Ever since Marcel Duchamp put a urinal in a gallery, called it Fountain and signed it, artists have been free to experiment with just about any object or material in the name of creative expression. At Art Stage Singapore, this theme abounds—not the radical, controversial vein that many artists of the past decade have embraced (you won’t see elephant dung or live babies here), but rather a host of inventive works that elevate their mundane, unusual materials to a level of high poeticism. Below are some of our favorite finds.
1. Sculpted tofu: Chen Qiulin’s The Hundred Surnames in Tofu (2004-14); courtesy A Thousand Plateaus Art Space.
2. A used sweater, wool underpants, hats & gloves, video players, and a steel cot: Zhang Xuerui’s Pulling Sweater (2011); courtesy Purple Roof Art Gallery.
3. Stacked staple pins: Pooja Iranna’s Urban Maze (2013-14); courtesy Exhibit 320.
4. Beans, beads, gold, plastic, map fragments, nuts, and kumquats, all embedded in acrylic resin: Satoshi Hirose’s Beans Cosmos (2013); courtesy Tomio Koyama Gallery.
5. A room wallpapered with acrylic-painted newsprint: Myung-Ok Han’s Untitled (2009); courtesy Wooson Gallery.
6. Old books: Haslin Ismail’s Book Land (2013); courtesy G13 Gallery.
7. Thousands of mosquito nails: Chen Chun-Hao’s Imitating Solitary Temple in the Snowy Mountains by Fan Kuan, Song Dynasty, Late 10th Century (2013); courtesy Tina Keng Gallery.
8. Human hair: Wenda Gu’s Metamorphosis, Chinese Series A7, E11 & C4 (2000-05); courtesy Gajah Gallery.
9. A “chandelier” made from a bicycle wheel: Yoo La Shin’s Afflicted Teeth Chandelier—General Yushin; courtesy Gallery Absinthe.
10. Colored pencil, wood, and a lawnmower: Yuli Prayitno’s Imitasi Organik (2013); courtesy Nadi Gallery.