Sound artist Dennis Tan will present his Between the Spaces, his first solo show in Singapore. Traversing the gaps between image and sound, Dennis will exhibit a series of kinetic sculptures in The Substation Gallery that aim to challenge conventional notions of perception.
Chelsea Chua: What is your inspiration for this show?
Dennis Tan: The work stems from questioning space as an entity. As we know, if there are no pauses in language or music, the intended message could be lost, or shift from logic to nonsense. These pauses seem to create different layers of meanings and subconscious interpretations. Moreover it allows for another kind of aesthetic to emerge, leading to a deeper understanding of language and appreciation of music. We are thus engulfed in spaces in every imaginable activity that we do. Even in our personal interactions with people, we either offer or deny spaces in-between.
CC: Could you tell me a little more about your sculptures?
DT: The works consists of kinetic visual sculptures and sounds. I’m interested in the use of kinetic visual elements to create sounds that illustrate the possibility of frequencies that have been manifested through the interaction of visual and audio elements. In general, we habitually only use one of our senses at any one time. For example, when we think about music, we think audibly; likewise, we process advertisements and billboards visually. However in my artworks, I have attempted to bridge the link between these elements, and by doing so, extend into the third or even fourth dimension, gradually letting the art pieces to reveal one by one its own intricate universe.
CC: Looking at your body of work, you seem to be interested in examining the gaps between our ability to perceive sound and image.
DT: It is not so much the gaps that I’m interested as opposed to the crossover or switch in perceptions. Working with sound forms the core of my practice, and it functions both as an idea and a concept. Furthermore, I’m curious about the human psyche – its spirituality and its communication patterns, how we relate not only the other human beings but towards the self and possibly other dimensions. I would define my works as an experiential process, and a search for an understanding of the metaphysical side of life.
CC: What has it been like for you to come back to Singapore after many years of practising as an artist in Germany?
DT: My practice as an artist started in Germany, so I’m only starting to get to know the local scene since my return to Singapore. Naturally there are many differences both culturally and socially. Singapore is a growing country with its own restrictions, which sometimes affect artists and the arts community. Of course there are always exceptions to this, especially given the diversity of Singaporeans. However, overall I do find it a challenge living and working in Singapore.
By Chelsea Chua
Between the Spaces is on at The Substation Gallery from Friday, 25 April to Sunday 3 May 2014. The Substation Gallery is open daily from 12pm to 9pm, and is closed on public holidays. Admission is free. The Substation is located at 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936. Do join us for the artist talk on Saturday 26 April 2014, 2pm.
Dennis Tan, All that we have, 2013, Sound Installation
Cloth, pins, speakers, saw dust, hair, dirt, gold dust, silver dust, food coloring
Dimensions, 180 x 200 cm