4 Feb 2013: Founded by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) in 2001, the President’s Young Talents (PYT) is a commissioning exhibition that gives the most promising emerging young local artists – all national or permanent residents of Singapore aged below 35 – a chance to be mentored through the process of art making. There are a number of familiar names in this year’s crop, who were each nominated by an independent curatorial committee of local art professionals and selected based on their existing portfolios and a series of interviews Each artist was paired wither two mentors, who provided guidance and feedback throughout the process – among the mentors this year are Singapore Biennale 2013 curators Tay Swee Lin and Tan Siu Li (of SAM), Lasalle and SMU educator Shirley Soh, ceramics artist Ahmad Bakar and artist Cheo Chai Hiang.
As a new incentive, up to four of the PYT artists this year will be selected to further develop their work for the Singapore Biennale 2013, which is scheduled to take place from 25 Oct. Gwen Pew chats with the six selected artists to hear what their new works, now on display at SAM until 15 Sep 2013, are about.
Why did you choose Bukit Brown as the area for your film?
It is a place that is rich in history and biodiversity. During a workshop with the actor, Irfan Kasban, we laid down among the tombs for several minutes and took in the tranquility of the cemetery. It really is beautiful. It’s no wonder why an estimate of 100,000 people chose it to be their final resting place. It’s a pity a highway is going to run right through it and destroy all of that.
Your piece consists of an installation with film projections – but what does it actually show?
Talking heads, the act of remembering, emotions and feelings, age. Architectural motifs, religious icons, passage of time, parallels, deterioration – [these] are words that came to my mind when I saw the film projections.
How was the piece conceived, and what were you inspired by?
Refuge was conceived as a symbolic gesture/form of my artistic practice and identity. it revisits my training as a fashion designer and the starting point and progression of my practice (how it all came about and where it will lead to). It is a challenge that I set myself with – to work beyond my comfort zone and to see/get to know myself. It also questions my methodology and nature of my working process that juxtaposes logic and intuition.
ROBERT ZHAO RENHUI