Time Out Singapore: ‘We Do! We Do Art!’ Preview

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, One East Artspace will be presenting a group show that features works from six artist couples. Gwen Pew meets them all to hear their stories of love, life and art.

We Do Art

6 Feb 2014:

Tan Haur and Loh Kit Mui

How they met

TH: ‘Mui and I met studying applied art at the Singapore Baharuddin Institution what seems like a lifetime ago. We both picked up the Graphic Design course, but were in different classes. Our passion in art and design bound us together. We’ve been married for 23 years.’

KM: ‘I got to know Tan Haur when the lecturer showed us his creative work. He was one of the top students and everyone in school knew about him!’

First impression of each other

TH: ‘Talented, observant and quick tempered.’

LKM: ‘Caring. And we have a sort of chemistry with each other.’

Works they’ll be showing

TH: ‘Six photo-media archival prints from two series that were created three months ago. They deal with issues of globalisation, which is continued from my previous series, Global Eyes. The artworks are digitally aged on purpose to show what they might look like in a hundred years’ time. All works come with a fable specially written for this exhibition.’

LKM: ‘My drawings series Eyes, Divine to the Soul, consists of new works done in 2013 and 2014. I work with Chinese ink on acid free paper and the series is a continuation of my ink drawing to convey positive energy, harmony, kindness and nature, originated from my memory, imagination and intuition.’

Eitaro Ogawa and Tamae Iwasaki

How they met

EO: ‘We met at university when we were both 20 years old. I was in the volleyball team and she came in to join the team.’

First impression of each other

EO: ‘Something about her gave me a strong impression. I still don’t know what it was.’

TI: ‘He looks like any regular guy, but I felt something very strong when I first saw him. It’s like I met him before – even though I know I hadn’t.’

Works they’ll be showing

EO: ‘More than anything else, our kids are the most amazing creation that both of us are involved in. They are the inspiration for my silkscreen piece. We often fail to pay attention to something amazing that is very close to us, and instead focus on things that are much further away. I just want to bring that back to the right place.’

TI: ‘I have been creating a series of etched portraits of my two children. I have always been interested to know what makes each person different – is it the DNA, or the environment that they were raised in? Now we are witnessing two small persons growing in front of us, and we’re starting to deeply understand what forms one’s character.’

Milenko Prvacki and Delia Prvacki

How they met

MP: ‘I noticed Delia during our first days at the National University of Arts in Bucharest in 1971. However, as an “old-fashioned” gentleman, it took me almost one year to approach her.’

DP: ‘I saw Milenko for the first time in October 1971 at the university’s food court. After that, we watched each other for the following eight months. We had our first date in June 1972.’

First impression of each other

MP: ‘Beautiful, smart, talented and energetic.’

DP: ‘I was fascinated, as he was so authentic! He had an aura and I sensed he was a genuine artist.’

Works they’ll be showing

MP: ‘A group of mixed media drawings from the series Now You See Now You Don’t, which complement Delia’s installation well. The drawings are somewhere in between recognisable and abstract images and shapes.’

DP: ‘A mixed media 3D installation [of pussy willows] called “Spring”. It’s made from ceramics, metal and other materials, and is in line with themes and ideas that have interested me for more than 30 years. It’s about life cycles, transformation end eternal return to a new beginning.’

Oh Chai Hoo and Chua Chon Hee

How they met

OCH: ‘We first met each other in Secondary Three, but only started dating when we were studying at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). The most romantic memory I have from then is the times we spent together, making art.’

First impression of each other

OCH: ‘Honest, but quite gong gong (blur).’

CCH: ‘No special impression. The relationship was developed naturally as we made art. There were lots of outdoor sketching activities in groups at NAFA, and we gradually developed into becoming a pair.’

Works they’ll be showing

OCH: ‘“Grow up” is inspired by our own family, and it’s about how the family has grown and how one has to balance career and family life. The work is done in black ink on silver rice paper. Black and white is a symbol of things being pure and simple – I wish to take it back to basics.’

CCH: ‘“Layers of nature” is also created on silver rice paper, but it’s a monoprint that was inspired by nature – especially when I see fallen leaves, the mountains and the seas. It is through selfpursuit that we discover the true meaning of life, including human relationships.’

 

Kamal Dollah and Ye Ruoshi

How they met

KD: ‘We met in 1992 at an illustrations course in NAFA. The professor used a lot of Chinese – and I’m Malay – so I roped in Ruoshi to be my translator. ‘We were dating for three years before she told her parents though, because they’re very traditional Malaysian Chinese, and didn’t want her to date a Malay guy. We even ran away – but thankfully her parents got worried, so after one day they persuaded us to come back and decided to finally meet me in person and give me a chance. It was her mum who talked her dad into letting me come to the house, but in the end her dad and I had so much in common that we talked deep into the night, and her mum had to tell me to go home!’

YR: ‘I’d just broken up with my ex-boyfriend when I noticed Kamal being really nice to me – he even helped me source for materials for a project I was working on at the time – and we slowly became closer. ‘But yes, my parents are very traditional and they tried to make me break up with Kamal before they’d even met him – my dad was treated quite badly when he lived in Malaysia and had a very bad impression of the people there – and I was so heartbroken. He managed to win them over with his wit and charm though, and now he’s the favourite in-law of the family!’

First impression of each other

KD: ‘She is such a goody two-shoes! We are completely different people, and really quite incompatible. I’d want to go out and play all the time while she’d sit there in class, all perfect; she’d eat cake and there would be no crumbs! Like, what?! But we bonded over our love of art.’

YR: ‘Yeah, Kamal was the opposite of my type of guy. He’s quite arrogant, rude and rough, but when we got together, he made me realise that I have another side to me – a more rebellious side – that I never knew about. It’s exciting.’

Works they’ll be showing

KD: ‘Probably some of my new ink doodles. They’re not the kind of doodles that you’d likely have in mind, though – my doodles often don’t look like spontaneous doodles, as they look quite structured and very intricate. They are inspired by my background as a caricature artist, but I would usually just sit down and draw whatever is on my subconscious. I think that the subconscious is the true reflection of how one feels.’

YR: ‘A collection of paintings from my Hua Dan series. The hua dan is the female character in Chinese opera – which I love to perform in my spare time – she is a constant figure in my works. Sometimes they represent me; sometimes they’re more figurative. Almost everything else in my paintings represent the males – like Kamal, sometimes – and the works are an exploration of love, relationships and what it means to be part of a couple. There are always challenges and temptations, but it’s about how we overcome them and stay together.’

Suwong Kunrattanamaneephorn and Joey Soh

How they met

Joey: ‘Under the pitter-patter of welding sparks when working for Universal Studio’s project in 2009. We were the sculptors who helped to create the Lost World and some other parts of the theme park.’

First impression of each other

Suwong: ‘Who let this kid come and play in the production factory? Oh sh*t, she’s my supervisor!’

Joey: ‘Oh my gosh, are this guy’s arms toned… but he’s super lame!’

Works they’ll be showing

Suwong: ‘It’s a light installation called “Two White Fish First Met Each Other”, where two parts of a white epoxy resin sculpture cast a shadow that resembles a pair of lovers. It was created specifically for this show, and we were inspired by everywhere and everything – the exploration of materials, just having fun, looking at fishes at home and talking to each other.’

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