Crossroads: Akira the Hustler, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Masanori Handa, Zai Kuning, Yayoi Kusama, Hiraki Sawa, Guo-Liang Tan, Tang Dixin


Coinciding with Gillman Barracks Art After Dark x 6th Anniversary Celebrations, 21 September 2018, 7pm till late

Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Crossroads", a group exhibition by 9 artists: Akira the Hustler (Japan), Chen Wei (China), Cheng Ran (China) Masanori Handa (Japan), Zai Kuning (Singapore), Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Hiraki Sawa (Japan), Guo-Liang Tan (Singapore), and Tang Dixin (China). To commemorate the 6th anniversary of Gillman Barracks and Ota Fine Arts Singapore, this exhibition will showcase cutting-edge works by artists whom we represent and work with.

Yayoi Kusama's paintings showcased here are part of her important "My Eternal Soul" series (2009 - present). "My Eternal Soul" is characterized by the blossoming of Kusama's long-standing interest in the universal and immortality through her art. Not forgetting her signature pumpkin motif, this exhibition also celebrates her dotted stainless-steel sculpture PUMPKIN (M)(2015).

This feeling of blossoming and the eternal also marks the perception of Masanori Handa's work Hana (2018). The canvas is blanketed with colors that are reminiscent of tropical themes with many hues of green and a scattering of what appears to be hues of flora. The accumulation of broad brushstrokes toes the line between figuration and abstraction, and materiality is also emphasized through the bumps and waves of the impasto oil paint.

The work Infanta I (2010) by Guo-Liang Tan at first appears to be a still-life painting, but in fact is much more complex. Upon observation of the details of each brush stroke and the subdued nature of the background, the flowers appear to be somewhat suspended and illusionary, differentiating Tan's work from ordinary still-life paintings. Tan references images of flowers from earlier works by seventeenth-century Dutch painters, but instead of serving as a reminder that all things fade and disappear, Tan's works seems to revive something that perhaps has already passed.

Hiraki Sawa presents 4 works from the series "IOTA" (2016), which explores the representation of memories and figures. These ink on paper creations are in the form of multiple large postal stamps with grey-toned images of what could be photos of family members and memories, with patterns and shapes carefully drawn in with white ink. The "IOTA" series complements his better-known video works, which utilize a similar palate of muted colors.

With a paralleled affinity in medium, Cheng Ran has been creating new media for many years by drawing upon themes found in Western literature and popular culture. In the work Simply Wild (2014) the screen is a dichotomy of text scrolling on the left, and clips of a young female protagonist roaming a cityscape on the right, as seen from a 2nd-person perspective. In italicized millennial text-speak, there is a tale created about a woman which is both intimate and strangely anonymous, much like the junk emails and pop-ups that plague web users regardless of their true locations.

Chen Wei lives and works in China, and has become widely known for his photography works where he turns his humanitarian lens to understanding, amongst other things, what draws China's youth population to disco culture. The work The Pillar of Broken (2015) is staged photographs from miniatures created in the artist's studio, inspired by real-life observations.

Tang Dixin utilizes both figurative and anonymous elements to create rather bizarre pictorial sceneries. In his work Trash Laughter (2008), a gaping mouth with razor teeth hides in a trash bin in what appears to be a neglected 'waste' area. Both the context and the figure convey a sinister message, but the work remains open to new interpretations of the viewer.

As an artist, Akira the Hustler commits to anti-discrimination activities related to marginalized groups. Shown here are 2 of his works from the series "Tools for Hope" (2018). One has the painted phrase "Grab Your Anger" and the other has "Grab Your Hope", and have stylistic motifs inspired by protest signs from recent demonstrations in Japan. Amongst the artists in this group exhibition, Akira communicates the most urgent, real-world message to mobilize viewers to be politically aware.

For more than a decade, Zai Kuning has been exploring the world of the Orang Laut - "sea gypsies" or nomadic indigenous fishermen living in the Riau Archipelago. His work Crawling a Distance (2017) is inspired by this part of history and is representative of his relationship with the Orang Laut.

We look forward to welcoming you to celebrate this occasion and view these splendid contemporary works of art at Ota Fine Arts Singapore.

Installation Views