Grey Projects

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No Approval [2013]

No Approval, Aug13, curated by Jason Wee, with Louis Ho, Installation-shot.jpg

[15.08.13 — 31.08.13]

Artists: Angela Guo, Elvin Ching, Ezzam Rahman, Farah Ong, Felicia Low, Ghazi Alqudcy, Guo Yixiu, Khai Rahim, Lee Gwo Yinn, Loo Zihan, Marla Bendini, Sarah Choo

Curated by: Jason Wee & Louis Ho

Beneath the appearance of a choice is a much more severe order is an introspection of nature versus nurture. Living in a heteronormative society, much have been questioned and reflected about being queer and if our sexual orientation is a choice or one is simply “born this way”. As suggested by Slavoj Zizek, the appearance of a choice is a tricky question. We often like to think that every choice that we make in our lives is often a self-regulated decision but perhaps, these choices again, can be examined when broken down into many different underlying factors that make up our decision-making. From the collected childhood images of both heterosexuals and homosexuals, what is intended to highlight is that every child is born without a sexual preference.

Angela Guo is a multi-disciplinary artist who graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2013. Her work focuses on the explorations of perceptual conundrums through reinterpretations of the everyday environment. By creating obscure visual experiences, she seeks to prompt viewer’s self-awareness about the phenomenology and diversity of perception. • www.angelaguo.com

Farah Ong is a performing artist whose background derives strongly from theatre. Apart from performing, she is also an avid photographer. Ong studied Drama in LASALLE College of the Arts and recently pursued her studies again, graduating with a Diploma in Fine Arts, majoring in Fine Art Photography.

Ong now juggles her time with performing, teaching speech and drama and conceptualising and creating photographic images embedded with social and religious issues. Although her experience lies strongly in performing and acting, she enjoys the various forms of creative expression via different disciplinary practice. Her current endeavour is to seek her own performative language by combining the two-dimensionality of photography and three-dimensionality of performing within performance art.

These series of works are a depiction on how the artist feels at times. Feeling small, rejected and on constant self-doubting.

Ezzam Rahman is practicing multi-disciplinary artist, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fine Arts from the University of Huddersfield. His works have been presented in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, London, and Slovenia, to name a few. He curated the Roving Artists segment at The Substation for the annual Night Festival from 2010 to 2012, and was the co-director for the Fetter Field Performance Art Event in Singapore from 2006 to 2009 and again in 2012. One of his experimental shorts is part of a travelling showcase called Human Frames, by French video art distributor, Lowave.

Laughter is contagious and could be seen as a weapon of mass destruction. Try putting 500 obese, fat and ugly queers trapped in a gas chamber. How sad yet funny.

Ghazi Alqudcy is a Singaporean filmmaker whose works have been screened in many countries, such as Australia, UK, Germany, Indonesia, as well as, galleries like the Valentine Wille Gallery, Singapore. In 2007, Ghazi had a retrospective screening of three of his films - Laskhmi, Serah Diri and Block 46 at The Substation's Guinness Theatre.

In late 2011, Alqudcy was also invited to attend the Asian Producer's Lab at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea. This inaugural session is organised by the Network of Asian Fantastic Films.

2012 marks the year that Alqudcy graduated with a BFA in Digital Filmmaking under the Temasek Endowment Fund Sunburst Scholarship. He was also previously awarded the Goh Chok Tong Youth Promise Award Scholarship in 2008.

He is currently teaching Moving Images and Sound workshop at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. His motto is "Buy less T-shirts and make more films".

The interlocking strands of a cane; shredded, interweaves tightly into a spherical shape. The cane, used in its nature to tame and subdue is a common metaphor for discipline among Singaporeans. The handles, created for ease in carrying out the punishment, are in bright, candy colours.

Almost akin to a clown’s laughter, it is both comforting and terrifying all at once.

Yet, despite it all, such a tool has become a common memory for all Singaporeans; a reminder to our authoritarian nature, and of our closely knitted commonness towards one another.

The primary artistic concern of Guo Yixiu is the exploration of 'culture' within the context of Singapore. Guo's materials are derived from banal objects found within the everyday. These objects have been transformed into photographs, paintings, and most recently, into sculptural works. The element of ‘play’ is a critical element in Guo’s work. Often employing characteristics found in design, Guo’s works are interplays of functionality versus non- functionality.

Guo Yixiu is an emerging young artist who has exhibited both internationally and locally. Guo was awarded the Gold with Honours Award in the 2008 Singapore Youth Festival, Arts and Craft Exhibition, as well as the 27th UOB Painting of the Year, Representational Category winner title. Guo is also the 1st prize recipient in the 2012 Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Still Photography Award, as well as the 3rd prize recipient for the category “Fine Art: Collage Pro” in the 2012 International Photography Awards. Guo is also one of the youngest artist to be exhibiting in the upcoming Singapore Biennale 2013. • www.guoyixiu.com

Many places like our cities, our neighbourhoods, and even our homes are loosely defined territories inscribed not merely by the laws of ownership but by also implicit and shifting inflections of presence, conspicuous or otherwise. Driven by his constant interest with the issues of spatial conflict between straightness and queerness, the artist confronts his own personal struggle of being “the other” at home. Here, the term “conceal” refers to the act of keeping from being seen, observed, or discovered, to a certain extent, to hide.

