Sunday, November 09, 2008



Attended an Asian art exhibition, whose name eludes me, at an equally obscure place. Actually this took place quite some time back, though I'm only just getting around to blogging about it.

I thought the entire exhibition was rubbish from start to end... and perhaps I wasn't the only one who thought so. As much as the venue was overrun with "masterpieces", the organisers seemed oddly happy to display quotes like the one above, and certificates showing that the artists had to pay people to showcase their works.

Not sure if anyone paid for the one below (I hope not, or surely something is wrong with their psyche), a bottle of urine that is almost as old as me:



The placard that follows the exhibit reads:

The Artist's Urine was first performed in 1993 at Body Fields. Vincent's performance included a speech of the difficulties faced by artists in Singapore and the visual arts situation here, followed by the consumption of his own urine. His performace was a power statement -- about how sacrifices are needed.


Um, okay, Vincent.

More enigmatic than his attention-seeking act is the positive, sycophantic response it garnered. Forgive me for being conservative and traditional, but I think art by definition has to have a degree of beauty, whether direct or sublime. Urine has neither, and 15-year-old urine far less.

Vincent's message is certainly arguable, but as to its execution... perhaps I ought to eat my feces in public and say it's a statement on the degeneration of art. (Aspiring artists out there, don't steal my idea please.)

Art also cannot be overly simple to the point of being retarded.

I could have done this in 5 minutes. There is no symbolism, no aethestic appeal, and no visible effort. What makes this art, and not the stacks of notes on my table? (Durrr, because the artist paid someone to display it.)

I did not leave the exhibition feeling like I got my money's worth (even though it was free).

ETA: Apparently, I was too presumptuous to say that every artist paid for their pieces to be exhibited. Some are actually regarded as works worth viewing, and the paper display above may or may not be one of them.

3 comments:

blue said...

the man in the picture lacks a question mark on top of his head.

what do u tink of andy warhol's art? because this post reminds me of him.

Sarah said...

Haha, I'm no connoisseur of art, just talented at complaining I'm afraid. But let me take a stab at answering your question.

As far as pop art goes, I do like Warhol's work. There's a simplistic, cheery appeal to the way images are vectored and coloured (though that may in part be credited to the flamboyant '60s), which is a very ambivalent combination when he paints the more serious subjects like electric chairs.

But my appreciation for his art stops at his use and sale of Brillo boxes... selling out perhaps? (Also this opens the Pandora Box of intellectual property and rights -- why should Warhol gain, monetarily or otherwise, from the Brillo boxes and not the original, unnamed designer of them?) To my limited knowledge it seems Warhol was a mercenary artist, if only to a some extent.

blue said...

Well, at least you gave me your take on his art. Appreciate it.

And complaining is one of the essence of communication anyway so if u're talented in complaining means u do have sum real talent there rite.

I'm no connoisseur of art either but when it comes to property and rights, it would not only involve Brillo boxes but also the iconic Coke bottle, plus others that lose my understanding for art.
I always thought art should be beautiful, something that takes you to a journey on a spiritual level.

Have fun shopping anyway and you're one evil person, making others go broke with you posting st701's site... :)