Sculpture in the Park


(Casey Chen, Making Cents, 2011, Bronze)

Art interacting with the environment

Sculpture in the Park is an eclectic collection of sculptures and installations, placed in Fort Canning Park. Part of Sculpture Society’s 10th anniversary exhibition, this public display of art, centres on the theme ‘ art and the environment’. The theme, read deeper, is not ‘art for the environment’ – it is not an exhibition that exhorts the audience to think about climate change. Instead, it delves at the need to value public art, art made for the public. The works generally evoke different responses, some interacting more successfully with the surrounding, within the context of the park. The most successful works were well sited and genuinely provided an artist’s viewpoint on the issue of art and the environment; the less successful ones were less confident, one dimensional, and perched unwittingly onto trees or obscure corners of the park. As sculptures interacting with the environment, scale becomes vital; scale must be coherent with the message of the work.

My favourite work in this collection, must be Casey Chen’s Making Cents. In true pop art, Claes Oldenburg fashion, two enlarged 50 cent coins appear to have fallen from the sky and landed unassumingly in the park. As a pun, the artist is giving his ’50 cents’ worth of opinion – the average earthlings doesn’t value the environment as much, or is unable to do so for reasons beyond the self.

That seems to resonate with public opinion of public sculptures – confusion between aesthetic value and utilitarian value. This confusion could be subdued by growing, inculcating a greater sense of respect for public art and what public art stands for and means. Easier said or blogged than done, that begins by commissioning more public sculptures and exhibitions on sculptures. Commissioning artworks, is like research and development is to medical or scientific fields. The exciting art seen at Art Stage and Collectors’ Stage suggest that collectors are at the forefront of supporting the arts, more so than government bodies can match with public money. However, in the art world that is questioning the validity of segregating art forms – when contemporary artists resist labeling their art forms – commissioning sculptures that are only in bronze or stainless steel may be limiting. The challenge for the audience is recognising when good art happens, it’s aesthetic value becomes the function and purpose of the object.

And that’s my 2 cents worth.

6.0 of 10 stars

Site Specific Works – Sculpture in the Park,
11 Jun – 11 Sep 2011, Sculpture Society (Singapore), Fort Canning Park, free admission

Sculpture in the Park

Sculpturing Singapore: 10 years on,
Exhibition Area Level 10, National Library Building, free admission

Sculpturing Singapore – 10 Years On

Sculpture Society, Singaporehttp://www.sculpturesociety.org.sg/

Singapore Public Art Database, by Peter Schoppert: http://www.publicart.sg/

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