Mind of a City by Judy Cheung

As simple as soap

(Image with the kind permission of the artist and gallery)

The works by Judy Cheung offer a simple escape from the urban competitive bustle and hassle, by creating a series of low fidelity, low-cost procedures and ‘interactive games’. The works are comparatively raw, relationally charged to energize your low spirits, like a self-help book telling you that you are not as worse off as you think.

The exhibition requires the facet of a child to appreciate – lots of imagination and appreciation for the simple home-made handicraft things in life. The work that got me hung up on are a stack of home-made transparent soap, with the words ‘family’, ‘friends’, ‘power’, ‘milieu’, symbolic of the various ‘achievements’ or ‘goals’ in one’s life. It is ironic that with each handling and use, they erode and grow thin, a power metaphor for the in-permanence and flux of our priorities in life as we age. Or should there be permanent priorities like ‘family’, where ‘blood is thicker than water’ and ideals like ‘love’?

The works are conceptually charged to give to the viewer, more than most artworks. They are supposed to ‘heal’ or ‘message’ tired shoulders and bruised egos. Perhaps the exhibition demands less, like a walk in a park as opposed to an expensive day-out to an entertainment centre and it should not be as high-fidelity as I usually would have liked it. Otherwise, it does trigger some thought about the need to relax, but it does not give me the urge to keep to it. Perhaps what the exhibition needs is a more consolidated strategy to relate to the intended (Singaporean) audience, works that are slightly larger to fill the space, and a booth to boot the viewer to respond to the work with a built in recorder, to record our deeper, darker city-living, rising costs laments.

Mind of a City

(3.0 of 10 stars)

6th October 2007 (Saturday)
2-4pm onwards


PKW Gallery,
Exhibition runs from 21st September till 6th October 2007

“Mind of a City” is initiated as a dual-site project between Singapore and Vancouver. These two cities are paralleled as to suggest an ideal geographic landscape, characterized by multiculturalism, tourism, and complex government structures still burdened with complex social problems. As a participatory installation, it involves the production of a skill enhancement program strategically set up in a gallery, juxtaposing technology and the “think Green” concept.
The work offers a non-linear, goal-orientated proposition to the contemporary urban environment, while examining critically the view that art, as a form of communication, is meant to elate the senses. As an assimilation of intellectual, social, and special/functional consciousness, the project references a society fraught with repression, anxiety and stress.  Simultaneously, the experiential process of attending an ingenious skill enhancement program provides moments of whimsical inspiration in a gallery setting.
Judy Cheung had exhibited across Canada, USA, Europe and Hong Kong. Her works were showcased in the 9th Havana Biennial 2006. Cheung’s essay, “On Throwing”, was part of the catalogue, published by Earl Lu Gallery for Site + Sight, Translating Cultures, 2003.  Her innovative projects have been reviewed in gallery catalogues and magazines such as Canadian Art Magazine and Yishu Magazine.


One response to “Mind of a City by Judy Cheung

  1. Pingback: Mental Sculpture by Dennis Tan at Bilateral

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