Ran 染

A visual appetiser of art by Singapore and Chinese Artists at the Esplanade

I think several artworks in the group exhibition titled Stained manage to pull off some coherence to the theme of the work – something that drags the bottomless permutable concept of globalisation and how cultures rub onto one another. Some of the artworks may leave one wondering about the weak links and whether the artworks or artists were invited to fill up the numbers. These artworks probably pale slightly in comparison to those seen in Zooming into Focus: Contemporary Chinese Video & Photography from the Haudenschild Collection at Earl Lu Gallery in August 2005.
Without going into grim details of what ‘worked’ and ‘what didn’t’, I would prefer to talk about ONE work in this exhibition (because it was the first I saw from the Esplanade linkway!).
This exhibition, with works in the linkway, concourse, and Jendela Gallery, will be worth scouting around if you are in the area.
2½ stars of 5
Ran was held in Jendela Gallery from 20 January – ? February 2006.
A river in 3 parts
By Jerome Ming, and sound by Zai Kuning
11 January – 19 February 2006

Another glimpse of China, apt after the rainy season

It seems appropriate to feature the fast-vanishing landscape Of China, in the ‘Huayi – Chinese Festival of Art’. If you don’t know the extent of the vast three Gorges Dam that will cover “riverbanks, cities, towns and villages located along the reservoir. The three Gorges Dam will be the largest hydroelectric dam in the world”, this passageway of photographs by Jerome Ming and haunting sound by Zai Kuning will take you through the picture snapshots of the extraordinary lives of the Chinese living along the Yangtze River.
Much lies between the photograph, the photographer and geographical space of the Yangtze River and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. I am not trying to discredit the photographer here. I am merely stating that it will be ambitious to say that enough can be documented through the pictures on display. I have seen passers-by mock what they see in the photos.
These photographs with high contrast levels probably reveal little of the sentiments of the people affected. However the red painted water mark and monotonous droning wind instrument sound seem to add to a sense of frustration and helplessness one may imagine the residents to have. If you were in Singapore during January, the incessant rain would have allowed you to feel the inconveniences of rain in sunny tropical but urban Singapore. Now imagine if that water would rise above the height of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore’s highest land form (at about 160m above sea level). Perhaps with this bit of imagination, we will feel the helplessness behind the work, by the artist and locals alike.   
I suppose this photo exhibition is really a small spiel, as compared with the Earth From Above outdoor photo exhibition by Yann Artus –Bertrand, to highlight the extent mankind alters the environment. The exhibition is a visual representation of ‘inconvenience’ and a wake-up call to ignorant passers-by to world environmental affairs.

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