This year, my works have been collections by themselves: of objects, images and colours from memories of experiences, visual culture and associations with memories. There are two impulses here – the first, to give a visual impression of what it feels like to remember, or the act of remembering in a visual context – the chaos, the confusing muddle of visuals (colours, objects, shapes, forms, images) in layers, sometimes fully hidden, sometimes partially revealed, sometimes clear as day. The second is to reflect on the culture of nostalgia that society today appears to have embraced, a society of which I am also a part. I attempt to do this by provoking the viewer to make associations with the visual nature of my work, the objects, the images, even the colours. Through my work, I want to experiment with various media and reflect on processes of layering, covering and uncovering, fragmentation and mystery, as a means of mediating my personal experiences with the frustrations of remembering, when faced with the universal truth that memory is fallible, but also inescapable. I also want to attempt to capture the mutability of memories in my work, as a comment on the tenuous and distorted relationship that society has with memory and time today. I would like to take the viewer on a journey, though their own past, and through collective, even global pasts, with my work; keeping them guessing, making up their own versions of the story behind each piece, trying to uncover the truth, a truth which is anything they want it to be.
I walk along some of the least kempt roads (those in Little India, for example), looking for objects that are out of place, dilapidated, discarded, ignored. I am interested in their history, the history of a place that has almost erased all sign that it ever had one, except in its museums. I paint on the various surfaces and objects I find – for me it is an act of including them in a narrative of my own, as it were. The exhausting, bewildering pace of life in Singapore also has had an effect on my memories of this place – now my memories are half-formed, fragmented, compounded into a mélange of indiscernible, feverish substance. Ironically, even my moments of nostalgia are now feverish, reconsumed with an urgency I associate with the future, not the past. I deal with this perplexing experience by attempting to both recreate a sense of the act of remembering, and the visual nature of those memories themselves. I use various techniques and media in order to to bring out the intangibility, malleability, fluxive and, particularly, the visual nature of memory, and to represent the coalescence of different pieces of knowledge. I attempt to meditate on the experience of remembering, like when I come across veiled or completely inaccessible memories, or memories that come in fragments, through the techniques of tearing, layering, hiding and revealing.
In my work, I use various techniques and installations to bring out the intangibility, malleability, fluxive and, inevitably, visual nature of memory. I wish to represent the coalescence of different pieces of knowledge that is the characteristic of our ability to remember. I have attempted to reflect on the experience of remembering, like when I come across veiled or completely inaccessible memories, or memories coming to me in fragments, through the techniques of tearing, layering, hiding and revealing. The use of found images in my work is my study of the fictive and malleable nature of memory, together with the ability to create associations that familiarise the visual with something that has been experienced. An important aspect in my artistic practice is the search for new material. I collect objects and photographs and I like to believe that I am gathering remnants of the past. Although I may not know what history these materials have, I consider them a sort of record. With every image or object I find, there is a story that can no longer be told as the witnesses are lost. So, in essence, I am retelling their stories in my own perspective. For me there is an innate potential to excite in everyday things. I am referencing the immediate associations one makes to objects, even ones they've never seen before. This could enter the realm of fictive memory or the imaginary, with endless narrative consequences for the viewer.