Thursday, July 2, 2009

Artwork: MY ARTISTS, 2007

One of my MY ARTISTS, Sookoon Ang.
In response to the group exhibition Whose Playground is This? curated by David Chew, which explores the relationship between the artist-curator relationship, I invited artist-friends to share their views. The contributions by the eventual 12 artists are published in a book titled MY ARTISTS and presented in Plastique Kinetic Worm's 9th Annual Group Exhibition (2007), together with the photo-portraits of 'my artists'. Below is an excerpt from my 'Curator's notes'.

Presenting MY ARTISTS book & 'artist fee' to Miguel Chew, one of my artists.

Presenting MY ARTISTS book & 'artist fee' to Lim Kok Boon, one of my artists.
Presenting MY ARTISTS book & 'artist fee' to Terence Lin, one of my 'serious' artists.

Guests at the exhibition. David Chew's guests or my guests?

"Whose playground is this?"


MY ARTISTS—The exhibition set up at Plastique Kinetic Worms, Singapore


The Curator’s Note
Tang Ling Nah

What constitutes an artist-curator relationship? How does it begin, develop, continue and—if ever—dissolve? How does this relationship change (if at all) during the process of putting up an exhibition? Is it “more about a transaction than the art,”
[1] with the artist being the manufacturer and the curator the distributor of art? What if the manufacturer decides to distance himself/herself from the distributor, find his/her own manufacturers, and become the distributor instead?

The exhibition MY ARTISTS examines these questions by looking at artists as curators, and the processes of curating and exhibition making in contemporary art practice. MY ARTISTS is presented in Plastique Kinetic Worm’s (PKW) 9th Annual Group Exhibition (2007). Curated by David Chew, Whose Playground Is This? explores the artist-curator relationship through the works of three Singapore-based artists. One of these being me. MY ARTISTS is a platform for more artists to voice their views about the artist-curator relationship. I am looking for a dialogue rather than resolution through an art object. Curating a show within a show not only problematises my artwork for Whose Playground is this? but complicates the relationship between David and me, as well as my relationship with my artists.


These artists were selected based on two criteria. First, they have to be a friend of mine. What does this relationship mean? Does curating rely on an existing friendship between the artist and the curator? There is undeniably some degree of nepotism involved in the selection of artists for an exhibition. As friends, we are familiar with each other’s work. In many exhibitions curated by art graduates, the artists selected are usually classmates, and/or friends they know from the same art school. Some of the reasons for choosing friends as artists in one’s show could be ease of communication (one already has the contact information of the person), knowledge of each other’s working attitudes and most importantly, trust. However, curating artists who are friends may not mean that the friendship will further blossom. A friendship could be at risk if any conflict is not resolved. This is a risk I am taking. Second, the artist must not be a participant of the 2006 Singapore Biennale, or have been selected for other biennales. I wish to showcase the work of talented artists who have not had similar international exposure.


[1] June Yap, “Trading Craft,” in TRADING CRAFT by Khairuddin Hori (Singapore: Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, 2007) 12.

For the full text and contributions by 'my artists', please refer to the book MY ARTISTS published by WORM & edited by Lilian Chee. Edition of 30 signed copies. ISBN 978-981-05-8640-9; English; 4C; Hardback handbound 86pp.; 25 x 18.4 x 1.2cm. One copy is still available at BooksActually, Singapore.

1 comment:

  1. interesting... keep it going..