STPI Gallery will present works by artists from Southeast Asia and further afield, including Sam Durant (USA), Shirazeh Houshiary (UK), Jane Lee (Singapore), Shinro Ohtake (Japan), Do Ho Suh (South Korea/UK) and Entang Wiharso (Indonesia). The selection of works exhibited at the gallery’s third presentation at Art Basel Miami Beach are taken from the artists’ residencies at STPI, during which their unique and diverse practices were expanded. Reinventing their existing concepts and methods, the artists have produced works that demonstrate the range with which mediums of print and paper can be explored and appropriated in unexpected ways. From printmaking techniques such as lithography, etching and screen printing, to the fresh processes of thread drawings and the use of handmade paper, these works challenge the notions of print in their materiality and form.
Jane Lee made a departure from paint by exploring paper as medium during her residency. Concepts of liberty and entrapment are navigated in the motifs of birds and coils within her works. In the series of works Set Me Free (2015), the coiled and daisy-chained birds are at once both in flight and tethered. The result is a tense display of contrast: freedom and captivity as opposite yet relative. In Coiling I (2015), the artist lends meaning from modernism. While the presence of spirals references labyrinthine conditions, circles suggest a more unwavering state. Set as concentric circles, her paper coils are both circles and spirals, shifting between stability and instability.
Do Ho Suh’s works reflect the transnational dilemma of home and belonging, malleable space and memory, and the boundaries of identity. Suh broke new ground in 2009 creating “thread drawings” embedded in paper, leading to a long-term collaboration with STPI in developing thread drawings of greater complexity and scale. Most recently, Suh has produced an astounding new body of 3-D thread drawings titled Specimens (2015) 3-D, which renders 1:1 scale architectural elements and fabric sculptures in paper. Alongside these, Suh developed an ongoing series Rubbing/Loving - sculptural paper works that act as symbols of memory, preserving his experience of living within spaces of attachment through rubbing pastels over paper-covered surfaces. His lithographs, on the other hand, are honest and direct engagements with the material, highlighting the value of drawing as an artistic form for the site-specific, multimedia artist.
The prolific use of neon yellow is particularly striking in Shinro Ohtake’s works. Referencing uranium (“yellowcake”) and radiation following the March 11th Great East Japan earthquake and Fukushima disasters in 2011, the works act as recordings of radioactive contamination and can be seen as a response to concerns it raised around nuclear energy, threats from nature, considerations of the earth and the universe, and relations between families and homes affected by the disaster. Yellow Sight 1 and 7 (2015), is representative of Ohtake’s characteristic style and sensibility towards amassed content and “pasted pictures” or imagery culled from the artist’s daily life.
Inspired by popular culture and ancient mythology, Entang Wiharso’s work often features recurring elements such as mutant humans, animals, tropical plants, and weapons, alongside texts and quotations in a striking visual language that is instantly recognisable. Throughout his career, Entang has explored an extensive range of themes revolving around the human condition, including issues of power, love/loss, and identity. One of the highlights at STPI Gallery’s booth is Black Goat vs. Identity Crime and Aesthetic Crime: Comic Book Series (2014), a paper-cast relief of familiar imagery that has been given new meaning. Alluding to the position of an outsider (black sheep) and a scapegoat, the “black goat” is a self-constructed identity through which Wiharso spins a strong critique of social norms.
Shirazeh Houshiary’s residency culminated in her first solo exhibition in Southeast Asia in early 2016. Physics, Renaissance painting, and world religion all inform Houshiary’s art, and her interest in the use of words in visual art as well as the position of language in culture. The River is Within Us 7/A (2015) comprises thin layers of handmade pigmented linen papers and perspex lit from behind by LED light. It is part of a series of tablets that illuminate single words selected from the Hebrew, Sanskrit, Arabic, Mandarin and Latin languages, and their various colours reflect emotional states and respective nationalities. Through this lens of cross-culture likeness, the work calls into question the authority of culture as a dividing entity, asserting instead the common nature of humanity.
Sam Durant actively engages with social, political and cultural events in history as part of his practice, with a particular emphasis on American history. Areas of focus include the Civil Rights Movement, the conflict between settlers and Native Americans, and international trade relationships. Durant often works with globes and maps as a means of presenting alternate histories/geographies. At STPI, he created Proposal for a Map of the World (2015), a map of rearranged countries using a combination of screen printing, etching and collage. Referencing the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, the countries were placed according to their positions on the United Nations Human Development Index. This alternate geography allows for a fresh vision of history and its details, both those recorded and those lost to time.