Across The Globe: Artist Spotlight #5
Untitled, from the series The Sapper, 2017 © Bharat Sikka/Nature Morte
For the fifth instalment of our Across The Globe series, we are taking a closer look at the 3 Asian galleries attending Unseen Amsterdam this year. From India to Singapore, these galleries represent artists with a diverse approach to the medium, from conceptual photography to work that crosses the boundary between documentary and fiction. While certain artists use photography as an analytical tool to unravel truths about the world, others are experimenting with the medium to engage in a deeper journey within themselves.
Since 2014, DECK has supported and nurtured a community of photography enthusiasts in Singapore and Southeast Asia, showcasing the work of regional and international artists. At Unseen Amsterdam, this gallery will present work from 3 visual artists who are exploring the connection between individuals and their habitat. Focusing on Singapore and its changing landscape, the selected artists shed light on the fight between man and nature and their struggle to co-exist.
Premiering new work, Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1982, SG) will showcase images from his series The Forest. Interested in the connection between what is considered ‘marginal’ in our society, Renhui found out that a man was living illegally in the forest behind his studio. Following this discovery, he placed 300 remote sensor cameras in the forest in order to capture any movements over the course of 1 year. Exploring the connections between citizens and urban landscapes, Woong Soak Teng (b. 1994, SG) focuses her practice on the man-made nature of Singapore, whose city gardens have been completely shaped and manipulated by human hands. Her series comprises of black and white images that feature diverse approaches to the art of tree-tying, elegantly shown as a sort of archival proof of human imprint on nature. The third artist from DECK, Ang Song Nian (b. 1983, SG), presents Hanging Heavy On My Eyes, a visual documentation of the daily records of the Pollutant Standard Index of Singapore’s National Environment. Due to the increased forest fires of palm oil plantations in the neighbouring Sumatra, Indonesia, Song Nian created a photo prints’ scale to depict the constant haze in the city and its region.
2, from the series The Forest, 2019 © Robert Zhao/DECK
Established in Tokyo in 2009, Yuka Tsuruno Gallery is a contemporary art gallery aimed at nurturing young talent from Japan practising various media including painting, sculpture, video, photography and installation.
At the cross between photography and performance, Yusuke Yamatani’s (b. 1985, JP) work depicts contemporary subculture. In his series, The doors, Yamatani goes into a trance by violently hitting the drums in a special apparatus that is connected to a camera and a printer. At the Fair, Yamatani will also conduct a live performance where Unseen Amsterdam visitors will be able to witness his process. In complete darkness, as the bass and snare drums kick in, intermittent strobe lights fill in the stage, setting off three cameras positioned around his drum-kit, while a nearby printer mass-produces 500 images. After the 15 minute act, Yamatani collects the prints and binds them into books in front of the audience. Meanwhile, Nobuyuki Osaki’s (b. 1975, JP) work focuses on the perception of reality and our memory through the use of mixed-media and found objects in his practice. In recent years, reflecting on how the prediction of the future or the past events are assumed as ‘reality’, he has produced works that profoundly examine the ambiguity of images as well as memory and time, and trigger feelings of vagueness or nostalgia.
The doors, 2018 © Yusuke Yamatani/Yuka Tsuruno Gallery
Founded in New York in 1982 and closed in 1988, gallery director Peter Nagy reopened Nature Morte in New Delhi in 1997. Since then, the gallery has become synonymous in India with challenging and experimental forms of art, by representing the best emerging talent in installation, conceptual and lens-based art. At Unseen Amsterdam, Nature Morte will premiere a new series by Bharat Sikka (b. 1973, IN), entitled The Sapper, where the artist documents his father in an attempt of getting to know him better. In this series, Sikka hands the direction of the visual narrative over to his father by embarking on a journey to places that are meaningful to him and that belong to his childhood.
Untitled, from the series The Sapper, 2017-2019 © Bharat Sikka/Nature Morte
You can find out more about all the artists exhibiting at Unseen Amsterdam 2019 here.