Gajah Gallery is delighted to announce its first solo exhibition by Singapore-based artist Siew Kee Liong, entitled Objects (II).
In the 1990s, Siew was involved with 5th Passage, a pioneering artist-run initiative that subverted the boundaries of authorized spaces for art in Singapore, and gathered figures who are now renowned in Singapore's contemporary art history, such as Suzann Victor, Susie Lingham and Ray Langenbach. Striving to give the "ready-made" public of civic centres access to the arts, 5th Passage was a haven for artists to experiment with a diverse range of art forms, from performance art, installation to photography. Consequently, the initiative provided Siew the chance to display his signature large-scale photography of found objects.
Influenced by the notion of dissolution from the I-Ching, which in the artist's own words, refer to "the final stage of everything, not destruction or violence, but dissolution as a natural phase of life", Siew's selection of broken objects carefully placed and conscientiously photographed invite a quiet contemplation of the transient nature of objecthood. In magnifying ordinary, functional objects, a few of which seemed no longer useful—black gloves; a corkscrew; fragile, broken plates—he leads audiences to a poignant reflection on, and perhaps acceptance of, life's inherent dichotomies and ephemerality.
In Objects (II), Siew revisits these landmark works from his 1993 exhibition Objects and Remembrances, the first time he exhibited under the auspices of 5th Passage. Presenting his found-object photographic prints on industrial building materials such as plywood, the images he produced extend beyond the photographic realm into the realm of mixed-media installations, challenging photographic norms of the era. Recreated using up-to-date printing technologies, his large-scale photo-installations similarly transform spaces into places of meditative repose. As such, Siew's artworks spark an acute awareness of the distinction existing between perception and sensation – the vicarious experience of sensory information evoked through the imagination, as opposed to the physical experience in itself.
Press release courtesy Gajah Gallery.