Monthly Archives: August 2007

Tang Mun Kit : Hibernated Works Re-Engineered + 33%

‘Re-use’ methodology

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(image with the kind permission of Substation Gallery)

The works by the Singapore artist Tang Mun Kit utilizes the found object, tapping on it’s physical appearance – texture, material, colour – to create improvised, pastiche art objects. Broken down, they have the magical appeal of mechanical toys are to (once were) children. Assembled, they tap on the aesthetics of assemblages, made popular by artists like Robert Rauschenberg. Made to look like a miniature retrospective, reviving and re-using earlier works, the artist presents his works in three over-lapping media: larger assemblages, sculptures, and paintings. The title may put the viewer off, suggesting an amalgamation of older previously exhibited works.

On closer inspection, the objects are crudely put together, perhaps a critique of various situations dependant on the current affairs prominent at the time the works are conceived and made. It almost feels that the works ‘happened’; surreptitiously with the events the artist wishes to make a statement of. I suspect the current affairs savvy viewer will find the assemblage works more appealing than the paintings.

The exhibition, as cautioned by the artist using a wall text, would make better reading with the aid of the unfinished catalogue. The catalogue, when complete, would allow us a glimpse into the minds of one of the most determined artists in Singapore, tapping on the style of Arte Povera, or poor man’s art, using found objects with a conscious effort in it’s selection and presentation.

‘Re-use’ can be understood in two ways through the artist’s current series of work. Ready-mades and materials can be re-used, creating material-centric works. Artists may re-use older works, in new compositions, just like how Impressionist Paul Cezanne repainted the Mount St. Victoire countless time, or how Picasso returns to the Bull-fighting arena for inspiration. If the viewer accepts Mun Kit’s ‘re-use’ methodology, it may a brilliant start to appreciate old objects not for their functional value, but for something more sentimental. It is precisely this invisible soft spot the artist has for objects (and I mean a lot of objects) he continues to create and re-create; use and re-use found-object art.

5.0 of 10 stars

Substation Gallery

19 July – 5 August

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Solo Exhibition by Namiko Chan Takahashi

 The work by Namiko Chan are familiar to few. Mention past year UOB painting of the year 2006 winner, you may get a few raised eyebrows. The body of work created is really a testament of the artist’s commitment to her craft, and acute portrayal of a single model, appearing possibly in all paintings and sketches in paint.

The silent dancer stands awkwardly, in many of the paintings. She appears to be almost unwilling in expression, or amateur in sitting for an artist. They are hardly poses we commonly associated dancers with. We commonly know dancers in art, through the works by Impressionists Degas, because they appear ever so often on postcards and trinkets from France. The stretch of the curved jendela space can be divided visually, and perhaps intently so, into two main parts: the considerably finished paintings, and the studies, marked by furious sketches of yellow paint on canvas. The former are grandly and dramatically lit, my favourite being the last horizontal painting with the dancers arms open, in a promenade. It is my favourite because the composition is enigmatic, letterbox sized to fit one’s peripheral vision like the cinema, and the grace it has above the other paintings. The latter resemble a cross between Cezanne-like, cubist distortion, some like Slade School style drawings or even still lifes. The display of these two give a fair idea of how the artist works, and conceptualises her work from sketch to finished painting. The artist is no doubt an accomplished painter, interested to paint more than what physical paint has to offer. She seems to be finding the gap between portraiture, and the concept of painting and allowing the sitter to find themselves through the deliberate imbued uneasiness the sitter is portrayed to convey.

It is a solo exhibition in two ways: one artist paints; one model exhibits herself, through these marveled paintings.

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Show was at the Jendela Space from Jul 23 – 29, 2007

A link to the Singapore Art Show guide

The Singapore Art Show kicked off on August 2, and promises to engage the public in more unusual venues and ‘tactics’. You might have seen the bus-stop ads, with ordinary objects ‘framed’ (both physically and conceptually) as art.

Guests to the official opening had post-it pads with the words “this is art” to take home.

For a list of venues and show on this exciting and celebrative August, follow this link:

http://www.isthisart.com.sg/