What do we think about when we think of ‘country’? What do such memories reveal about the wider socio-political environments that we live in, and in turn ourselves? Are the concepts of country and home one and the same? From 16 September to 8 October, Not gallery will explore the nuanced relationship between nationhood and self with the presentation of Sounding Out, an exhibition that seeks to spotlight the ways in which individuals constantly negotiate their place in society.
In exploring the age-old tension between individual and society, the featured artists have adopted a varied range of mediums, including batik, printmaking (i.e. drypoint and silkscreen), digital archival print, and oil. Nevertheless they are linked by a salient quality – specifically a heightened sense of subjective inquiry. Here, one such work is Boo Sze Yang’s The Father X (2013) which juxtaposes the confronting image of one of Singapore’s founding fathers Lee Kuan Yew against a sinister, dark purple background. In doing so, he destabilises the familiar surety associated with this prominent figure, and prompts viewers to consider the implications of equating a man with an entire country.
It is clear that such contemplation could also be engendered through more benign modes of presentation. In Joel Seow’s Our secret desire is for a change in the order of things I and Our secret desire is for a change in the order of things II, the former depicts a MRT carriage in warm tones against a dark pictorial space, following which the latter leans into the sense of comfort and nostalgia and evoke images of home as the glass panels installed on the doors of the carriage and gates at the train station give way to two fluttering, translucent curtains. The quotidian becomes a refuge.
Delving into the subject matter of other artworks, some artists have also curiously chosen to focus on the individual or the self – such as Phua Juan Yong in his Untitled (2022), Quan Zhao Lim in his Untitled (2023) and Lim Mu Hue in his Self Portrait (undated). As for other artists such as Chng Seok Tin in her Sound of Vermont No. 39 (2003) and Ho Chee Lick in his Military Hunting (The Vietnam War) (1965), they have instead looked beyond the geographical boundaries of Singapore, and voiced their opinions with regards to the Iraq War and Vietnam War respectively.
Venue: Not Gallery, #02-41, Bras Basah Complex
Hours: Mon, Tue, Thu & Sat: 12nn to 6pm
Sun: 1pm to 5pm
Wed & Fri: by appointment
When: 16 Sep - 8 Oct 2023,
By: Not Gallery