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Of Nooks And Crannies: Faris Nakamura's Structures Play On His Fascination With Space

In the fifth edition of our annual Art & Design issue, Keng Yang Shuen spotlights five emerging Singapore-based artists who’ve captured our imagination. And what better way to know their work than by commissioning them to interpret our favourite letter? Here, we meet Faris Nakamura, the artist zeroing in on the physical relationship with space.

Faris nakamuraWhen viewed head-on, Faris Nakamura’s spare, seemingly minimalist sculptures can appear a tad two-dimensional. But unlike works that may be more immediately attention-grabbing – and to be coarse, Instagram-friendly – his art is best experienced in person. What may not be easily evident are obscured passageways, stairways and various small nooks and crannies that can only be found through active viewing – when viewers take the time and pain to examine the works from different angles.

The line of thought would be to assume his architectural pieces derive from a background in the field. But the Malay-Japanese artist was actually a flautist with the Singapore Youth Wind Orchestra prior to committing full-time to fine arts. A lack of personal space growing up with five siblings led to a growing fascination with certain public spaces (the paraphernalia of HDB blocks such as void decks and stairwells are a recurrent motif) and how people engage them beyond their intended purposes. “I wanted to understand the attachment and detachments people have towards spaces, how these relationships develop and the impact; these (utilitarian) spaces that we so often see as what they are and not what they could (potentially) be.”

Likewise, the structure he created for Female, which took two weeks to craft using wood, acrylic and metal wires, follows the same tender, sociological approach; it is intended to be an invitation for acceptance and inclusion – timely topics which will only continue to snowball. The subtle poignancy in the 31-year-old’s works clearly has an audience, especially given Singapore’s well-known propensity to demolish for progression’s sake. Over the past year alone, he’s staged three solo shows, one of which debuted at the inaugural S.E.A Focus fair last January and promptly sold out. This year, he’ll be unveiling two new exhibitions at Richard Koh Fine Art in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, as well as an exciting project that will reunite his twin loves of art and music – a collaboration with his musician brother, Firdaus Nakamura.

This article first appeared in the January 2020 print issue of FEMALE. 

Like this? Check out Divaagar: the artist reimaging everyday spaces and the self-taught ikebana practitioners of this local space and project curatorial outfit

The stucture Nakamura created exclusively for Female, intepreting the letter 'F'.
Somewhere Between No Longer And Not Yet,120 x 90 x 12cm, Matt Enamel on Treated Wood
But Let There Be Space For Us To Frolic In this Unlikely Place, 60 x 210 x 50cm, Emulsion on Wood, Acrylic Plastic, Dried Pods, Light
If We Stand And Look Up, I wonder What We Will See
Amid The Silence, Unquietly We Frolic, In A Place of the Impalpable