play pen – members only
The exhibition tries to show the backstage of art production, by allowing 3 artists to react to the relationship (or lack of) artists have with curators. Jeremy Sharma presents a film noir enigma of “Who Shot the Curator?”, exhibiting photographs of executed curators, friends of the artist in witty play-dead poses. Ana Prvacki, dodges the critical question of curator-relationship and chose to focus on the honest artist’s image as central to art making, and less under the dictatorship of curators. She shows a video tribute, titled “joys of collapse” to her dead goose, aged six that died on July 7, 2007. Tang Ling Nah chose to plunge into the deep end of the given theme, by inviting 12 other artists to respond to the relationship of artists-curators, publishing a limited edition art book documenting the process, a bold step away from her palate for large charcoal drawings.
The small exhibition felt exclusive, perhaps because the understanding of the term curator hardly gets past exhibition organiser, let alone ‘collaborator’ or visionary director of a film where artists are the stars – they each have their own share of fans. Either the curatorial statement for the exhibition promises too much, or I’m missing out on visuals/artefacts that should have been there to make the visit more worth while. The theme of the exhibition, no doubt an important one for those in the circuit, will appear dry to the average Joe and Jane.
If the errata [“errata: In pages 15 & 16, Tang Ling Nah’s name is mis-spelled. We apologise for the error”] included in the exhibition curatorial statements are anything to go by, the role, function and credibility of curators in Singapore require auditing and scrutiny by artists alike and members of the public. Art sometimes is more serious than play as seen in Ling Nah’s subversive curating; even if at times art is playful as seen in Ana Prvacki and Jeremy Sharma’s work, the play pen shouldn’t just belong to artists and curators but a willing public/audience as well.
5.0 of 10 stars
PKW. Exhibition runs from 13th July till 28th July 2007, usual opening hours apply. Admission Free.
“An exhibition that highlights the redefinition of the curator’s role behind the process of putting on A SHOW today, right from the beginning even before an artist creates the work, (Whose Playground Is This?) looks at the very foundation of art exhibitions AND the artist-curator relationship.
Whose Playground is This? toys around with current definitions of artist and curator, and the process of how we view and interpret art. The curator, an important influence on an artist’s exhibition, used to mean just cataloguing, interpreting and documenting artefacts and collections of institution. Today’s world of art, however, has started to blur the line between artist, curator, collector and museum director, leading to the question of just whose playground does art belong to?
“We wanted to explore all these questions about ownership of exhibition work. Really, where does one work stop and another start? Can an artist’s success solely come out of his or her own work and ability, how much of an influence belongs to the curator who frames their work and in some cases entire art practices? And don’t forget even patrons or collectors – how much credit (of even an artist’s fame) should go to them?” says David Chew, curator for Whose Playground is This.”
[Quoted in length, press release by PKW ]