Splatter in Space
Those who have seen the work may agree with me, it resembles a splatter of paint in space, in the traditions of Roy Lichtenstein “Brushstrokes” seen at Millenia Walk Singapore. It seems to shout “pop art”, unlike the artists’ earlier subtle prints or paintings on fabric over a lit frame or stretcher. This splatter blinks on both sides, any brighter will resemble the strobe that will cause epilepsy. The workmanship is appalling – the ‘front’ and ‘back’ are slightly misaligned and the spray paint is spotchy on certain parts – compared to the industrialised production methods of the Minimalists. The imperfections however, revealed the complexity of bending aluminium to a desired odd shape, riveting the pieces together in gravity defying positions.
In the context of the National Museum, we are indulged to believe that the work alludes to some form of national identity, the political comment made by former Indonesian president B. J. Habibie, referring to Singapore as a red dot. This dot, is now a splatter, a more creative expression than a mere ‘dot’.
I suspect the work is better represented at night, perhaps on the facade of the building where the ‘blink’ would do the work more justice, against the flowing traffic and imposing colonial architecture. Indoors, it is dwarfed by the tall hemispherical dome, and not allowing the visitor to have any critical distance to consider the juxtaposition of the two. Eager visitors by day pass the sculpture (not installation, stressed the artist) unaffected. Perhaps the work is a double edge sword, with its meaning fixated on “a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur”, a pun gone wrong. In this case, the artist has stabbed his own foot, and splattered more than just blood. Nonetheless, the work read in this context, the statement is a daring one, challenging the museum (as many contested the need for the overtly lavish opening party last December) in a pop-art-ish way that Warhol would have been proud.
3.0 of 10 stars
National Museum of Singapore