Monthly Archives: January 2011

Just Type by Jesvin Yeo.

Just Type It.

The title of the exhibition is recognisable and distinct in two ways. It represents a casual, free-spirit just-do-it mentality, as well as a frank, honest statement of the content of the exhibition – just about showing different design of letters.

The exhibition at Chapel Gallery, Sculpture Square consist of three Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) interactive projections, each dealing with the use typography. Armed with RFID alphabet tags cut from acrylic, they trigger different sequences of animation clips. By following the instructions and waving it near a trigger zone, different tags would trigger different animation sequences. Firstly, personification of 10 Type faces, revealing a sketch of what the types look like as ‘fashionista’,  with a short description of their personalities.

The second work narrates a short history of different type faces, their founders, use and updates. Typeset in the chosen typeface, the animated letters fly in and off the screen with motion graphic style.

The third work puns on Singlish, creating pangrams – sentences that use every letter of the alphabet at least once – with comical effect.

The large alphabet tags resembled identity tags, meant to be hung round the neck as if we associated ourselves with the alphabet. The letter we first reach out for, might as well be the initials of our names.

The exhibition just scratched the surface of an emerging design conscious consumerist society. The decision to purchase a bottle of mineral water may well depend on the bottle design, the choice of typeface more so than the price. A limited edition of Issey Miyaki designed bottled Evian Mineral Water (750ml) retailed at close to S$20.

The exhibition felt like a learning gallery, injected with the designer’s humour. I enjoyed the Singlish pangrams and the attempt to spell or misspell words. We learnt about type history and the use of typefaces in print. Presented in a casual manner, it drives home the importance of typography in the printed matter we see all around us and that they are carefully chosen.  By using and exhibiting type in this unusual, slightly interactive manner, the designer has made excellent classroom examples of the innovative use of typography, layout, colours and motion in design.

6.0 of 10 stars.

Solo Exhibition | Just Type
The Sculpture Square | 13 – 30 Jan 2011

Other links:

http://www.jesvinyeo.com/
Wikipedia entry on typefaces.

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Art Stage at Marina Bay Sands

Premiering on the Art World Market

Tom Dixon’s Comet Lamp, in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot at Art Stage. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Art Stage is by far the largest Art Fair Singapore has ever seen, trumping Affordable Art Fair (2010), Art Singapore (2000 – ), Tresors Art Fair ( 1993-2002). Art Stage serves a larger purpose and national agenda then simply complementing Singapore’s cultural calendar. Art Stage offers a wide repertoire of international contemporary artworks (and artists) which range from blue chip Picasso to contemporary China-powered, monumental Ai Weiwei. There are 2 aspects of the exhibition worth discussing here: the economic value of art and ‘internationalisation of the art scene’ through an art fair as opposed to sponsoring Singapore artists at an international art exhibition such as Documenta or Venice Biennale.

Firstly, it couldn’t have a better match of venue to an event puts monetary value on art when it’s held at the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. One of two casino-based developments, the Integrated Resort has created jobs, attract investments, and propelling Singapore’s speedy recovery from the economic downturn. Similar to the IT fair that displays cutting edge technology and sell IT stuff, the Art fair showed latest art and sold art. The concept of art having a monetary value may be alien to some, especially if the artwork is challenging to the aesthetic senses, space and time. Take Ai Weiwei’s Through for instance, towering 5.5m and occupying 115 square metres. Conceptually, his work questions the value system and hierarchies of power in China, but to some, the installation is a misplaced pile of oddly arranged discarded wood. In a Gordon Matta-Clark reconstructive manner, these reconstituted antique furniture, beams and pillars from the Qing dynasty also questions the definition of sculpture and space. Unless you are a private collector or museum of substantial means with an acquired taste, a large exhibition hall or warehouse to store, the thought of buying it would never cross your mind.

To explain the economic value of art involves an understanding of buying ‘services’ and ‘products’. Art isn’t quite entertainment, but some would compare art to a luxury good. Prospecting or speculating art aside, Art lies between a service and a product – it yields intangible satisfaction similar to those from the luxury service industry and thus commands a high price; it is a unique object that commands design, material and labour costs. In simple terms, people are willing to pay good money for good art, because they derive pleasure from looking at or owning art.

Secondly, ‘internationalisation of the art scene’ could mean different things. It might mean educating the Singapore audience by bringing an international cast of artists and artworks of different sensibilities and aesthetics. It might mean showing the world what Singapore art is, through an international art fair frequented by who’s who in the global art world. Arguably, Art Stage could be seen as a fragmented exhibition, subsidized by the art galleries. Despite the S$30 entrance charge for adults, S$10 for students, it does succeed to round up many interesting artworks which would not normally be shown locally.

On boosting the exposure of Singapore art, much remains to be desired. We can’t brand Singapore Art without knowing what it is, without resolving issues of identity and hybrid culture. In addition, artists need to reexamine the art they make and reflect on two issues: craftsmanship and concept. Only when one’s position in an internationalised art scene is considered, and affirmation given by local collectors or supporters, can Singapore Artists make their real debut on the Art Stage.

9.0 of 10 stars

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All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:

-William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2 Scene 7

“No other continent has a comparable potential and comparable perspectives. Art Stage Singapore is the perfect response to its demands and needs. It is an international top event that supports and enables the connection of the rising art scenes of Asia, inclusive its galleries, collectors, art institutions and art fairs, with those worldwide and serves as an important cultural bridge between the Eastem and the Western hemispheres.” – Lorenzo Rudolf, Director Art Stage, Singapore, Art Stage Website

“Rather than spending money on high- prestige events such as the Venice Biennale and Singapore Season, the council is reviewing the use of such platforms to see if it could make better use of its money to develop Singapore artists.” Adeline Chia, The Straits Times on Benson Phua, CEO of the National Arts Council, Singapore,  November 22, 2010

“Art Stage is supported by the Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore Tourism Board, National Heritage Board and the National Arts Council. The budget remains undisclosed.” Deepika Shetty, Stage Set for Premium Art Show, The Straits Times, Jan 13, 2011.

Read others:

Elaine Ee-Meyers, Art Stage Singapore: Highlighting the Best Local Artist, CNNGo, accessed on Jan 23, 2011 at  http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/life/curator-eugene-tan-puts-singapore-art-global-stage-art-stage-singapore-074441

2010 in review

I received this summary in my email about my blog’s progress. As a person dealing with numbers, evidence and targets on a daily basis, I thought I will share this will my readers:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 24 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 207 posts. There were 10 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 903kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 16th with 136 views. The most popular post that day was (Con)Front by John Clang.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were  facebook.com, opencontours.wordpress.com, printeresting.org, and ngjoonkiat.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for boonscafe, ian woo, simryn gill, ong hui har, and chua chye teck.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

(Con)Front by John Clang June 2010
2 comments

2

About February 2006
26 comments

3

Mind. Body. Spirit by Li Chen October 2009

4

Jane Lee at Osage, Singapore November 2009

5

Encountering Cheong Soo Pieng June 2010
1 comment