Visual Arts, Talk/Workshop

Sandstorm in an Hourglass

Organised by: Joo Choon Lin, Jaxton Su, Sebastian Mary Tay
  • Date:
    4 - 13 Sep 2020
  • Time:
    Tue - Sun: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Venue:
    The Substation
    The Substation The Substation
  • Admission:


Sandstorm in an Hourglass is a two-part exhibition at Tzu Chi Youth Humanistic Centre (21-30 Aug) and The Substation (4-13 Sept) that will present recent works by Joo Choon Lin, Jaxton Su, and Sebastian Mary Tay investigating our experience and perception of the realities moving within and around us.

The sand in an hourglass is meant to represent time, a time that is measured with a past, present, and future. Each reset and inverted when the hourglass flips over. The symbol of an hourglass in relation to time is so entrenched; it is hard to consider it anew while we play our roles in this game of time. If some kind of force enters the hourglass and lifts the sand, will the circling and winds re-present time, will its breath and heat flow through our minds?

In the exhibition Sandstorm in an Hourglass, works by Joo Choon Lin, Jaxton Su, and Sebastian Mary Tay take on this kind of force. Just like a sandstorm in an hourglass might persuade us to shift our perception of time, the artworks invite viewers into their 'hourglasses'—the metaphorically charged language and landscapes this world has forged and displayed to us. We slip into these hourglasses and enter landscapes that speak of the variable states of consciousness, offer a view into the inner psyche, and reflect an inquiry into its essence.

Many of the artworks, which include installation, film, sculpture, and painting, were produced specifically for the exhibition and present recent questions and new directions in the artists' practices. Alongside their own investigations, the artworks also respond to the changing set of conditions that accompany Covid-19, reflecting on issues of isolation, communication, and constraints in which work is produced.

Held across two sites, Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre (21-30 August) and The Substation (4-13 September), their works ripple from one site to another, as an extension, a pairing, or a loop of existing concerns. With a shared interest in the appearance and essence of nature, whether observed in their own surroundings or encountered in philosophical discourse, the artists ground their inquiry in materials, shapes, sounds, and forms that are familiar to us. We see landscapes, flowers, seeds, and trees; we hear the crackle of flame, the buzzing of bees. These are re-imagined to present strange, paradoxical, or perhaps bewildering sights, overtures from which questions on the nature of the realities moving within and around us emerge.

The exhibition is curated by Magdalen Chua and supported by the National Arts Council, the Arts Fund, The Glasgow School of Art Creative Network, Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre, and the Substation.


Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre
21-30 Aug : Exhibition (10am-10pm, daily)
22 Aug : Workshops

Volcano-making by Jaxton Su (11.30am)
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Cyanotype printing by Sebastian Mary Tay (2pm)
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Blue Tarpaulin Animation by Joo Choon Lin (4pm)
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The Substation
4-13 Sept : Exhibition (12-8pm, Tues-Sun)
12 Sept : Artist Talks

About the artists and curator

Joo Choon Lin is a visual artist, director, composer, and filmmaker whose work spans installation art, experimental sound, and multimedia projects. She has exhibited work locally and internationally, participating in shows such as The Blinking Organism X You SPLEEN Me' Round X Operation 2, Esplanade Concourse, Singapore (2017); Paradise Sans Promesse, Frac de Pays de la Loire, Nantes, France (2015); Be Mysterious, Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, Canada (2014); Singapore Biennale (2013), Resolution of Reality, Third Floor Hermes gallery, Singapore (2012); Roving Eye, Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Norway (2011); 1st Aichi Triennale, Japan (2010); and 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2009).

Jaxton Su is a visual artist who works with painting, installation and video art. He holds a Master of Fine Art from The Glasgow School of Art (United Kingdom) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), where he currently teaches at. His notable endeavours include solo exhibitions Not all who wander are lost and Two Worlds; One Fantasy at Blue Lotus Fine Art (Singapore). He has also presented internationally in an array of group shows, residencies and festivals including Edinburgh International Science Festival, Lanzarote Art Festival, Glasgow Why Festival, Larroque Art Festival, SIM Residency Iceland, and Art Safiental.

Sebastian Mary Tay SSA is an interdisciplinary artist who graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with Master of Research and Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Fine Art. In the last five years, Sebastian exhibited in countries inclusive of the UK, Lithuania, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. Some shows include solo exhibition Something Above; Somewhere Beyond at FOST Gallery (Singapore), Nida International Photography Symposium 2018, and The Society of Scottish Artists 121st Annual Exhibition. Sebastian lives and works in Singapore. He is a Professional Member of The Society of Scottish Artists.

Magdalen Chua is an artist who works with writing, curating, and objects. She is based in Wrocław, Poland, and her current work explores the experience of simultaneously being together and apart. Her works have been exhibited at Klub Proza, Wrocław (2019); the Tapetenwerk Herbstrundgang (2017), Leipzig; and the Sluice Art Fair, London (2015). Curated projects include studio 41 (2011-2013), a project space in Glasgow; the Biennial of Young Artists, 5th Edition, Bucharest (2012) as part of the curatorial team, and These Things Must Be Done to Get Along in Life (2009), Post-Museum, Singapore.

Sandstorm in an Hourglass