Stepping into Intersection exhibition, you will be immersed into an ink wash of vibrant colour, a lingering scent of incense and something magical, a map of poems, and the gentle twittering of birds at dawn. Launching as one of the first official Singapore Art Week events, this exhibition is worthy of a visit.
An encounter between poetry and visual art, this show is a collaboration between poet Marc Nair (recipient of the 2016 Young Artist Award) and visual international artist Nicola Anthony (whose public artworks you will have spotted lighting up Marina Bay last year). The show maps an architecture of memory at the junction of three diverse cities: London, Singapore and Yangon.
The exhibition has been three years in the making and both artists took time to journey to each city to engage in field research. Nicola’s artworks reflect and even embed Marc’s poems and, in turn, the poems evolve in response to Nicola’s artworks in a creative dialogue.
The exhibition consists of drawings, paintings, poetry, kinetic and light sculptures, with installation works. An artist book, based on the exhibition, is also part of the project, launched on the opening night of the exhibition. It is printed as a limited edition risograph, a technique resulting in exquisite pages with the feel of handmade screen prints.
In this show, Marc’s poems organically bloom in everyday objects which are displaced by Nicola to enter into the art realm. As an example, To Mecca, a poem which reminds us that Kampong Glam was once the pilgrim hub for Southeast Asia, is written onto a ship and imprisoned in a bottle. Referring to history and strata of memories, drawings hide themselves in layered artworks such as Merchant Road, whilst in others such as After Oud, laser-cut letters are displayed in glass vessels like objects in a cabinet of curiosities.
Throughout her career Nicola has made extensive use of paper and text in experimental forms such as her signature technique of hand burning her drawings with incense sticks; which in Intersection subtly refers to themes of faith and death. In other pieces, when Marc’s poems address the passage of time and change, the dilution of watercolour ink on calligraphy paper epitomises the constant transformations of the cities and the ephemeral nature of life.
By comparing cross-sections of neighbourhoods in their home cities of London and Singapore, and in a completely new city, Yangon, Marc and Nicola strive to express the secret links which bind personal and national stories. Ultimately they show how a universal dimension exists in any personal experience, transcending time and space.
Part of this exhibition, a sculpture-installation titled Observatory, (2m x 2m x 2m), will be showcased at Singapore Contemporary Art Fair (Suntec Singapore and Convention Centre, from 20 to 22 January). The installation will then relocate to Intersections gallery for the second half of the exhibition.
Observatory is an immersive, interactive installation made from thousands of paper scrolls and light. Observatory references the bird’s nest and the honeycomb structure of a beehive- a space that visitors can step inside to observe themselves and the world around them: a chamber of observation.
For Observatory Marc Nair has written a series of short poems as part of the artwork. These are ‘windows’ into moments and lives, observed through the yearning of time and distance. Visitors are free to pick up these poetic fragments from the nest, and even leave their own pieces behind.
Both the book and the exhibition are supported by funding from the National Arts Council. Nicola Anthony’s artworks were created while she was artist in residence at the NPE Art Residency.
For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/126389184494430/
Intersections: 34 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198892
Opening: January 10, 2017
Part 1: 11 January to 11 February
Part 2: 25 February to 5 March