We met our friend Cos last night who was in town for the opening of Ley Hunting at Silverlens Gallery, where he and partner Wawi show some of their works. Ley Hunting was just one of the many launches that night at the Gillman Barracks compound. These openings might (or might not be) in conjunction with the recently started Art Stage Singapore exhibition/fair which runs from the 24th to the 27th of this month at the Marina Bay Sands. An explosion of creativity all over the city this week!
I have been to a number of these events in Singapore, and it never really ceases to amaze me how much Art is supported here. These events are always well- attended, well- funded, and well- marketed. Last night was no different with a landscape of huge white tents, long buffet tables of food and wine, and an international audience of people milling around in excited conversations.
Personally, a lot of these events always bring up the never- ending debate on what can be defined as art (and what cannot). It’s a tricky business, really. And let’s not even get to defining which ones are good from the bad. It is hard enough trying to determine what it is, without bringing in the highly subjective (and equally debatable) concept of beauty.
Defining Art gets even trickier when you view installations and performances, like how my friends and I discussed them last night:
Say, if I placed a bucket of water in the middle of a room and described that as a profound study on how finite water is, would this elucidation justify my less- than- impressive technique as art? As Jawo puts it, in the absence of any form of physical skill in the making of an art piece, how does one differentiate art from any random idea in any person’s head? … Ideas that might or might not be brilliant in the first place?
Whatever it may actually be (or not be), the closest to a resolution I can get is that art is supposed to make you feel something. It should be poignant in ways one’s own personal sense of perception and understanding will allow, which is to say that it varies from person to person; piece to piece.
Ultimately, I would like to believe that Art should leave lasting impressions akin to unforgettable scenes from films and well- strung words from books. It marks you in varying degrees, recognized or otherwise.
As evidenced by the cave men who came during a surely less civilized time, Art is one of man’s most basic means of expression- feeling, remembering, doing.
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