it's the third edition of Singapore Biennale and the exhibition titled Open House is an invitation to take glimpses of everyday life and encounters of people in general. my schedule only allowed me to visit Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and its nearby SAM at Q8 skipping the old Kallang airport and the National Museum of Singapore.
my favorite work is Maiden of the Ba Tree by Malaysian-Chinese Chang Yoong Chia. 35 pieces of meticulously oil painted porcelain spoons lined from right to left which narrates a story of a mother who thought her son had deserted her and was left alone to wait for his return. time pasted and she grew old and fragile and became hopeless, it's then revealed that her son had never left her side. it was only the mother's own failure to acknowledge her son's existence but to focus on the negativity in life. a beautiful and sad story told using probably the most symbolic tool of a porcelain spoon used in every traditional Chinese household when feeding the children, representing years of nurture by the parents and their certain expectation of the children.
|male mannequins covered in lace to dissolve the guarded boundaries of male and female status of power|
SAM was showing simultaneously a donation collection of my favorite contemporary Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong (吴冠中) - Seeing the Kites Again. a video documentary was played in memory of the great artist's love and labor for art; how daily lives, especially during those years he spent leading a life of village commoner, inspired him. metaphored as an unbroken line of a kite between the artist and the community. a lesser known story was revealed of the love and support Wu received from his wife Zhu Bi Qin throughout their lives.
Singapore Biennale opens until may 15. find out more at singaporebiennale.org.
Incidentally, I ran into an exhibition held at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) of the late Chen Yifei (陳逸飛), another leading Chinese artist whose style coined the new romantic realism of Chinese contemporary art. an artist, fashion mogul and entrepreneur; he had transitioned from a painter of the Chinese Cultural Revolution to a filmmaker and a fashion designer. Chen's lifestyle and fashion retail empire once was housed in 162 points of sale nationwide. though Layefe Home at Shanghai Xintiandi was closed in 2007, it was moved to Tianzhifang at Taikang Lu and had since become a showing platform for budding new contemporary artists in China.
Requiem is a collection of Chen's works that display the blurred aesthetics between art and film, sentimental of beautifully stylished people of the past, filled with nostalgia for the old Shanghai.
Requiem (in loving memory of Chen Yifei) will run until May 9 at MAD, #03-01, Mandarin Gallery, Singapore.