MINIMART and tea with Hegel

Got up at 11 am. Felt much better. Writing some emails to the board-members, before leaving to Buona Vista. Meeting Jenny around 2 pm, to buy art-materials for the installation. I promised to make test-examples for the next board-meeting.

Visiting “Substation” afterwards – a recommendation from Linda. An alternative art-space on Armenian Street, close to the city-center. They run a conference series, starting with “Target Audiences and the Publics of Art”. I was a bit late for the talks, so I just visit the exhibition MINIMART. Quote: “minimART is a platform for young contemporary artists to showcase and sell their original fine art works ranging from painting, sculpture, and photography, to installation work, performance, and other forms of contemporary art. All works for sale are priced under $1,000“.

Everyone got a space – about 1,5 x 1,5 m x room height – to presented their artworks. Some of the works I found really interesting. Although, I thought the presentation was not precise in many cases. White cloth over tables – resembling a plinth: a no-go in Dresden. I even teach this to my art-pedagogy-students. But, I wouldn’t want to stay so much on the surface. I spoke with some of the artists.

Li – she made several objects of fibres and copper. A contemporary interpretation of Wabi Sabi, as she says. Cheryl Teo makes dystopian dioramas on gender issues. She takes photos of her self-made models and writes stories – accompanying the images. We speak about Thomas Demand – she likes his work a lot. Her work is much smaller and she displays both – object and photography. pang + kanako shows a white cloth, forming a human shape. He passes me a small booklet. I tell him that one of my students in Dresden did a similar work. Not with a human shape, but with every-day-life-items – such as a vacuum cleaner. She also had the idea to dissolve the shape, by using water. Which didn’t technically work, but still, you could see the idea behind. pang + kanako is interested in presence and absence, that can turn into present absence again. Speaking about death. Because white sheets reminds on it. Also as cover, he says.

Next to him – paintings. Not sure, about the artists name – maybe Eunice Lim? The sketch-book was really nice. Great drawings – pages becoming stories, moving cut-outs through the whole book*. I liked this most! She said many people would not see the book, since it is relatively small – covers about 50-100 pages. She finished it within one month. I recommend her, doing an installation with these drawings. Check out her Soundcloud page:

*Screwords is an interplay of pages with important segments of each painting in the book being cut off. Each painting on canvas is thus created as result of various pages inter-playing with the following negative space reflected from the book.

She gets Yen Phang, who has his place next to her. Paintings in black and white – orchids and ultra-sonic images. All drawn/painted from his mind – after some training, he says. We speak about my mind-drawings of the ex.uranium-mining area as well. I invite him for the cabinet.

Some nice photos from Tan Jingliang. Bought a postcard ‘Book Monster’ from Janet J.E. Chui – the last one! Reaching sif doodle‘s place. He is doing postcards – I love postcards! And selling them for 2 $ each – made-drawn, nice postcards!!! I take five of them. Writing postcards was on my agenda since weeks! He asks me to take a picture of him and me. I invite him for the cabinet as well. I guess there is some picture of me and him on his facebook-page.

At the other end of the room. A quiet Tatlin-like installation by Tran Xuan Anh. Made of paper strings. Very poetic.

Big drawing-installation by Lee Gwo Yinn. Impressive – very diverse, detailed and colourful works on black and white laser copies – about 50 ? All made from the same image – a male in his 30ies. I ask who the man is. “…… …….” (sorry, forgot the name) an American Actor, mainly straight-acting. Do you understand that? Not really. There are straight and gay  … . Of course, now I get it. Lee Gwo Yinn says, the person on the copies was famous at his time and a male role model, until he came-out. He died in the 80ies – of AIDS. First, the work reminded me mostly on Andy Warhol. We speak about reactions of people to his art-work and the related issue: being gay – acting straight. He says, that Singapore is not as open as Germany. From what I understood, it is more the “don’t ask, don’t tell”-behaviour. I also invite him for the cabinet, but since is working as a security-officer at the construction-site he can only join events in the evening – so, I can only offer the “finale”.

