only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world) features a roster of local and locally-based artists. It takes its visual and conceptual cues from cinema, featuring tableaux populated by objects, images and sounds that evoke the moods of science fiction. It draws inspiration from films, such as La Jetée (1962), Brazil (1985) and 12 Monkeys (1995), that envision disaster and/or dystopia, but filters that vision through the nostalgic aesthetics of the past.
Providing the real-world context for the mood of despondency is, of course, the current pandemic, and the climate of fear, uncertainty and paranoia in which the global population has been mired. With that backdrop in mind, only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world) offers an oneiric vision of a calamity to come, understood through the memory of a yesterday that is mourned, lamented, grieved for.
Part one of the show takes place from July 10 to July 31 and features the work of Chok Si Xuan, Mark Chua & Lam Li Shuen, Hamkah Latib, Victoria Hertel, the collective Paradise Now, Sarah Isabelle Tan, Brandon Tay and XUE. Works range from site-specific installations, to video, to sound pieces that function as a soundtrack for the space.
Singaporean filmmakers and sound artists, Mark Chua & Lam Li Shuen, who recently took home the top award in the inaugural edition of the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize, have produced several musical compositions that set the retrofuturistic mood for the exhibition. Brandon Tay creates digital video that envisions how the future has been collapsing.
Fashion designer Hamkah Latib incorporates the high fashion maximalism of The Hunger Games and the gritty aesthetics of Mad Max: Fury Road; his installations take the form of deconstructed fashion displays. Sarah Isabelle Tan, another Next Generation Art Prize finalist, was inspired by the black-and-white tableaux of Chris Marker’s montage film, La Jetée, to produce a series of photographic landscapes that offers fragmentary glimpses of the realm between fiction and hallucination.
Performance artist XUE captures their own body in an embryonic state of emergence/dissolution in a starkly surreal video. Paradise Now, consisting of Bryan Tan and Jay Ho, imagines a deconstructed campsite that portrays a mood of nonchalance against an apocalyptic setting. Chok Si Xuan weaves tubes into an installation that pumps liquid, physicalizing the movement of data flow within digital and physical networks into a fountain-like mechanism that explores movement, connection and relations. Finally, Singapore-based Victoria Hertel worked with the space of the gallery to create a floor- and ceiling-based immersive installation that draws attention to the two liminal architectural poles of ground and roof.
While only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world) transitions from the first part to the second, two iterations of a performance by XUE, in collaboration with musician Rudi Osman, will happen on 3 August and 4 August, 7.30pm at Yeo Workshop. The second half of the exhibition, which opens in August, will feature the work of Mark Chua & Lam Li Shuen, Victoria Hertel, Georgette Goh, Geraldine Lim, Masuri Mazlan, Sarah Isabelle Tan, Juria Toramae and Samuel Xun.
only losers left alive (love songs for the end of the world) is supported by the National Arts Council Singapore.
Brandon Tay is a Singapore based artist working in the fields of mediated sculpture and the moving image. His work complicates distinctions between the tangible and incorporeal, both in composition and well as subject matter. As a collaborator and individually his work has been shown at Kyoto Dance Experiment, Singapore International Festival of the Arts, M1Fringe Festival among others.
Chok Si Xuan graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from LASALLE College of the Arts, in partnership with Goldsmiths, College of London (2020). A sculptor whose practice concerns tackling all things 3D - digitally, tangibly, and metaphysically, she is interested in cybernetics - the feedback between humans, living organisms and machines - and exploration of physical relationships. She currently resides and practices in Singapore.
Hamkah Latib is a creative whose excellence thrives in fashion and art collectively. Graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts with a Bachelor in Fashion Design & Textiles. His expertise is in fashion design, art direction and illustrations. Often seeking a deeper conversation through his works, he fuses references from the past with the contemporary elements as a form of satire. He trademarks an edgy yet refined aesthetic with a maximalist touch.
Mark Chua & Lam Li Shuen are Singaporean filmmakers and artists who work in the intersections of sound and image. Their second experimental feature Revolution Launderette was presented at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival (2019), 8th Asian Film Festival Barcelona (2020), 6th Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (2020) among others and won the Spirit Award at the 11th Eastern Oregon Film Festival (2020). Their latest short film ‘The Cup’ screened in competition at the 51st Tampere Film Festival (2021) and the 5th International Film Festival & Awards Macao (2020). It was awarded the First Prize (Moving Images) at the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize (2021).
Paradise Now (founded on 2020) is a Multimedia Artist Collective whose artworks assimilate a diversity of daily influences drawn from perception through observation. With a penchant for amalgamating incompatible elements, Paradise Now grows as a natural synergy of conflicting histories and personal experiences - they seek to explore the notion of space/mental space, memories, emotions, symbolism and metaphors through multidisciplinary approaches. Paradise Now is a repository for their thoughts and memories that would otherwise fade away with the business of daily living.
Sarah Isabelle Tan is a Singaporean artist whose work delves into the ontology of the photographic, navigating between nuances of the tangible and intangible. Working across visual imagery and printmaking, she is particularly interested in the materiality of the photograph and its (re)representation of things. Navigating personal encounters of loss, memory, fleeting moments, and a longing to possess what is always beyond reach, Sarah’s practice is driven by open-ended inquisition and contemplation.
Victoria Hertel is a German-Venezuelan artist working in process painting, site-specific installation and material studies. She is interested in material-oriented phenomena and trace as energy in materialities. Hertel‘s research and practice focus on immersive sensory experiences that address the inherent knowledge of the body. In 2016 Hertel received her BFA from the University of Barcelona, during which she also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich on an Erasmus+ scholarship. In 2021 she graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore with an MA in Fine Arts. Hertel lives and works in Singapore.
XUE is an eponymous surrogate for Singaporean artist and butoh dancer Sher Chew — a conductor of clandestine realities, activated through rave sensibilities, live performance, sound collaborations and video work. XUE is interested in the economy of the self as mediated through technology. Their work unpacks the tenuous allure of the posthuman fantasy as a means of recognizing or transcending one’s body. XUE cultivates methods of aesthetic production as intervention, wielding an impressionistic style of world building as a form of critical inquiry. XUE’s practice is in enacting and unearthing new mythologies, as a means of reclaiming personal and cultural identities.