Gwen Pew catches up with the two artists of this year’s Artist-in- Residency Exchange Programme (AiRx) to hear more about their thoughts on the residency.
6 Jan 2014: Now in its third year, AiRx is an annual initiative by Singapore International Foundation and the British Council, where a Singaporean artist is paired with a UK one to create new solo works as well as a final collaborative piece. The participants of this year’s programme are local architect Randy Chan, 43, and Bristol-based artist Philippa Lawrence, 45, and their resulting joint venture is a piece called ‘Angles of Incidence’. It comprises reflective multi-faceted steel pods placed beneath the canopy of the Kapok tree, and will be displayed at the Singapore Botanic Gardens before moving to the UK to be showcased at Inner Temple Gardens in London later this year
Have you previously done a collaborative piece before?
Randy Chan: Yes, many. Notably with Grace Tan for ‘Architecture as body’ at the Substation under the Future-proof show in 2012 and ‘File not found’ at Palais De Tokyo Paris with Joel Yuan, Zach [Zaki Razak] and Lee Wen.
Philippa Lawrence: No, but [the programme is] supportive and excellent, and the partners are very warm and welcoming.
What’s the most difficult thing about the residency?
RC: Time management – the ability to work on your feet and meet many interesting creative people in such a short, limited time is an art. In terms of work, we have a challenging site. We needed to think of a work that responds to Singapore Botanic Gardens and Inner Temple Gardens in London.
PL: Being on the other side of the world and the time scale made communication difficult. It was a very short, intense working period from meeting Randy to making the work. The project is at a point in what could be a longer conversation and it could have so many other permutations.
And what was the most important thing you learnt?
RC: Collaboration is a craft. Through the process, it hones your humility and makes you realise that creativity in collaboration is to understand the human condition, and to listen to nature.
PL: I learnt much about another part of the world, about land, about what I would like to do in my practice – and the need to be more open to risk.