We are but mirrors of society and the world-at-large, intimately connected through composition and structure in a mixture of creation, destruction and renewal. Kosmos (which reads as order in English), speaks of a harmonious arrangement of parts in a system. What transpires in the universe (macrocosm) parallels the individual or self (microcosm), a concept rooted in Greek philosophy.
As the individual embarks on a search for meaning and the purpose of existence, s/he identifies with the construct of the world. Loi Cai Xiang uses biological processes to illustrate the relation between the two. Within the body, homeostasis is a tendency of our body to adapt or resist change to maintain a constant internal environment of factors such as temperature and metabolism which, in turn, maintain life. At a macro level, stability in society is guarded through similar adaptation and resistance via policy adjustment and maintenance of its status quo - to sustain the harmony and balance of a collective state of existence.
Autolysis, one of the paintings titled within the exhibition, refers to the destruction of injured or dying cells by their own enzymes to promote wound healing, or during decomposition. Nutrients and molecules are returned to the earth to fuel new life. Consider this parallel in society, with the constant upgrading of infrastructure and buildings weighted down with heritage and memory, viewed as architectural ruins in the face of development and efficiency. Given competing needs of society versus the self, the artist questions if it is possible to strike a balance of individualism and purpose within a collective state of existence; while in search of personal meaning to life and living.
Loi Cai Xiang (b. 1992, Singapore) was awarded the Cliftons Art Prize in 2017 and 2016. Following a sold-out solo exhibition titled Void in 2017 at Chan + Hori Contemporary in Singapore, he has participated in group exhibitions such as Shifting Tides at the ASEAN Gallery in Jakarta, Indonesia (2019), Size Matters: A Question of Scale and Alma Matter at Chan + Hori Contemporary in Singapore (2018).
Press release courtesy Chan + Hori Contemporary.