Thursday 9 February 2012

Singapore: Museum of Contemporary Arts

Museum of Contemporary Arts - Dempsey Hill
Monument of Triumph - Jiang Shuo & Wu Shaoxiang, Museum of Contemporary ArtsGoing Forward - Jiang Shuo, Museum of Contemporary ArtsFor months I have admired the set of ‘Red Guard’ figures in the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Loewen Road in Dempsey Hill. The recent arrival of a new exhibition, entitled ‘Restrained Power’ by Sui Jianguo provided the perfect excuse to drop in.

I have rarely seen anyone in this museum and today was no exception. I wandered into the darkened room which contained nothing but a 15 metre steel box. An iron ball inside the container rolled from one end to the other with a great crash, emphasised by the flickering of a few tiny lights. According to the brochure, this was a ‘metaphorical installation about imprisonment and struggle’. Not the first thing that came to mind I must admit.
Great Jump - Jiang Shu & Wu Shaoxiang, Museum of Contemporary ArtsKing & Queen - Wu Shaoxiang, Museum of Contemporary ArtsA chap from the Linda Gallery, which owns the museum, generously provided a book about the works in the grounds that were produced by husband and wife team, Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo.

Much of Wu Shaoxiang’s work is based on the theme of money. Jiang Shuo’s cartoon-like ‘Red Guard’ figures frequently include items of western culture such as Coke cans, mobile phones and hamburgers in place of Mao’s Red Book. The artists have collaborated to produce pieces that merge both themes with Red Guards posing on money-based pedestals, a whimsical statement about China’s transformation.

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