Gajah Gallery is delighted to announce an upcoming show featuring the first ever grouping of three pioneering figures in Singapore’s art scene: Han Sai Por, Suzann Victor and Jane Lee. The artists are recognised for their innovative three-dimensional practices, ranging from refined public sculptures gracing landmarks in Singapore’s cityscape; thought-provoking, immersive installations in major museums; to wall-based sculptural works that challenge the depth and boundaries of paintings.
For the show, the artists unveil new, large-scale pieces that navigate relationships with scale in various intimate, intriguing ways—whether it be enlarging natural forms into monumental dimensions, or asserting an individual’s subjectivity amid the largeness of a collective history.
These artists’ bold works are particularly resonant today, where both in Singapore and around the world, the relationship between people and space has significantly shifted. Intermittent lockdowns and social restrictions have forced us to renegotiate physical boundaries between ourselves and others—yet simultaneously left us hungry for spatial encounters outside the flatness of the digital world. Employing tactile materials such as lenses and mirrors, the artists’ new pieces invite audiences to engage with materiality and acknowledge the presence and closeness of their bodies as critical to experiencing the works.
The works conversely engage with their environment—addressing both subtle and dramatic transformations in Singapore’s natural, historical and social landscapes. In a country constantly evolving and progressing, the artists empathically seek to preserve what is easily overshadowed or forgotten.
Han Sai Por is particularly concerned with how flora and fauna are neglected amid the rapidly changing urban landscape of Singapore. A sleek, towering bronze sculpture resembling the shape of a seedpod, her work emphasises the natural world’s elegant, sensuous shapes often overlooked in the city, forcing viewers to contemplate the importance of even the most minute objects of nature.
Suzann Victor continues her use of lenses on top of intricately painted scenes concerning the cultural aftermath of postcolonialism in Southeast Asia. In particular, she paints a complex picture of immigrants in Singapore, from the pre to postcolonial era. Inserting a portrait of herself as a child at the centre of the piece, she honours her place, however small and modest, in this history.
Through an assemblage of mirrors, Jane Lee forces viewers to gaze at a disorienting subject: themselves, distorted and fragmented into endless, multi-sized circles. Just as Victor examines her identity amid the landscape of history, Lee challenges us to reflect on the ways in which we see ourselves in our present, contemporary context—where the mirrors can be seen as fitting allegories of the myriad self-identities we project onto the digital world, which paradoxically never quite capture our whole.
Finally, it is crucial to note that each work was the fruit of months-long collaborations with local artisans at the Yogya Art Lab (YAL), Gajah Gallery’s foundry and experimental art space in Yogyakarta. These highly polished pieces thus combine the imaginative sensibilities of the artists and the meticulous craftsmanship of the YAL team—who for ten years have guided regional artists in realising expansive, monumental works; and exploring alternative materials outside their conventional practices. While typically artists would work together on-site with the artisans in Yogyakarta, the pandemic caused them to collaborate remotely, exchanging ideas and instructions online under the guidance of YAL’s Foundry Director, James Page. Thus, the works share another, less visible binding theme, which is once again a telling characteristic of our time: artists navigating the scale and nuances of distance.