Art Stage 2014

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Art Stage 2014, held from 16 to 19 January, was a magnet attracting top-notch galleries. There was a buffet of installations, sculptures, paintings, photographs, even performance art, within the Marina Bay Sands exhibition hall.

Here's a summary of the various pieces that had captured my attention, in both positive and repulsive manners.

Jakkai Siributr, Thailand
Rape and Pillage (2013)
Embroidery on Thai civil service uniforms

This installation is a commentary on Thailand's turbulent polities.Numerous civil service uniforms were stitched with caricatures of influential Thai personas. The crisp whiteness of the suits, coupled with the headless mannequins, evokes discomfort and a certain ghostliness.

Very interesting installations of bees! Resting on empty boxes; floating in the middle of nowhere; just looking dazed and un-busy.

Perhaps a criticism on the destruction of the insects' natural habitats and the resultant devastation to its population numbers.

(The little figures look frail but cute. Each costs 250 sgd.)

Comprised of paper and artificial moss, I think.


Juz Kitson
Changing Skin (2013)
Porcelain and mixed media

This is an installation of ceramics against a clean, blank wall. Each piece is biomorphic, an assemblage of various body innards and parts into flower-like lumps. Eerie.

I probably won't want this hanging around in the living room.

Sam Jinks
Divide (2011)
Silicone, resin and horse hair

Its title is self-explanatory in an absurdly literal manner. -.-

Painting by Penny Coss

The olive textures in the central panel, its dreamy density and slow, thoughtful motions, seems like an unfurling field of flowers.

Painting by Kim Eun Ju

At first glance, his paintings seem bland, with mere silhouettes of floral arrangements. Flat and rather unexciting stretches of blackness.

However, the rich webs of textures reveal themselves when the viewers shift closer to the artwork.

This is the first time I saw embossing as a technique used so dramatically in an artwork. Surprisingly harmonious.

(It's a pleasant piece, although not that memorable.)

Charley Case
World Mother (2013)
Ink

It is mesmerising in its swirls of meticulous red, orange and black. Very beautiful.

There isn't any "LOOK AT ME! I'M SHOCKING, GROTESQUE, THEREFORE ABSOLUTELY GROUND-BREAKING" vibe to it.

It is a very dignified piece.

Unknown artist

An office worker stands at the top of the food chain, only that there is nothing to be on top of.

Zeng Fanzhi
Mask
Oil on canvas

He paints people like pieces of meat, with unsentimental strokes and colours.

A few years back, Zeng had a solo exhibition in Singapore, with a wider range of more impressive works.

This tiny portrait is one of his older and more minor paintings.

By an unknown artist.

A crowd of people wrapping around a ball of light. In the darken room, this work seems desperately lonely.

Unknown artist

A man stands in front of infinity, looking forward to nothing.

Kenichi Yokono
The Room
Painting on wood

A molecular structure of disembodied eyes.

Sakshi Gupta
Strange Beginnings (2013-2014)
Cast cement, iron sheet and bird feathers

This caught my attention because of the surprising tuft of feathers poking out from a concrete pillar. It's strange.


Sun Yi
Water (2013)
Wood carving

Interesting combination of wood and water.

Yuna Bert
Angrybirds (2013)
Mixed media

Very current. Social commentary on the pursuit of luxurious goods?

Rinat Voligamsi
Check your eyesight (2006)
Oil on canvas

Very witty! Can you imagine entering into the room and the optician tries to test your eyesight with this board?

You'd probably be saying, "Where you're pointing at now is a housefly. Where you point next will be a housefly too."

Hahahah!


An installation by Jan Fabre

Coat made from dead beetles. Smells of preservatives :[


Anthony Gormley
Quantum Void IV (2008)
Stainless Steel

Nicely abstract. 

Chloe U-Ram
Not very sure about its title (2013)
Metallic material, machinery

My favorite piece in the entire exhibition hall. The hypnotic opening and closing of a biomorphic flower, as though it is breathing, thumping.

Very calming effect on the audience.

By an unknown artist

The glow-in-the-dark effect of the rosettes is achieved by the skillful juxtaposition of various clashing colours in close proximity. 


Artwork by Wang Tiande

Re-interpretation of the Chinese traditional painting styles, with an overlay of burn marks.


Katrin Fridriks
Stendhal Mothernature - White
Acrylic on canvas

Mesmerising textures dancing in a musical symphony. How did the artist create it? What reagents did she use?


Damien Hirst
Tityus (2012)
Entomological specimens and Hammerite paint on canvas

This work of preserved insects is by an artist known for pickling animals to display in museums.

What is the difference between observing dead animals in a natural history museum versus seeing them in an art institution?

Is it moral to order the deaths of these animals? What is morality anyway?



Rachel Kneebone
Shield (2012)
Porcelain

A fusion of limbs and phalluse, all writhing, one morphing into another. Maybe suggesting that men act, react and think with their penises?


Lu Zhengyuan
From the artist's Chronic series
Black marble

Three plastic bags carved from black marble... Perhaps the artist is suggesting that all art is rubbish?
*
Many Art Stage 2014 works, in trying to capture the attention of a fleeting audience, have chosen to be grotesque. Louder, horrific, more shocking - all to jot the anesthetized masses into feeling again, all to outdo one another. There were twisted limbs, bloodied eyeballs and mash-ups of various body parts, along with all sorts of dead insects. Sigh...

But it's really a challenge for an artwork to be outstanding in a hall with so many other brilliant works. Perhaps the grotesque nature of these artworks reflect the insecurities of their creators?

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