reflected in their design approach in which simple and thoughtful ideas are conceived in pursuance of enrichment of the environment.

Till 2 January 2011 at the Esplanade Tunnel.

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