By Sheryl Gwee (18A01D)
“Spaces, Places”, a first-time collaboration between Art Club and Raffles Photographic Society, was a feast for both the eyes and the palate. Wanting to provide the audience with the best atmosphere and art-viewing experience, the organisers opted to exhibit the artworks at Flor, a quaint little Japanese-styled bakery nestled among the shophouses at 2 Duxton Hill.
For just a small entrance fee of $6, viewers were able to savour a wide range of interpretations of the exhibition’s theme, including sculptures, fully illustrated diaries, watercolour paintings, digital paintings, and of course, photographs, all while enjoying a delicious, freshly-baked cupcake. (The cupcakes were in such hot demand that the teachers decided to order an additional hundred, which the audience promptly devoured just an hour-and-a-half after the show had begun.)
Despite initial concerns over slow ticket sales and worries that holding the exhibition quite a distance away from the school would discourage visitors from attending the event, “Spaces, Places” turned out to be a success. The organisers saw an unexpected number of tickets bought on the spot, and the bakery was soon jam-packed with people trying to catch a glimpse of the artworks on display.
Works by the Year 6 members of Art Club were displayed on the tables, photographs by the Year 6s of Photographic Society were framed and hung on the walls, and photographs by the Year 5s were printed onto a large folding “map”, which could be converted into postcards if you tore it along the perforated lines.
One work that caught the attention of many visitors was Night by Claire Chan. By cleverly playing with positive and negative space, Claire created a series of black and white illustrations, where moving a small transparent card attached to the background would reveal different landscapes. Claire’s work explores how nightfall transforms the spaces that are familiar to us by day, imagining the sinister forces that lurk behind what may seem to be an innocent facade.
Another fascinating artwork was Nicole Lai’s photograph, The Space We Deserve. While one would expect well-centred, clean snapshots of concrete receding into distance in response to the theme, Nicole’s artwork simply shows the top of a head — the hint of an eyebrow, a wrinkled forehead, and wild black hair — set against an empty beige background. The subject’s hair seems to take on a life of its own, and invites the viewer to guess what “spaces” and “places” (perhaps the hair represents a forest? a bustling cityscape?) the photographer intends to represent in her peculiar photograph. Perhaps the image alludes not just to physical spaces, but also to the space we need to grow, age and negotiate the tangled mess of life.
As a whole, the postcard photographs by the Year 5s were also highly impressive, with a decidedly Singaporean slant towards their interpretation of the theme. Scenes of local life — weathered stall-owners standing in the warm light of night markets, children in playgrounds, a pasar-malam uncle surrounded by a sea of blankets, towering HDB flats and their greying corridors, misty sunsets — were artistically captured and featured in the four-by-five set of postcards.
Overall, the exhibition displayed a multitude of interpretations on the theme captured through different mediums, with quite a selection of outstanding works. To the viewers, this exhibition was certainly a thought-provoking one.
For those who missed the opening night (and the cupcakes), but would like to view the artworks for yourselves, you can still head down to Flor to check out the photographs, which will be exhibited till the end of July.