‘Intriguing Uncertainties’ brings together haunting works from international artists
By Ilyda Chua
In the second instalment of its thematic exhibition series on contemporary art, The Parkview Museum Singapore places the spotlight on a different, unlikely genre: drawing.
A sharp contrast to its previous thematic exhibition, ‘The Artist’s Voice’, which highlighted the diverse (and often bizarre) directions that contemporary art can take, ‘Intriguing Uncertainties’ seems to take it back to the basics. This time, there are no dazzling neon lights or towering alien sculptures; instead, this exhibition is cut from paper and canvas, and outlined through traditional mediums in near-monochrome.
Contrary to its name, the show does not necessarily seek to intrigue, but rather to haunt. The 42 artists in the show, though hailing from five different continents, appear to have largely the same vision in the works chosen for the show: to present the strange, the imaginary, and the disturbing.
Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie, for example, depicts a geographical dreamscape of Chinese art and culture, curiously juxtaposing real-life places such as the 798 Art District with imaginary settings in the works, such as ‘Otherwhere’, ‘Fairytale’, and ‘Peak of China Dream’. One place references an exhibition by contemporary artist Gu Dexin, and is labelled simply, ‘We Ate People’: a macabre reference to the artist’s trademark gory, provocative works, which featured materials like chunks of beef and animal intestines.
Meanwhile, from Italian artist Guglielmo Castelli’s warped exploration of the human body — somewhat incongruously represented in crayon — to Germany’s Kerstin Grimm, who creates a post-apocalyptic world upon which humans are quite literally built, the show pieces together a dark, chaotic alternate reality that unsettles and discomfits — and is difficult to unsee.
Established in accordance with the Parkview Group’s vision to democratise art, the nonprofit museum, which does not charge an admission fee, continues to demonstrate an international outlook in this newest exhibition while making these pieces available to the masses. While the museum’s presentation of lesser-known international art brings an element of diversity into Singapore’s art scene — which, apart from local and Southeast Asian art, tends to focus more on major international artists — given its location in Singapore, it will be interesting to see if the artspace will showcase more artworks by local artists or artists from the wider Southeast Asian region in time to come.
‘Intriguing Uncertainties’ will be on show in Singapore till 5 January 2019, after which it will travel to the Parkview Museum Beijing, China.