Curry puff is a popular local snack. It is a small pie consisting of specialised curry with chicken and potatoes in a deep-fried or baked pastry shell, and it looks like the Portuguese stuffed bread called Empanada. Other common varieties include sardines and onions or sweet fillings such as yam.

Pecah! playfully re-evaluates the views and expectations that have been imprinted towards these curry puffs. The artist uses iconography of this very familiar local delight to introduce an element of campiness and position them as the completely “other”.

Khairullah Rahim (b. 1987) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine arts (Painting, with a First Class Honours) from LASALLE College of the Arts, in partnership with Goldsmiths, College of London in 2013. Rahim was also a recipient of the Future Leadership Scholarship (Full) from the college.

He has participated actively in various exhibitions both in and outside of the college such as the France + Singapore New Generation Artists (2009), Obscure Desire (2010) and Notes In Idolatry (2011) to name a few. In addition, his works has also been showcased in numerous exhibitions and art fairs regionally in countries like Malaysia,Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2009, he bagged the 1st prize in the SLA painting competition organised by the Singapore Land Authority and recently he was shortlisted as a finalist and also the recipient of the People's Choice Award at the CLIFTONS Art Prize 2010 competition organised by CLIFTONS, Australia. Up to date, his paintings are in numerous private and corporate collections. • www.paradiseestate.carbonmade.com

Against a leonine summer - putting first things first: Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

Lee Gwo Yinn trained as a Civil Engineer but has been working as Workplace Safety and Health Officer for decades in Singapore. He took up art seriously in late June 2010. He relocated to Yangon, Myanmar from March 2013 where he continues his work mapping impact of anti-gay law and attitude. • www.leegwoyinn.blogspot.com

From February 16 – May 11, 2010, the artist ejaculated onto six canvases and created compositions with his semen. Each 8 inch by 8 inch canvas spans a two-week period, the date and time of each ejaculation was recorded with UV invisible ink.

Loo Zihan is a performance and moving-image artist based in Singapore. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Prior to pursuing his MFA, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in 2009. He has had exhibitions and showings at NEXT / Art Chicago, Macau International Performance Art Festival, Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival (Chicago) and the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. He held his debut solo exhibition Archiving Cane at The Substation Gallery in December 2012.

“3:00AM - I was impelled to take off my clothes and lie down on the metal grill along Boat Quay. As the cold metal pressed into my flesh, I could feel the pent up heat in an overcrowded normativity draining away into the Singapore River.

That did not happen.” – Ruminant*

*Ruminant is a series of complex narratives where the artist recollects through body and site inspection. The regurgitation of memory and to ruminate over them in the present — with physical and emotional sensations that creates new experiences and memories in real-time — generates content that is impalpable and separates itself from the visual output of the performance piece.

Marla Bendini” was created in 2007 as an amalgamation between art and life, to explore multiple liminal identities and fluidity in perspectives. Her multidisciplinary approach towards this amalgamation has become a signature form of hyper-visibility, using the existing politicised body as a catalyst and vehicle for further discourse. She seeks to both engage and disarm audiences and to bridge the present to what she envisions to be an inevitable trans/post-human situation.

Choo Jing Sarah is a multidisciplinary Fine Artist who has recently graduated from the Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art Design and Media. Focusing on the relationship between space and time, Choo’s work depicts identifiable moments and characters within contemporary Singaporean society. Intentionally constructed and staged, the artist reflects upon local social and cultural norms.

Choo is currently preparing for the prestigious ICON De Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award 2013 showcase, which will take place at the Asian Civilisation Museum in September. The artist has recently represented Singapore at the Santa Fe International New Media Festival in New Mexico, USA ; as well as the Nordart 2013, a contemporary art fair in Germany, Europe. A recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal Award and the 2013 Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Still Photography, Choo has also clinched the 1st Prize at The 33rd Annual College and High School Photography Contest 2013 organised by the Photographer’s Forum in Santa Barbara, USA. In 2012, she was a Finalist for the 3rd edition Julia Margaret Cameron Award, at The Worldwide Photography Gala Awards in Europe. That summer, she received several Honourable Mentions at the International Photography Awards.

The artist has since exhibited locally and internationally at venues such as: The Pingyao Photography Festival (China), Nordart 2013 (Germany), Prix De La Photography (Paris), The Harper’s Bazaar Art Fair (Jakarta), Marsio Fine Art (Jakarta) and the Nancy Victor Gallery (UK), Galerie Sogan and Art (Singapore), The Wilgus Gallery (USA). • www.sarahchoojing.com