In Prismatic River, Suzann Victor reimagines the colonial encounter by placing ethnographic postcards of Southeast Asia from moments of early colonial encounter behind a screen of lenses. The layer of lenses forms a disorienting interface between the audience and the actual postcards: the lenses can either blur, magnify or distort one’s perspective. While the narratives of the colonizer limit the portrayal of the colonized as exotic, strange and even dangerous, Victor counters these narratives with a powerful allegory of the fluid, multilayered ways of seeing these colonized bodies. Victor complicates the idea of the gaze and questions our desire to see but also restores a sense of dignity to her subjects.
Suzann Victor is a Singapore-born Sydney-based contemporary artist known for prospecting the dimensions of human sensorial experience, perception and phenomena by mining materials from the body, the natural elements of light, water and sound to the science of physics, in conjunction with engineered components and the readymade. Through intimate performances or large-scale installations, public artworks and endeavours of collective labour, Victor interrogates the significance of sites, spaces and architecture to transform them into immersive context- and site-specific environments, thereby drawing awareness to the viewer’s own body as an investigative tool for apprehending the world at large.
Victor’s works have been commissioned for presentation beyond Venice in notable exhibitions including the 6th Havana Biennale, 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, the 6th Gwangju Biennale, and the 4th Singapore Biennale. she was singled out from the Sunshower Exhibition (Tokyo, 2017) to be honoured by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum with a special artist residency. Her 1998 performance, Still Waters, was also honoured as the theme of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival in 2019 while her works reside in the collections of numerous public and private collections worldwide.
Acrylic on Canvas, Acrylic strip and Lenses
88 x 178 x 17 cm