When 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.