The exhibition Being Made will showcase sixteen sculptures by Brother Joseph McNally (1923-2002) and Shui Tit Sing (1914-1997), two of Singapore’s most accomplished 20th-century artists. The exhibition title typifies the act of transformation: an apt descriptor for how trees that have been felled and transformed into wood can reclaim and embody life under the hands of visionary sculptors.
Shui Tit Sing had reflected upon the link between day-to-day lived realities and his wood carvings in 1978: “My wood sculpture style, influenced by the art of Angkor, is a representation of oriental art. My works are narratives of the simple and hardworking lifestyle of ethnic South East Asians engaging in various daily activities.”
On the other hand, Brother McNally’s reflections on the medium of wood in 2000 reveal a reverence for material: “I do love wood as being very deeply ungrained by the Divine Spirit. Hence I regard the wooden “model” as being the original and I use every known device to bring out its natural beauty … wood is part of me.” More than two decades on, this exhibition – to open on the centenary of his birth on 10 August 1923 – presents a selection of Brother McNally’s oeuvre in his favoured medium.
Being Made builds upon a simple starting point – gathering to examine both sculptors’ productions in wood. Choreographed by young art director Gagandeep Singh Sidhu, this one-of-a-kind exhibition breaks away from conventional white-cube presentations of modern sculpture with a maximalist approach. Each of the sculptures features as a protagonist in a mise en scène comprising other elemental material such as soil, metal, mirror and fabric.
Amble along a plank-lined path, apprehend sculptures – some totemic, some figural – seemingly emerged from earth, a force of nature present yet impalpable. Mirrored surfaces allow us to see the sculptures, and even ourselves from different dimensions and perspectives. In the apparent rubble, post-apocalyptic hopes are signalled.
The exhibition is supplemented by an archival showcase of both sculptors jointly curated by artist-archivist Koh Nguang How and Wang Zineng. Koh has presented the archive and collection of Shui Tit Sing in Singapore and Cambodia in the past ten years.
Being Made is an inventive and uniquely scenographic exhibition that all art lovers are invited to experience. All sculptures are available for acquisition.
Venue: Art Agenda, 39 Keppel Road, #02-01, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Singapore 089065
When: 10 Aug - 30 Sep 2023, 1pm - 6pm