Lost City 3
Conceived as a response to changes to what might be called the unsympathetically hyper-kinetic city par excellence, the group show “Lost City 3” picks up some seven years after its previous edition, the series as a whole spanning just over ten years. During this period, Singapore’s built environment has seen startlingly rapid changes, with whole tracts of land springing into existence—fiat terra, most notably an entire financial district.
Hong Sek Chern’s “Accretion” series calls to mind the elaboration not so much of architecture per se but rather of the differentiation and evolution of rudimentary elements preceding the birth of architecture, much as stem cells form all the unique elements of a human body. A more sinister interpretation, in the vein of runaway cellular automata, might be teratomas, those nightmare tumours that can contain hair, teeth, and eyes. This disquiet also informs Tang Ling Nah’s MY CHAR-CITY: The Little Golden Dot. It’s a collection of spent shards of artist’s charcoal arranged so that its spot-lit silhouette resembles a city skyline. The premise seems appealingly twee, but the curves and acute angles of the resulting shadow suggests a city in ruins, mangled by catastrophe.
Geraldine Kang’s photographic work is more intimate, on the scale of individual experiences of home and the relationships engendered there, with titles like Of my two bedrooms and Where she used to be. Here, these tangled, fraught relations are rendered in photographic serenity tinged with moments of the surreal: an old woman in her bed, lost in drifts of snow, or a perfectly banal, bare interior marred only by a rug on fire. Taken as a whole, these works convey an intimation of teetering on the precipice of the collapse of triumphalist blobular starchitecture.