Daily Archives: May 25, 2009

Home Dream Home by Terence Lin

Singapore Dreaming, albeit small scale

Home Dream Home by Terence Lin. Images with the kind permission of the artist

A pun on “Home Sweet Home”, the exhibition title suggests that everyone is entitled to at least a dream about their ideal dwelling. The recent exhibition by Terence Lin, also seen at 8Q presenting a wall of fragmented painted panels, is a leap of faith, expanding his fascination with concepts of Housing Development Board Buildings last witnessed as two-dimensional blockish forms in his painterly works. Here, we see 3 parts: The 8 sets of drawings, the 8 make-shift objects in acrylic casings, and a curious catalogue that accompanies the work. The drawings cased in acrylic, and the objects too in heavy custom built cases, appear to suggest the fragility, or futility of ‘dreaming’. These drawings, done in ink hover between architectural plan drawings, and outright illustrations to accompany fictions. The clean drawn lines, torn paper edges reflect their intention to resemble clouds, hence linking them to the central idea. The airy, outlined stenciled fonts do add an element of grace, and almost stencil-grafitti-like defiance of how plan drawings, interior illustrations should look like.

The exhibition in pun, appears more like an exercise, an extension of streams of discussions the artist had picked to illustrate his wonderment of how Singaporean artists, friends and relatives would envisage their dream home. In return for their imagination, they would keep the drawing as a token, a souvenir of that dream.

What the work failed to do, was to plunge head-on into a recognisably difficult dialogue with more people, or a more prescriptive, craft sensitive construction of these people’s dream houses. As they are, they remain as sketches, crude maquettes and pale when compared to pretty models of architectural buildings and interior spaces, often found in show flats, or at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh or the URA Gallery at Maxwell Road. Found materials such as the inside of a packaging carton, painted compressed foam, or droopy coloured artcard just does not appeal or gel well with one’s understanding of a dream residence. Short of dissing them as appalling constructions, one can almost imagine it meant to be deliberately crude, to suggest our inabilities to built our dream homes, but merely to dream them incompletely, without windows or complicated electrical wiring.

What was most romantic about the work, is thus perhaps the third element, the ‘catalogue’ that records extracts of the conversations the artists converges on, suggesting a powerful social aspect of the work, which is lost in translation of the drawings, and objects. The dream one builds now, is not possible without the blessing of our personal histories and circumstances. The concept of ‘home’, ‘residence’, ‘abode’, ‘house’, ‘flat’ mean different things to different people, but arguably more than just a roof over one’s head. Whilst these dream home interpretative drawings are missing the human element, they still do echo the larger sentiments of an asset-rich, cash poor society, where public housing by virtue of inexorably extensive urban planning and renewal, are ‘rented’ to citizens. This project bears certain semblance to the movie Singapore Dreaming directed by Woo Yen Yen, where in dreaming, we stay alive.