Art Review: Machines, Miniatures and Mushrooms: Exhibitions to See in Singapore

Adeline Chia, Art Review, January 28, 2022

An interesting pairing of solo exhibitions is Proximities at Objectifs and l♠nd$¢♠pΞ$ at Yeo Workshop, which both deal with Malay identity. Proximities features Zulkhairi Zulkiflee’s probings into the racialised Malay male body, inspired by the trope of the bare-bottomed Malay boy in Singapore pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng’s works. The video contains a mix of critical discussion of the trope interspersed with footage of contemporary Malay men and their self-portrayals. Fyerool Darma’s l♠nd$¢♠pΞ$ is a riotous exploration of Malay textiles that straddles both the physical and digital worlds. Internet stock images of songket (traditional woven material) are blown up and stuck onto walls haphazardly, like bad wallpaper. The shapes of palm trees – evocative of Southeast Asia or more generally, the tropics – are cut out from them. Hanging throughout are fabric scraps and actual weavings inspired by the blurred colours of poor source images. Together they constitute a kind of half-ruined cultural ‘landscape’ informed by clichés and internet imagery of dubious lineage, and an artist impishly trying his hand at making sense of it all.

SAW, in its tenth year, has come a long way.