EXP is envisioned as a new annual series within the Chan + Hori exhibition calendar to encourage innovation in the context of the contemporary arts and cultural practice. Promoting engagement, openness and new ways of understanding, it reflects intersections between art, society and everyday life.
Chan + Hori Contemporary will premiere the EXP series from 4 May - 6 May 2018 with two Singaporean artists: Green Zeng, a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker and Sean Cham, an inter-media visual and performance artist. Green Zeng will exhibit Mirrors within Mirrors, a work-in-progress video inspired by the famed 1950 Japanese film Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film is known for a plot device that involves various characters providing subjective, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident. Mirrors within Mirrors employs a similar multiple-narrative structure that retells a well-known legend through the viewpoints of various characters, providing different versions of the same story. It aims to explore the multi-faceted nature of historiography and the complexities of understanding and presenting history. As each character presents his version of the story, the viewer finds it difficult to judge what is true.
Sean Cham's Within Yesteryears is an installation of an abandoned room overflowing with copies of Yesteryears – a photographic publication documenting 50 forgotten locations in Singapore through a series of in-situ self-portraits. The buildings photographed are in different states of ruination, from the crumbling roofs of Istana Woodneuk to the rainbow facades of Rochor Centre. They represent the aftermath of post-independence Singapore, the ruins left in its wake as buildings deemed obsolete are torn down in the name of modernization and growth. The series was taken when Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence, as a wave of nostalgia swept through the nation.
Both artist presentations examine the need for historical consciousness and highlight the complexities that arise from the understanding and exploration of history. Following Walter Benjamin's Thesis on the Philosophy of History, the works retain a historical consciousness aside from monuments, officially-sanctioned heritage spaces and school history textbooks.
Mirrors within Mirrors is supported by the National Arts Council Singapore (NAC) Creation Grant and The Substation. Within Yesteryears is supported and presented by BooksActually.