Fascinated by mass-produced objects, French-Filipino artist Olivia D’Aboville recycles plastic spoons, cocktail stirrers, water bottles, and other industrial products into sculptures that resemble delicate forms of oceanic life. Her thought-provoking sculptures, on view at Altro Mondo’s booth, serve to remind us that our reliance on manufactured goods has a detrimental effect on the environment.
Practically a tradition at Art Stage Singapore is the Southeast Asian Platform, where one can find emerging artists from the region. One up-and-comer is Hilmi Johandi, a Singaporean painter who combines the mediums of painting and film. Johandi culls his images from archival photographs and footage from Singapore’s heyday of film in the 1950s and ’60s. The superimposition of these found images from the time of post-war Singapore at the start of its modernization highlights the cultural friction of a society caught between its past and its future. Johandi presents two large-scale paintings at the SEA platform, presented by Galerie Steph.
Vietnamese artist Hoang Duong Cam—who has been called one of Vietnam’s “most daring conceptual artists”—creates paintings that incorporate performance art and photography. His work—showing at Galerie Quynh’s booth—is a reflection of Vietnamese society in all its complexities, yet also resonates with an international audience.
Zul Mahmod is one of Singapore’s most innovative sound artists, even composing the music that he incorporates into his work. His installation at Yeo Workshop’s booth, No Substance (2014), investigates an imaginary city that has a first-world infrastructure, yet lacks a soul. No Substance is made of scientific apparatus and industrial equipment—beakers, light bulbs, glass, wood, metal, plastic—that highlight the city’s high level of industry and cultural aspirations.
Sydney-born artist Ben Quilty’s seemingly figurative paintings, inspired by Rorschach tests, are made by first creating a canvas covered in thick oil paint, and then holding the work against a blank canvas. In 2011, Quilty spent time with soldiers on the Australian base in southern Afghanistan as an official war artist. This experience is often reflected in his work—including portraits in his exhibition on view at Pearl Lam Galleries’ Hong Kong space—that depict an Australian war veteran.
Aiko Tezuka’s background in classical painting is reflected in her tapestries, presented by Galerie Michael Janssen. The Japanese artist has done extensive research on Gobelin tapestries, Indian fabrics, Peranakan tablecloths, Coptic Egyptian textiles, Renaissance tapestries, and 8th-century Japanese embroidered silk; it is practically impossible to create fabrics in the ancient Japanese tradition today, as the technology for weaving them no longer exists. Rather than replicating these ancient fabrics, she adds a layer of motifs, which at first glance look like ancient designs but are actually contemporary symbols and corporate logos.
Malaysian artist Khairudin Zainudin’s gestural figurative paintings evoke Rodin’s sculptures in motion. His paintings and works on paper, on view at G13 Gallery’s booth, are a study in human behavior. His signature brushstrokes and minimal washes of color capture rituals and quotidian behavior such as eating, commuting, and interacting with our surroundings.
Art Stage Singapore is open from Jan. 22–25, 2015.