The last artist, that I meet is Hoong Wei Long. He displays a painted T-Shirt, photos and a text. The texts says, that is not even easy to make your living as an artist in Singapore – as his parents told him – being a working-class son. I get interested in that. Hoong Wei Long explains, that the photos are made from Singaporian concerts – artists from here and all over the world. I ask him about the text. We speak about conditions: He says, that artists here do not have so strong networks like in Berlin or New York. Maybe true. In Germany we do have good artist-networks! Although, that their power is limited. I say, that even in Germany it is not easy to ‘survive’ as an artist – that I am in the Artist Association – – Union? We fight for better conditions such as an exhibition-fees. Artists should get paid for their work. Because creating an exhibition is also fun, but mostly work!

Also my mother was very upset, when I studied art. She used to work as Chemist by that time. “You will starve as an artist!” It took her some years, but now, she supports me – both of my parents do. And sometimes, they are proud. Even if their friends have children, that earn more money, because they studied medicine, chemistry, electronics or other ‘useful’ things. I sign in Hoong Wei Longs Mailing-List – inviting him to the cabinet and finale of the project.

Leaving the building, which is covered with some cloth in stripes. “Building As a Body is an art installation by Grace Tan and Randy Chan. The installation is a veil, composed of a matrix of dots and lines which envelope the entire façade of the building. The Substation is personified, and the veil articulates the opposing and yet inter-connecting themes of concealing and revealing.“

It starts raining cats and dogs. Buying beer and regular postcards. Going back to ‘City Hall’, reaching Bugis. Buying shirts, that are more comfortable for the heat, then mine from home. Having nice – mango-dish. Wander around. Looking for ‘Goodman-Arts-Center’ to attend a dance performance. Asking people, no-one knows. Discovering Sota – another Art-School.

Wander again – or maybe better said ‘derive’. Because I join bigger groups of people in their directions. Giving up to reach Goodmans, since it is too late anyway. Finding myself at “Arab-Street”. A place,  that Linda suggested. Walking around – really nice atmosphere! Only my backpack is heavy. Decide to go back to the MRT-station. Stumple over a shop with herbs in the window. How long had I been looking for herb-tea, other than camomile and ‘Hagebutte’! Enter the shop – starting a nice conversation on herbs. Smelling different teas. Got invited for a special tea mixture. Sitting down with Abdul and Nasir. Abdul estimates, that I am German, because they have German friends, that sound like me. Nasir is surprised, when he heard that I am from the east part – it rarely happens, that people from this part of Germany are in Singapore. Maybe because it is a bank-city and not many East-Germans have good positions in banks – it would be more likely that they are engineers. We speak about economic systems. They are critic and well educated. Abdul speaks about Arabic Philosophy. And that Hegel was inspired by some Arabian philopher 800 years ago. Hegel understood  Arabic. Aryan people (also Germans stem from Mesopotamia) are spread over the world. I say that Persian and German are related as Finnish and Hungarian.

Abdul and Nasir travel a lot, they say, you learn many things, that you do not learn in school, when you travel. They have been in Europe, Arabia – such as e.g. Egypt, Jemen (where the best honey comes from) and Iran. People are very nice, there – they say. Americans are misjudging the Iranian people, they are very intelligent, modern and clever. Both were born in Singapore  – their families came from India. I can see, that they have a different opinion and attitude than what I expect to be ‘usual’ in Singapore. Later on, I discover, that many of their products are organic! There shop is called ‘herbs4life – health through mother nature’. I am impressed, that they even find the time to deal with so many other ‘issues’ apart from their job. They seem to combine job and interest very well.

I tell them about my project, the engagement of scientists into art and the other way round. Abdul says, that there is an Arabic expression – translated as ‘artistry’. It means, that you can only understand when you are not only intellectually an expert, but also can see the ‘higher’ qualities of it. Talent is different from art. In the end he quotes a Arabic saying (that I am paraphrasing):

Live your live as you wish – but you will die one day. Love whom you like, but you’ll get separated. Do what you want, but you will be justified on your acts.

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