Come Out and Play by Joo Choon Lin

Bent on chocolate, monsters and anti-hero


(images courtesy of the Singapore Art Museum and kind permission of the curator and artist)

The recent work by Joo Choon Lin at 8Q, is more thought through and well considered in the use of space, scale and narrative, compared with the earlier work shown at FOST Gallery in October 2008. Considered as works in a series, it explores the fantasy anti-hero character battling a chocolate monster invasion, with a sleuth of copper-foiled creations and inventions, like the one see above (see image). Like her earlier work, the subconscious is let loose on a frenzy, the narrative developing spontaneously according to the site, and the situation. The result, an uncanny film, part fantasy and part naivete of logic, but filled with good sense and humour.

The works consist of a large wall projection, of a stop-motion animation made in situ at 8Q,  by drawing painstakingly on the walls of the staircase, on the glass walls and windows of the museum, as well as invented unique silkscreen prints on water. Creatures seen in the movie are placed nonchalantly, seeming to fill empty spaces strategically then more purposefully. They don’t really come alive, within the white cube, then a funfair setting could. Some might even think the white space as too sterile for one’s imagination to take off, a stark contrast to the animation. To add to the mild discomfort, the bench might seem ill positioned for the seated viewer to see the animation properly.  

The large vehicle in the middle of the room is more than meets the eye. On close inspection of the platform, prints or frames from a sketch book pour suggestions, like prequels to the animation, lighting the beginnings of the anti-hero. How I wish I can remember her name – choco girl? The guardian, the bronze copper choco-bear that appears briefly in the animation stand guard close by.

The materials used are unusual:brown enamel paint resembling melted chocolate, copper sheets and screen printed markings and patterns; it makes the bear so mechanical yet assimilated, very much like the replicant toys in Ridley Scott’s 1982 grim, futuristic Blade Runner film. It shifts the paradigm of the real away from logic and into fantasy, as much as tin man in The Wizard of Oz would. 

I can’t help chuckle a naive interpretation of the imagery and symbols: chocolate as money, choco-monster  as over-zealous bankers (especially the scene where they multiply), and choco-girl and her misfit team as the average jane and joe bailing out whole situation. 

Like one’s obsession with chocolate might lead one to cravings in the middle of the night, the title ‘come out and play’ makes choco-sense to leave one’s faculty of logic behind, and indulge in good child-like imagination, and ‘save the world’ for ourselves.

7.0 of 10 stars
(more pictures to come) 

8Q, Singapore Art Museum

*but NOT listed on the Singapore Art Museum website

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