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Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia4 November 2017 - 7 January 2018

Yeo Workshop presents Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia, an exhibition showcasing the work of four contemporary artists who document changing life in the region. As the Southeast Asian region develops rapidly, Jim Allen Abel, Kanchana Gupta, Loke Hong Seng, and Santi Wangchuan present their works through mediums of photography, mix media, the weaving of fabric, and multi-sensory installations. A disparate mix of aesthetics and artistic expressions, the bodies of works by these artists are tied together by their purpose: they explore similar and overlapping themes that reflect a forgotten or endangered lifestyle in South-East Asia. Jim Allen Abel (JIMBO)’s photographs explore the idea of identity and nationality, and how the telling of history is manipulated for political purposes. He investigates systems of representation, and representations of authority and power, as well as ideas about how art can reflect the truth or attempt to rectify historical myth. Brief Study of the Lost History: 1854 – 1954 is here recreated from its last presentation at Artjog|9, 2016 in Yogyakarta Indonesia. The work was inspired by the burning of the “papak building,” or government headquarters in central Java in November 1954. All ancient archives, including the histories of the city of Semarang, Java during the Dutch colonial era were lost in the fire. Kanchana Gupta’s Work in Progress, which borrows from images of migrant labour in the construction industry, acts as a disruptive force in the gallery’s main exhibition space. The blue tarpaulin is a ubiquitous object both in the slums of her native India and current home, the ever-evolving Singapore. References to urbanism and city-dwelling are integral to Gupta’s work, but its presence here is about temporariness, movement, and concealment; something wrapped and under construction. The framing of history through artistic means is also explored by street portrait photographer Loke Hong Seng. A renowned photographer of Singapore and her past, Loke Hong Seng’s photography has a documentarian approach. This makes the images even more compelling in terms of how effectively they reveal details about Singapore in the era from 1963 to 1985. However, as described by Loke himself in the book ‘A Social Portrait of Singapore: The Critical Years’, ‘perspectives define character and express intention.’ Through his photographs, Loke exposes the dramatic transformation in Singapore’s way of life since its founding years, until the nation’s development took a new path. Santi Wangchuan presents a new body of weaving works in a smaller format than his usual works. As with his other bodies of work, this is inspired by old familial traditions of weaving, with which Wangchuan’s own family earned a livelihood for multiple generations. Wangchuan himself acquired the skill at an early age from his grandmother. The pieces and colours overlap, effectively ‘interweaving’ them visually. The presentation of these installations is informed by Wangchuan’s desire to capture the art of an endangered craft, one that is undercelebrated, and here presented in an uncompromisingly organic style. Threads & Tensions invite us to observe contemporary Southeast Asian life through the stories and research of the artists. The works presented in the exhibition come together as an experience of obsolete cultural practices and histories forgotten. These accounts through morsels of our past through important regional culture are repurposed as tools for re-examining our present and its known constants.

Yeo Workshop presents Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia, an exhibition showcasing the work of four contemporary artists who document changing life in the region. As the Southeast Asian region develops rapidly, Jim Allen Abel, Kanchana Gupta, Loke Hong Seng, and Santi Wangchuan present their works through mediums of photography, mix media, the weaving of fabric, and multi-sensory installations. A disparate mix of aesthetics and artistic expressions, the bodies of works by these artists are tied together by their purpose: they explore similar and overlapping themes that reflect a forgotten or endangered lifestyle in South-East Asia.

Jim Allen Abel (JIMBO)’s photographs explore the idea of identity and nationality, and how the telling of history is manipulated for political purposes. He investigates systems of representation, and representations of authority and power, as well as ideas about how art can reflect the truth or attempt to rectify historical myth. Brief Study of the Lost History: 1854 – 1954 is here recreated from its last presentation at Artjog|9, 2016 in Yogyakarta Indonesia. The work was inspired by the burning of the “papak building,” or government headquarters in central Java in November 1954. All ancient archives, including the histories of the city of Semarang, Java during the Dutch colonial era were lost in the fire.

Kanchana Gupta’s Work in Progress, which borrows from images of migrant labour in the construction industry, acts as a disruptive force in the gallery’s main exhibition space. The blue tarpaulin is a ubiquitous object both in the slums of her native India and current home, the ever-evolving Singapore. References to urbanism and city-dwelling are integral to Gupta’s work, but its presence here is about temporariness, movement, and concealment; something wrapped and under construction.

