|Inventory: New Art from Southeast Asia
Images with permission from Osage Singapore
The meaning of Inventory requires deeper thinking then I thought. Yes, there’s a list of artist exhibiting, but it is hardly a fraction of the gallery’s stable.
The title of the exhibition suggests taking stock of new commissioned works by Poklong Anading (Philippines), Cheo Chai-Hiang (Singapore), Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore), Lee Kit (Hong Kong), Vincent Leong (Malaysia), Pratchaya Phinthong (Thailand), Wit Pimkanchanapong (Thailand), and Tintin Wulia (Indonesia). Osage as an enterprise supports contemporary art in more ways than small scale museums in South East Asia; Inventory will be more apt to refer to all the shows curated under the flag of Osage, and not just the selected 8. Inventory as a theme conjures the impression of grandiose Biennale-scale-type exhibition. But this is clearly not.
Therefore Inventory is better understood with reference to the individual artists’ works: taking stock of semiotic, social, political, economic, technological and emotional ‘systems’.
The exhibition then opens up a plethora of critique of the society we inhabit and the space and place artists have as observers, evidence collectors and creators of unique systems of value. For example, Ho Tzu Nyen’s work questions conceptual video art – the self-referential, circular argument that surrounds a short video work. The choice of white as the prevalent colour of the video is intentional, signifying innocence and purity, and emptiness. The video is placed on ‘infinite’ loop, like a rhetoric played on loop so common in video art. Here, an impossible logic is looped, just like the story of an old man who climbed a cliff only to find an old man, who began to tell the story of an old man who climed a cliff…