An Exhibition Exploring Southeast Asia’s Environmental Narrative in a Shophouse for Singapore Art Week 2024

Priyageetha Dia & Maryanto: Archiving Landscapes

 

📍Venue: 63 Kim Yam Road, Singapore 239364

Opening Reception: Wed, 17 Jan 2024, 3 – 7 pm
Artist Talk: Fri, 19 Jan 2024, 10 am, RSVP: https://forms.gle/pVDGcUHyxb58ivEQ8
Exhibition dates: 17 – 28 Jan 2024, 12 pm – 6 pm, except Mondays

Supported by Yenn and Alan Lo Foundation

 

Tucked away in a  shophouse on Kim Yam Road, Archiving Landscape’ unveils untold narratives around the natural environments in Southeast Asia that call to our attention various socio-political concerns. It opens with a short documentary through the lens of Maryanto, who takes us on his expedition around Mount Merapi, revealing the extent of human negligence and destruction done unto the forests and volcanoes. Deeply alarmed by the relentless pillaging of land in Indonesia, the artist has long been investigating various industries complicit in destroying these natural landscapes. He weaves local mythologies, chronicles and personal experiences to animate these often overlooked yet grave issues—from volcanic sand mining to oil dredging—in his monochromatic paintings and drawings. Alongside the documentary film, earlier works emblematic of his practice punctuate the space, offering moments of meditation for a more hopeful and utopian hereafter.

As one meanders through the shophouse, they’ll arrive at Priyageetha Dia’s spellbinding video work, TURBINE TROPICS. Playing on the visceral qualities of rubber tapping itself, she transports us to an almost otherworldly dimension that spirals infinitely into the unknown. Initially shown at Frieze Seoul 2023, TURBINE TROPICS is part of Dia’s current research around Southeast Asian plantation histories, in particular rubber plantations. Drawing unsettling parallels between data extractivism of our current digital epoch and the colonial plantation system, Dia brings our activities, choices and behaviours as Internet users to urgent introspection. While the forms of exploitation differ, both the colonial plantation system and data extractivism revolve around similar principles: the extraction of resources, power imbalances, dependency, and opacity. As the digital age advances, addressing these exploitative practices becomes paramount to avoid replicating colonial injustices in new forms.

While both artists address different forms of violence, nature acts as a crucial motif to locate and distinguish these geopolitical and post-colonial nuances that persist in the structures of contemporary society. Framed within Singapore’s cosmopolitan jungle, this exhibition posits the duality of being an oasis and a passage. It seeks to spark a sense of journeying through the past to make sense of our present reality, as we consider and conceive the possibilities of an ever-precarious future.

About the artists

PRIYAGEETHA DIA works with time-based media and installation. Her artworks offer speculative narratives on Southeast Asian plantations, which she views as sites for recovering stories of resistance. Her research interests also include building nonlinear narratives through digital semiotics, migrant histories and our relationship with the non-human.

 

MARYANTO is an Indonesian artist who creates black and white paintings and installations that examine socio-political structures through the depiction of landscapes. His work often explores the impact of technological development, industrialization, pollution, and resource exploitation on the natural world.

 

About Yenn and Lo Foundation

Established by the Hong Kong and Singapore-based husband-and-wife arts patrons Yenn Wong and Alan Lo, the foundation is committed to nurture the development of Asia diasporic artistic practices globally and foster dialogue with the artistic community in Singapore and the region. It is the founding sponsor of the Singapore Art Museum SAM S.E.A Focus Art Fund, a new initiative launched in January 2023 to recognise iconic works of contemporary Southeast Asian art and to ensure their longevity for current and future generations by facilitating their entry into the Singapore Art Museum (SAM)’s collection. The fund has enabled the SAM to acquire works by artists Agung Kurniawan and Tan Zi Hao. The foundation has supported numerous international institutions including Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA LA) and Princeton University Art Museum. Alongside the art fund, their generous offer of space for art projects and support on this occasion of SAW 2024 reflects their keen interest in catalysing a ground-up art movement in Singapore.

 

As part of

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