In Living room in the Tropics, 2016
my residency studio space in the NTU-Center for Contemporary Art was turned into a living/sitting room made up of objects and artworks from invited artists and lenders.
Art works and objects were camouflaged among themselves, sofas and other items of the interior, where visiting audience sat on and with them, having tea and experiencing the studio as a space of domestic hospitality or 'hosting'.
“...But 'british colonial in the tropics' is a style.. usually featuring tropical plants and animal motifs,
lush open-air landscapes....everything that caters to the sense of fantasy and escapism..
Meanwhile tropical peoples shied away from 'ethnic' style as they strived to attain modernisation -because it was associated with backwardness and savagery, colonialist projections that corrected their self-image about traditional cultural aesthetics...
... It's still there, the tropical being’s self-consciousness -- fears of looking 'exotic' , i.e. highlighting their Otheredness .”
The sitting or living room is a shared social space within a dwelling functioning as a display of sorts: it implies a presentation to those it is hosting. Here hang trophies- signifiers and symbols of aspirations and realities, practicalities and pretensions...
This presentation space of the domestic, with its inherent intimacy and exposure, sabotages objectivity or elevation. Its display is tempered by use.
With works from Weixin Quek Chong, Pauline Emond, James Seow, Julio Galeote, Susie Wong, Hadas Auerbach, Anastasia Mina, Zadie Xa, Benito Mayor Vallejo, Tim Zercie, Luca Lum and objects from Shubigi Rao, Kamiliah Mahmon-Bahdar, Mike HJ Chang, Michy Witchy, Xiangyun Loh, Paul Chong and Hyuhar Quek