7 December 2015 – 29 April 2016
Guo-Liang Tan (b; Singapore) completed his BA Fine Art & Critical Studies at Goldsmiths College, London. As part of his MFA at Glasgow School of Art, he attended the Erasmus Exchange at The Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
A selection of his paintings was selected for the Singapore Platform at the inaugural Art Stage in 2011. In 2012, he presented his first solo exhibition Dead Play at Space Cottonseed. He was subsequently awarded the National Arts Council Scholarship for visual art as well as the Mackendrick Scholarship and the Antje und Jürgen Conzelmann Preis for painting. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include The Trouble With Painting Today in Pump House Gallery, London (2014) and Peacetime Resistance in Bærum Kunsthall, Oslo (2015).
Alongside his own work, he also collaborates with other artists on curatorial and publication projects We who saw signs (2011) for Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (ICAS) and Singapore Intensive (2012) for Future Perfect. His artist publication on drawing, Aversions (2009) brought together contributions from a host of contemporary artists in Singapore to consider the relationship between writing, drawing and Conceptualism.
Guo-Liang Tan’s practice revolves around how the space of painting and writing can be charged with affect and otherness. Tan is interested in how this sense of absence, pointing towards an imagined past and/or future, frames our present-ness and of our subjectivities. Tension between the phenomenological and the psychological are played out in the process of painting and writing, staging congruencies and slippages that occurs within material and language.
Tan’s current research is the notion of touch as an indexical and invocative gesture. Inherent in the materiality of the fabric as a substrate to receive and retain traces is a certain resistance, which provides a counter- movement that simultaneously works along and against gestures of painterly touch. The final compositions are an interplay between design and chance which re(as)sembles traces and modes of Modernist abstraction while hinting at folds of the corporeal. Parallel to the paintings is a series of text-based videos that investigate the possibility of language to suspend the imaginary space between touching and not touching, speech and non-speech. Staging scenes between the haptic and the haunted, these works play with the conventions of reading and listening where voices register tones of intimacy and ambivalence in equal measures.
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)
How does one speak of abstraction and what can the abstract say? As part of his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Guo-Liang Tan 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.
Moderator: Guo-Liang Tan
Speakers: Dr Kevin Chua, art historian; Joleen Loh, Assistant Curator, National Gallery Singapore; and Ian Woo, artist
This panel discussion takes place as part of Residencies: OPEN during Art Day Out! at Gillman Barracks.
Image credit: Guo-Liang Tan, Gibbous Song, 2015
NTU CCA Singapore Artist-in-Residence, Guo-Liang Tan works primarily in painting, text and the moving image. He completed his MFA at The Glasgow School of Art and was a guest student at The Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His work deals with the notion of touch and modes of abstraction.
Dr. Kevin Chua specialises in the history of 18th- and 19th-century European art, with an emphasis on French painting. With a PhD in the History of Art from the University of California at Berkeley, Dr Chua has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC, and at the Center for 17th- and 18th-century Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr Chua also writes on modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia, and has published essays on Simryn Gill, Ho Tzu Nyen, Donna Ong, the Migrant Ecologies Project, 1950s Nanyang painting, and the politics of animality in 19th-century Singapore. His research and teaching interests include modernity as a global condition, trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific visual culture, scientific visual culture and art-historical methodology.
Joleen Loh is Assistant Curator at the National Gallery Singapore. She graduated from UCL with a MA in History of Art, where her research focused on the relationship between conceptual art, labour and the politics of social and historical abstraction.
Influenced by forms of modernism, perceptual abstraction and the sound structures of music improvisation, Ian Woo’s pintings are characterised by a sense of gravitational and representational change. His works are in the collection of ABN AMRO, Singapore Art Museum, The National Gallery Singapore, UBS, and are featured in the 2013 publication “Art of the New Cities: 21st Century Avant-Gardes” by Phaidon. He is currently Programme Leader of the MA Fine Arts programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts.
Image credit: Guo-Liang Tan, Gibbous Song, 2015
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.