The framing of history through artistic means is also explored by street portrait photographer Loke Hong Seng. A renowned photographer of Singapore and her past, Loke Hong Seng’s photography has a documentarian approach. This makes the images even more compelling in terms of how effectively they reveal details about Singapore in the era from 1963 to 1985. However, as described by Loke himself in the book ‘A Social Portrait of Singapore: The Critical Years’, ‘perspectives define character and express intention.’ Through his photographs, Loke exposes the dramatic transformation in Singapore’s way of life since its founding years, until the nation’s development took a new path.

Santi Wangchuan presents a new body of weaving works in a smaller format than his usual works. As with his other bodies of work, this is inspired by old familial traditions of weaving, with which Wangchuan’s own family earned a livelihood for multiple generations. Wangchuan himself acquired the skill at an early age from his grandmother. The pieces and colours overlap, effectively ‘interweaving’ them visually. The presentation of these installations is informed by Wangchuan’s desire to capture the art of an endangered craft, one that is undercelebrated, and here presented in an uncompromisingly organic style.

Threads & Tensions invite us to observe contemporary Southeast Asian life through the stories and research of the artists. The works presented in the exhibition come together as an experience of obsolete cultural practices and histories forgotten. These accounts through morsels of our past through important regional culture are repurposed as tools for re-examining our present and its known constants. 

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Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia

Yeo Workshop presents Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia, an exhibition showcasing the work of four contemporary artists who document changing life in the region. As the Southeast Asian region develops rapidly, Jim Allen Abel, Kanchana Gupta, Loke Hong Seng, and Santi Wangchuan present their works through mediums of photography, mix media, the weaving of fabric, and multi-sensory installations. A disparate mix of aesthetics and artistic expressions, the bodies of works by these artists are tied together by their purpose: they explore similar and overlapping themes that reflect a forgotten or endangered lifestyle in South-East Asia.

Jim Allen Abel (JIMBO)’s photographs explore the idea of identity and nationality, and how the telling of history is manipulated for political purposes. He investigates systems of representation, and representations of authority and power, as well as ideas about how art can reflect the truth or attempt to rectify historical myth. Brief Study of the Lost History: 1854 – 1954 is here recreated from its last presentation at Artjog|9, 2016 in Yogyakarta Indonesia. The work was inspired by the burning of the “papak building,” or government headquarters in central Java in November 1954. All ancient archives, including the histories of the city of Semarang, Java during the Dutch colonial era were lost in the fire.

Kanchana Gupta’s Work in Progress, which borrows from images of migrant labour in the construction industry, acts as a disruptive force in the gallery’s main exhibition space. The blue tarpaulin is a ubiquitous object both in the slums of her native India and current home, the ever-evolving Singapore. References to urbanism and city-dwelling are integral to Gupta’s work, but its presence here is about temporariness, movement, and concealment; something wrapped and under construction.

The framing of history through artistic means is also explored by street portrait photographer Loke Hong Seng. A renowned photographer of Singapore and her past, Loke Hong Seng’s photography has a documentarian approach. This makes the images even more compelling in terms of how effectively they reveal details about Singapore in the era from 1963 to 1985. However, as described by Loke himself in the book ‘A Social Portrait of Singapore: The Critical Years’, ‘perspectives define character and express intention.’ Through his photographs, Loke exposes the dramatic transformation in Singapore’s way of life since its founding years, until the nation’s development took a new path.

Santi Wangchuan presents a new body of weaving works in a smaller format than his usual works. As with his other bodies of work, this is inspired by old familial traditions of weaving, with which Wangchuan’s own family earned a livelihood for multiple generations. Wangchuan himself acquired the skill at an early age from his grandmother. The pieces and colours overlap, effectively ‘interweaving’ them visually. The presentation of these installations is informed by Wangchuan’s desire to capture the art of an endangered craft, one that is undercelebrated, and here presented in an uncompromisingly organic style.

Threads & Tensions invite us to observe contemporary Southeast Asian life through the stories and research of the artists. The works presented in the exhibition come together as an experience of obsolete cultural practices and histories forgotten. These accounts through morsels of our past through important regional culture are repurposed as tools for re-examining our present and its known constants. 

Next Exhibition

Past Exhibition

Marcin Dudek: Sovereign Heads

Monsoon Song

9th September 2017

Apertures

24th June 2017

Maryanto: Story of Space

28th March 2017

Xue Mu: Liquid Truth

10th January 2017

Artists