Exhibition: Villa Alicia

A winebar owner and his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, are about to move out of the house they have lived in for the last 40 years. Artist Alecia Neo (Home Visits) and sound artist Clarence Chung, both 25, hope to preserve the memories and personality of the 1970s home in their latest art installation, Villa Alicia.

This August, the house in Binjai Park will play host to a sound and photography installation before it is vacated by its occupants, Tan Ying Hsien, a winebar owner, 49, and Dr Nalla Tan, 88, a prominent physician and feminist. Visitors will get a chance to wander through the bungalow, which is split into two parts. Ying Hsien’s is filled with his marathon medals and wine magazines, and the other, belonging to his mother, is filled with paintings, drawings, kitchenware in rooms that have seen little change since the 1970s.

About forgotten memories and the act of remembering, Villa Alicia looks into how memories and histories are shaped by time, mind and disease. Human memory is fragile. Can we preserve and reproduce memories through physical objects and documentation? How accurate is it? How true?

Alecia explains: “I see the value in capturing the fragility of memories, people and spaces, through a rare opportunity in having access to the home of a prominent person; the contrast of generations, the new and the old, and the loss faced as memory fails you.” The house is slated to be demolished a few days after the exhibition closes.

For Ying Hsien, the decision to sell and move out of the house was a heart-rending one. “I’ve lived there for the better part of a lifetime and most of my memories are inextricably tied to the house. Whilst I carry away these memories, their physical link will be severed when the house disappears.”

The exhibition runs from 6 to 11 August, from 9 am to 9 pm at 43 Binjai Park, Singapore. Admission is free.

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