Presented by Chan Hampe Galleries @ Raffles Hotel, The Obits is an exhibition by Grieve Perspective.
Grieve Perspective is a Singapore-based art collective who use visual and written language to push the boundaries of art and explore taboo themes. The Obits focuses on the obituary as an art form that has somehow never quite taken hold in Singapore. Our newspapers feature death notices daily but nary an obituary the personal but slightly distanced profession of respect, reminiscence and regrets. It is, instead, our custom to frame our dead within boxes of rigidly determined sizes that stand like gravestones at the far end of the newspapers, sandwiched perversely between sports and business news.
Through photography, video, installation and prints, this exhibition explores the sentiment of loss, a restrained expression of grief and imagined local devastation.
This exhibition also consists of a set of obituaries framed by invited writers, who put together thoughtful words for an object of love or hatred, who has expired or is presumed dead. Complimenting this is a range of works that address the taking of one’s own life (the suicide note as prime artifact) and hapless deaths in natural disasters.
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project(s) to achieve a common objective. Collectives differ from cooperatives in that they are not necessarily focused upon an economic benefit or saving (but can be that as well). There may be some issues with meaningfully describing the qualities of a collective.
Unusual and Curious Exhibition
At the Opening, we have no idea who the artists are for this exhibition. We sighted a number of them, smiling at people who walked into the gallery; making conversations, sipping wine; laughing; talking; standing; shaking hands with strangers; pausing in front of an obituary or a print or the video presentation – doing all the things a living human being would possibly be doing at an art exhibition opening. We were curious and asked some artists if they know the names. They just smile and calmly not giving any answers. We decided to just enjoy the evening and act as if we knew the mystery!
The obituaries on display would cost quite a bit on the newspaper, with the length, in reality. What would you have on your obituary? While reading them, it reminded me of “First Light”, a play written and directed by Nelson Chia – The (dead) characters read their own obituaries after their death, reflecting on their lives.
There are no visuals to see and you may not know any of the names in the obituaries. In a way, viewers will form their own images and knowledge of the mentioned, drawing and painting the visuals from the texts. That is an interesting activity for the mind.
Life After Death
It does not end here at the gallery. Visit www.grievethink.com . I think the real exhibition is there. It is on-going, in-progress, and definitely more alive! In here, you will find that death is not the end, it is not sad. I actually laughed and was amused by most of the stuffs I read and viewed on the site.
I am not sure if it is accidental or coincidental, the site was built on MediaWiki and it has some links under ‘Toolbox’, that have names which appear somewhat appropriate to the whole idea of this project. Such as Dead-end pages, Orphaned pages, Pages linking to disambiguation pages. Many random and curious links for your after-life pleasure. Or perhaps I am reading too much into it.
Still from video “Singapored” (Photo courtesy of Chan Hampe Galleries)
24 August – 3 September 2012
Chan Hampe Galleries @ Raffles Hotel
Raffles Hotel Arcade #01-20/21
328, North Bridge Road
11 am to 7 pm daily
except on public holidays
+65 6338 1962
Texts by Karen Mitchell, photos by Eric Lim.