Whose Playground Is This?

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.

who’s playground is this?

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 ]

6 responses to “Whose Playground Is This?

  1. Thank you for being one of MY ARTISTS. 😎

  2. I wish more people could read my book MY ARTISTS which documents my dialogue with 12 other artists about the artist-curator relationship. I wish viewers could be more open when dealing with such issue.

  3. Oh my God! Did all the Toms, Harrys and Dicks turned curator overnight?! David Chew is a journalist full stop

  4. “the role, function and credibility of curators in Singapore require auditing and scrutiny by artists alike and members of the public…” And we would like to add that Singapore Art Critics should have loaded pistols placed on the temples of their ever swelling heads! 😉 NASTY!!!

  5. I actually do believe that everyone can be an artist, and along the same argument, that everyone can be an art critic. Sometimes for good or bad. Just as your ‘viewpoints’ can be condoned. Pointing loaded pistols at anyone’s head, swelling or not, is hardly necessary.

  6. point taken dude! everyone CAN be artist but not everyone IS artist and even if everyone ARE artists it is no guarantee that their art kicks ass! then u will say because art is subjective, like some brothers at sammyboy.com says, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” so, the moral of the story here is, if anyone decides that they are ready to come out of their arty farty closets to play see-saw in our cheap azz HDB playground, please be reminded that it is actually a battleground, so better be well equipped and trained like them commandos in da SAF! otherwise, stick to duplicating andy warhols and hang them in da kitchen where mummy will always be a patron!

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