Known for her conceptual prowess and ability to articulate complex ideas in technically challenging forms, Victor is one of Singapore’s most pronounced artists to date; her calibre and long-standing commitment positions her as an exemplary and important figure in our arts landscape – one to highlight as Singapore reflects on Victor’s contributions and developments in the art world with Art Week 2015.
As celebrations abound for Singapore’s 50th jubilee, STPI kick-starts the year with “Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor”, a bountiful showcase of the artist’s profound creations in print methods and materials that differ from her customary use of theatrical devices, kinetic mechanisms, performance installations and object experimentations with the body, chandeliers and light.
Her residency at STPI evolved into a unique spectrum of over 60 carefully considered works that challenged and exceeded the boundaries of print and paper. As rare additions to her artistic oeuvre and a testament to STPI’s dynamic collaborative space for building and harnessing artistic developments in Singapore and beyond, these delicate and honest works are multiple ‘firsts’ for Victor as well as the Institute. The etchings or ‘acid paintings’ – results of Victor’s abstract, performative approach of circling the copper plate without any fixed orientation – are the largest spit-bite aquatints to be made at STPI; while the décollages mark an initial encounter with the sensuality of the paper process. These works will be shown concurrently at STPI’s booth D13 at Art Stage where her presence proves strong. The etchings have already graced the prominent fair grounds of Art Basel Miami Beach in 2014.
As the title suggests, “Imprint” not only refers to the residual trace of the artist’s hand and the characteristics of this body of work but it also references her residency experience and the impression she hopes to leave on viewers.
Collectively, they demonstrate sheer critical thought and her proficiency in utilising materiality to draw out metaphorical and literal opacities—leaving much room for varied interpretation. She explores relations between spaces, objects and ideas while engaging the viewer as an active participant to her works.
Sydney-based Victor has garnered much attention in recent years particularly amongst local art institutions, and identifies herself as a Singapore artist who sees her time away as a boon, giving her “the ability to choose and be discerning about the values one embraces to form one’s identity”, a notion she believes to be “less about purity and more about complexity and diversity” for “we learn so much from the ‘other’”. And she does not forget her roots.
In the series I was like that myself… we all held each other’s hands, Victor reflects on the ever-changing cultural landscape of Singapore, pondering the loss of what was once familiar and coherent to her such as the local vernacular. The work holds much nostalgia for the artist and induces viewers to ponder our own experience of the transforming nation, where primary markers of “Singaporeanness” are dissipating. Fresnel lenses affixed on top of black and white photographic images from coolie days at once display a sense of dislocation in its fragmented composition.
Exhibition: Imprint: New Works by Suzann Victor
Dates: 18 January – 21 February 2015
Hours: Tue – Fri: 10 – 7pm; Sat: 9 – 6pm; closed on Mon, Sun and PH
Exhibition Tour: Saturdays 2.30pm
Panel: with Suzann Victor, Susie Lingham, Eitaro Ogawa, 18 January 2015, 2.30 – 3.30pm, at STPI Gallery
Collectors’ Talk: with Sylvain Levy (DSL Collection) and STPI Director Emi Eu, Supported by The Artling, 24 Jan, 1:30 – 2:30pm, at STPI Gallery
Venue: STPI, 41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236