Despite the increasing avenues in which to access art (we’re not about to go into the convoluted argument on what constitutes art, that’s a whole other can of worms), to the layman, art tends to still have intimidating connotations associated with it.
Perhaps part of the reason that discourages people is the white cube experience – or basically the default mode in which institutions display art – think sterile white walls, monastic silence and hovering gallery sitters. Looking to change that perception is Form|Matter, a new exhibition that came about as a result of a collaboration between Instinc, a local art gallery, and Moyem, the new kid on the aesthetic clinic block.
Featuring the works of three local artists – Justin Lee, Yeoh Wee Hwee and Yeo Shih Yun – it’s purportedly Singapore’s first exhibition to be held in an aesthetic clinic. One of the aims of the exhibition is to “expose the average person to high quality artwork in an approachable way”.
We speak to Instinc founder and curator of the exhibtion, Yeo Shih Yun, to find out how she’s planning to do so:
How did this collaboration come about?
I was approached by the director of Moyem, Lai Kok Hui – he is also an avid art collector. He was just toying with the idea of bringing art into his new clinic and we discussed over a few dinners. It is a fresh idea and additionally, we have a huge network of both local and international artists as we run an artist residency program. Also, it is really tough to find spaces to exhibit in Singapore, so I thought why not have a try? You don’t know until you try!
Why did Instinc decide to collaborate with, of all places, an aesthetics clinic?
I like the fact Moyem… is not a white cube sterile environment, which a lot of clinics are. Moreover, we feel that art has a natural affinity to aesthetics as the latter is a combination of art and science.
Moyem bills itself as a “luxury aesthetic clinic” – which could be an intimidating space as an aesthetic clinic is not a location one typically just walks into. What are your thoughts on this?
It is true that Moyem is a “luxury aesthetic clinic”and it might be intimidating if you are not a patient at the clinic. For what it’s worth, the nurses are well-trained and they are very friendly when visitors come to view the artworks. On the flip side, from a Moyem’s patient’s perspective, the clinic does provide a “non-intimidating” environment for the patients to browse the art works, which is something they don’t get to do when they visit other clinics.
How were the three artists in the exhibition chosen?
As it is the first exhibition, we wanted it to have a good mix of different type of works so the audience are exposed to different mediums. For me, my abstract works are paintings of geometric and organic shapes and lines, composed of layers of ink, acrylic and other mediums that allude to the gestural surface marks of Abstract Expressionism. For Justin Lee, he was chosen as he is very established as a pop artist, so it was interesting to see how he responds to this space and theme. I admire Yeoh Wee Hwee’s use of cellulose tape very much – she transforms simple materials into gorgeous sculptures.
What do you hope people will take away from this exhibition?
We hope that our art can invigorate viewers. All the works are somehow very playful, and they’re diverse and fun to simply look at.
Can people expect more of such exhibitions to continue at Moyem in future?
Yes! We have another exhibition in the pipeline featuring Valerie Ng (Malaysia) and Margaret Lanzetta (New York) which opens on 21 February. We plan to curate 3-4 exhibitions every year featuring interesting up-and-coming artists from around the world.
Form|Matter is on now till February 19 at Moyem
1 Kim Seng Promenade Great World City #03-15 Singapore, 237994
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