ART WEEK 2023 — Yeo Workshop will spotlight Singaporean artist Sarah Choo Jing with a presentation of new works for her forthcoming solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition explores an alternative discourse of movement and dance in the context of Singapore’s 20th century ‘Entertainment Worlds’ – amusement parks that offered the public diversion through athletic contests, performances, games, rides and food fairs. Choo presents her subjects plucked from these worlds and immersed in deliberately constructed situations, allowing them to interpret, respond, and perform within the site. Playing with notions of performativity and chance in the process of creating these works, Choo offers her performers the opportunity to challenge traditional and preconceived stereotypes associated with their respective historic characters: a Chinese opera performer, singer, cabaret girl, boxer, and jester. Staged at a moment when the world is still working through physical separations, personal anxieties, and the social strangeness of increased distancing enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic, this work offers a hallucinatory resemblance to our current reality. The isolation of the characters combined with their range of movements from confident and controlled to introspective, pitiful, and awkward creates an uneven rhythm that offers a view of their unreality in perpetual pure repetition.
Sarah Choo Jing’s practice purposefully activates image-making and photography that teases the boundaries between historical truth and speculative fiction. Often juxtaposing and interspersing staged, found, and borrowed media to uncanny sensibilities, she brings novel perspectives on society and history through her earnest observation of human behaviour and relationships. This project explores fantasy and reality through a contemporary interpretation of what entertainment worlds previously offered as alternatives, escapes, and wonderlands. The work materialises at the intersection of technology and analogue mediums through an immersive architectural sound and video installation that takes an innovative format comprising a video sculpture and digital prints.