(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
19 July – 5 August