Have Logue, will travel

NAFA Gallery1
Feb 8 – 12, 2006

“Travelling is more than seeing of sights…” participant, Chris Ng, BA Multimedia Student

The exhibition is rather transient, occupying only gallery one. It is interesting that that the adjacent exhibition by Ang Ah Tee (Gallery 2) also had the word ‘journey’ in the title, while having an all oil on canvas show. Gallery One seem to be about ‘travelling out of the red dot’ and Gallery Two seemed to be both an introspection and a display of skill and technique. The focus of this exhibition was to share the visual memories of an exchange programme to the United Kingdom, depicted through ‘travelogues’. These seem more graphic, utilizing excessive amounts of digital prints, simple brochure layouts rather than the traditional artist-journal full of scribbled notes and drawings. One gets the sense of sympathy that ‘travels’ are often rushed through, with the occasional snap shot to lodge and record a particular sight on film or in digital bytes. I suppose they had to be somewhat ‘digitally processed’ because they are BA Multimedia students, on exchange to the UK. But it is also the bombardment of visual images that make the exhibition an anaesthetic experience to travel.

The exhibition is dominated by ‘untitled’ by Kel Poon, a photo montage projection of snippets of snap shots – famous sights, posing friends, art galleries, wax figurines, York castle, snow on roof tops. For a person like me who has lived in England for a while, the photos do bring back nostalgia (despite the baffling bad resolution). Nonetheless, it does feel overwhelming, if one bothered to sit through the entire travel digital slide show. It doesn’With the 5 rows of red chairs, the gallery space feels like a transit lounge, with ‘Lush 99.5fm’ like music playing, slide projections and almost more hanging lights than work atmosphere. Coming on a Saturday, with Kavali-bearing men walking down Serangoon Road and concurrent NAFA Open house, did give a out of Singapore experience. The transience of the exhibition seems to fit the issue of travel very well; we never stay long enough to be considered non-travelling or staying.

I think Singaporeans love to travel, for different reasons. Some travel to get away from their hectic work and lives here, others travel for work; some travel to avoid people or events; others travel for the sake of travelling; Travelling can be seen as different phases of one’s life, moving from travelling on foot, to buses, cars and then planes, conquering each tourist destination as a claim to one’s worldliness, or so it seems. Artists are no different, but add ‘searching for inspiration’, and ‘searching for beautiful sight and things’ to the endless list. Travelling touches our hearts and minds on different levels too, depending on how sensitive and aware we are to the fluctuations in emotions on the trip. Travelling is really a state of mind.

The great artists of the Nineteenth Century would not feel complete unless they have done the grand tour of Europe, seeing for themselves the masterpieces of the Renaissance, soaking in the atmosphere of art. The workers in the creative industries of Singapore travel too, for inspiration, as witnessed in the honest reflections in their graphic logs.

The exhibition will be suitable for people keen to join the BA Multimedia Course, and learn that there is a possibility to travel. It is not suitable for anyone who wants to see a serious investigation into the nature or nurture of travelling.

2.5 of 5 stars

Text by Lim Kok Boon

Further Reading recommended by Touring Natives for the non-frivolous traveller, or the seeker of the ‘meaning of travelling’. Or book the next flight on AirAsia with a sketchbook and extra cash.

Peter D. Osborne, Travelling Light: Photography, Travel and Visual Culture, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2000
Chris Rojek and John Urry, Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory, London: Routledge, 1997
David Blamey, Here, There, Elsewhere: Dialogues on Location and Mobility, London: Open Editions, 2002

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