Fire Water

STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

Fire Water

About Artwork

Fire Water (2021) is a work that aligns with this idea of the heterotopic experience. Similar to cinema and theatre, it operates by darkening the space in which it happens. This is true for the gallery space as well as for the online version of the work. The fading out of as many visual distractions as possible allows the audience to interrupt their daily flow of actions and step into a different mode of perception – be it sitting in a chair in the gallery or in front of the computer at home. The lights are dimmed, the auditive capacity is triggered and a different listening process begins. But what sound does one hear? A soothing sound, intimate, close. It is a sound that requires time, since it is not clear how it should be decoded. The title of Victor’s work, created in collaboration with Martin Kirkwood, does not provide any answers either. On the contrary, it leads even deeper into the dilemma of oscillation. Is it fire that can be heard? Is it water? The sound allows one to enter this other space and challenges the imagination. Going back and forth between the elements: FIREWATERFIRE. Merging the elements. But whatever is imagined —the common moment that both interpretations produce— is that of a very intimate space. A space of comfort. The burning log of the campfire holds the same protective capacity as rain that drips on the window – both spaces are crucially connected to the inside of the house, the house as shelter. Fire Water is that place of daydreaming. It is a work that contains the capacity to unleash deeply rooted images that connect to the archetypes of human shelter. It allows us to regain our senses, specifically in a time that bears the imprint of social distancing, a continuous moaning about online isolation and the loss of bodily experience. To reconnect —no matter if one is sitting or walking in a gallery or stuck at home in front of a computer— with memories and capacities that are within us.

Artist Profile

Suzann Victor is a prolific Singaporean artist whose practice spans over 20 years, from an award-winning abstract painter in the 1980s to being Singapore’s first female representative at the 49th Venice Biennale.

At STPI, Suzann Victor responded to and inverted traditional printmaking in experimental ways, creating new methods of performing materiality and ideas that resonate long after the aesthetic encounter. These innovative strategies resulted in architecturally-presented paintings with paper pulp, whilst her gestural acid paintings were the largest copperplate etchings ever produced at STPI in 2015. Her reconstruction of the postcolonial cultural/ family unit were fronted by Fresnel lenses whose perceptual effects confounded the act of seeing, all of which are unusual additions to her practice consisting theatrical devices, kinetic mechanisms, performance-installations, experimentations with the body, light, water and natural phenomena such as the meteorological where she induced double rainbows to appear inside the National Museum of Singapore.

Victor’s works have graced international platforms such as the 6th Havana Biennale, 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial (Queensland Art Gallery), Adelaide Biennale (2008), Sunshower
Exhibition, Tokyo and the 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Korea. She was a recipient of the 2009 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship and a special residency from the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in 2017. In 2019, her iconic performance, Still Waters, was honoured as the theme of the international theatre showcase M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.


Suzann Victor


Outdoor bonfire, 150 x 15cm burning timber log, stereo contact microphones, Sony WM-D6 Pro-Walkman


11 minutes 53 seconds