The bubbly Miss Mabelyn Tan, a museum volunteer with the singapore art museum, is one of the first museum volunteers to guide a public tour to the Biennale. I have had the good luck to catch up with her and to get her first-hand views on the mega art event featuring artworks from the region.
Ai Loon: Hi Mabelyn, is there any particular piece of work at singapore art museum at 8Q (SAM at 8Q) that stands out to you?
Mabelyn: Exorcise Me (on level 3) has particularly attracted my attention. It’s an intimate portrayal of change in an individual. I also find Your Eyes Are Stupid (on level 3) a quirky piece of work. The works at 8Q are more introspective and probably more direct in addressing the theme of Change.
Ai Loon: What about the works exhibited at SAM?
Mabelyn: Those at SAM have also moved me. They tend to be more “blockbuster” in the sense that I am impressed by the large-scale dual-screen film entitled El Fin del Mundo (The End of the World) (level 2, special exhibition gallery) by two South Korean artists as well as the work of lacquer, Specula (level 2, Chapel), by a Vietnamese artist. Their techniques are highly sophisticated.
The young volunteer who knows her stuff well also highlighted teamLab, an artist collective which put up an interactive work named Peace Can Be Realised Even Without Order in the special exhibition gallery on level 3 of SAM. “It’s probably the most technologically profound work,” said Mabelyn with a no-nonsense expression.
teamLab’s concept of employing fifty over very animated virtual musicians playing different instruments came about just last year, because their work “used to be one large print from a video”, as quoted from SHIFT, a Japan-based international online magazine on creative culture.
Why teamLab believed that peace could be realised without order? Well, their work was inspired by the Awa folk dance in Tokushima, hometown of one of the team members. During the Tokushima festival, people simply swayed in or out of the “dance floor” without having to observe any rules and pacing, even the music was a mix of rhythms.
teamLab has visualised an alternative world whereby the beings and elements within co-exist peacefully and it doesn’t stop there, because they also react to one another. Go on and step into the artwork, get ready to see how the first musician reacts to your intrusion. Ops, nope, I mean your entrance. Peace is the pre-requisite alright. Promise?
Singapore Biennale runs through 16th February 2014. One ticket gets you one-time admissions to all three of the Biennale museum venues, namely singapore art museum (including SAM at 8Q), National Museum of Singapore and The Peranakan Museum.