4 January – 1 April 2016
Saleh Husein, (b. 1982, Jeddah) studied painting in the Jakarta Art Institute. By using an ever-growing archive of found documents to create autonomous artworks, Husein absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation. His drawings are an investigation into authenticity and objectivity. He uses an encyclopedic approach and quasi-scientific precision by referencing documentaries, ‘fact-fiction’ and popular scientific equivalents. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, he reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory. This often results in an examination of both the human need for ‘conclusive’ stories and the question of whether anecdotes ‘fictionalize’ history. Husein’s first solo show The History of Merchant was in 2012 at RURU Gallery. His work has been included in the Jakarta Biennial 2009 and 2013, the 25th year anniversary exhibition of Cemeti Art House, Roppongi Art Night, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Singapore Art Museum and Manifesto: a collaborative exhibition with two artist From Darwin, Australia. In addition to being an artist, Husein is widely known as a guitarist for the bands White Shoes & The Couples Company and The Adams. He is currently lives and works in Jakarta.
Everything begins from small steps. That was the first thing that came through History of Merchant, a solo exhibition of Husein’s work in 2012. A small-intimate approach to his family journeys, from Hadramaut, in Middle East to South East in Indonesia. By collecting, archiving, and listening to the elders stories, the work started to build a strong foundation that led him to one project and then another project. Since that, he started to further seek and question Arabic descendants in Indonesia. The ideas go across the border between art, politics, economy, and also science. What did they do? Why are they doing that? How do they live and adapt? How they see themselves now? As Arabic-Indonesian or Indonesian-Arabic? These questions about identity, adaptation, survival, daily life culture, and also originality are evoked. While doing research for that project, Husein found stories about the transition, from Hyderabad to Singapore. These descendants were supposed to go directly to Indonesia through the Malaya Peninsula but stopped and stayed in Singapore for two years due to the critical situation that happen between British and the Dutch thus it has been said, to have developed a new community. This is the point of entry into Husein’s research for the NTU CCA Residencies Programme. The topic is simplified into three aspects: Identity, Transition, and Journeys. By using those as the main core Husein will explore the story of Arabic society in Singapore, seeking artefact and archives through the stories from the citizens.
Residencies: OPEN offers a rare insight into the often introverted sphere of the artists’ studio. Through showcasing discussions, performances, research and works-in-progress, Residencies: OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice and the divergent ways artists make artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and contemplation.
Block 37 Studios: anGie seah (Singapore), Shubigi Rao (Singapore), and Saleh Hussein (Indonesia)
Block 38 Studios: Jompet Kuswidananto (Indonesia), Weixin Chong (Singapore), and Tan Guo-Liang (Singapore)
Residencies: OPEN offers a rare insight into the often introverted sphere of the artists’ studio. Through showcasing discussions, performances, research and works-in-progress, Residencies: OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice and the divergent ways artists conceive artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and contemplation.
Zul Mahmod, Block 37, Studio #01-01
Zul Mahmod’s (Singapore) practice investigates the aural architecture of spaces in order to explore the emotional, behavioural and visceral responses of its inhabitants. While in residence, Zul will explore the aural relationship between readymade sound sculptures and the architecture of space. Sonic characteristics, forms and textures of everyday objects will be examined in order to compose an orchestra of sonic sculptures.
Guo-Liang Tan, Block 37, Studio #01-03
How does one speak of abstraction and what can the abstract say? As part of his residency, Guo-Liang Tan (Singapore) has initiated a number of conversations with other artists, writers and curators around the operation of abstraction as an artistic strategy today. This panel will gather part of this ongoing investigation to situate abstraction beyond its usual formal discourse and reconsider its relevance to the fields of semiotics, socio-politics and phenomenology. Tan is a visual artist working primarily in painting and text. In his work, the painterly and the textual act as surfaces for performing affect that can conjure a haunting or a promise.
Moderated by Guo-Liang Tan, speakers include Dr Kevin Chua, art historian; Joleen Loh, Assistant Curator, National Gallery Singapore; and Ian Woo, artist.
Saleh Husein, Block 37, Studio #01-04
Saleh Husein’s (Indonesia) current research looks at Arabic descendants in Indonesia. This research crosses borders between art, politics, economy, and also science and centres around how they see themselves in the contemporary. Through themes of identity, transition and journeys, he is exploring the story of the Arabic society in Singapore, seeking artefacts and archives that look at the relationship and histories between the two groups from the perspective of its citizens. Husein will present new work developed whilst in residence at NTU CCA Singapore that considers the temporality and asynchrony of migration.
Zac Langdon-Pole, Block 38, Studio #01-05
Zac Langdon-Pole’s (New Zealand) work straddles cross-cultural experience and with it he seeks to investigate procedures of cultural exchange. The implications of such investigations are to reveal often overlooked, lyrical relationships between broader socio-cultural processes, objects, images and individual people. Langdon-Pole will present the film, Pieces of 8 (2015), which depicts a yellow canary bird in a cage. The film references the historical usage of canaries in mining, where they would accompany miners in a small cage, their death serving as a warning signal if conditions became unsafe to consider broader notions of danger or anxiety.
Dennis Tan, Block 38, Studio #01-07
Dennis Tan (Singapore) will present the work-in-progress construction of a traditional Indonesian Kolek sailboat. Through construction of the boat, Tan will investigate ideas of self-organisation and the transmission of skills and knowledge through generations of oral history in the Riau Archipelago and how this enables the continuity of cultural communities. Tan’s practice suspends conceptualism, tinkers with found objects and the environment as a gestural structure upon which the loop closes with the behaviour of its recipients. To date, this inclination sets the tone of his evolving practice.
Image credit: Zul Mahmod, No Substance, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.