Ghost: The Body at the Turn of the Century

(from the press release)

Entitled Ghost: The Body at the Turn of the Century, Sculpture Square‘s sixty-nine-day multi-disciplinary exhibition showcases seminal moments at the turn of the century, and looks at how representations of the Body in the arts and other burgeoning counterculture movements reflect new cultural moments in Singapore. From photography, films, music to performance arts, the Body becomes a central artistic medium.

Curated by Sculpture Square’s Artistic Director, Alan Oei, this wide-ranging show draws a common thread through different art forms in the last twenty years. Alan says, “We tend to look at the life of different disciplines separately. Instead of looking at how each discipline evolved in relation to its predecessors, why not reframe that discourse and look at how our artists respond to the larger milieu. So much of their art uses the body as a medium or motif chafing against the paternal authority of the state. The representations of the body, both in popular media and in anti-establishment art forms – tell us so much about who we are, as individuals, as a nation.”

Ghost locates the artists’ practice within Singapore’s cultural representations of the Body, and how they use their bodies – unmediated, unscripted, ephemeral, and most of all, visceral – to counteract popular notions and stereotypes engendered by society. In addition, Ghost features new and younger artists, such as Choy Ka Fai who creates an almost sinister dance project to record and control the body, and Esther Lowless, whose music is driven heavily by her schizophrenia and the subjugation of her rational self to the body.

This exhibition is especially important as the Internet and global capitalism has brought about a paradigm shift of both physical and social relations. Oei suggests, “We can see a countervailing effort in this show. At the very moment where physical geography seems to matter less and less within the new global order, the Body emerges as a central artistic medium across different genres and art forms.”

The artists exhibiting are:

Singirl by Amanda Heng  at the Chapel Gallery – Project to amass a collection of women’s gluteus maximus, with a future view to a parade contingent. Singirl is an ongoing series on cultural commodification and national marketing. Prospectus for a Future Body by Choy Ka Fai at the Gallery Block – An installation that showcase a memory bank and system that duplicate, reproduce and control dance choreography. New Commission by Esther Lowless at the Gallery Block – Performance-sound installation to recreate the experience of hypochondriasis, anxiety disorder – the destabilization of the body. Mee Pok Man by Eric Khoo at the Chapel Gallery – Selected footage of the film, with original painted cinema banner and an installation of a scene. Street art on Chapel by Jahan Loh & Mazlan Ahmad at the Chapel Gallery (exterior) – Full building mural by street art pioneers incorporating SSQ and cultural history. New Presentation by John Clang at the Front Courtyard – A billboard and horizontal presentation of John Clang’s Beon’s series. New Commission by Lee Wen at the Chapel Gallery – A negative sculpture / cast of Lee Wen’s back. New Presentation by Li Xie at the Chapel Gallery – Approximation of The vaginaLOGUE through its set, objects, audience drawings, in addition to one to one encounters, in the form of an installation. Ray Langenbach’s Archive by Loo Zhihan at the Chapel Gallery – An archive presenting the 7 days of Artists General Assembly in 1993. Torso to Face (Female) by Ng Eng Teng (b. 1934 – d.2001) at the Gallery Block – An enclosed presentation to focus on the sensual, material presence of the sculpture. Stompin’ Ground by Suhaimi Subandie at the Chapel Gallery – The struggle of a Malay artist in Singapore presented through his music, memoirs and artifacts. The Professor Speaks by X’ Ho at the Chapel Gallery – Pseudo documentary account of Singapore and Woodstock.

Ghost: The Body at the turn of the Century opens today and runs until 31 December at Sculpture Square, 155 Middle Road. Opening hours: 11am – 7pm (closed on Mondays). Admission is free.

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