Of Flowers and Nude Men
Handsome: IVSG is a group exhibition featuring 10 artists, each exploring various representations of gender and masculinity. The exhibition has been inspired by the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, and shown at The Substation Gallery from 6 – 17 May 2012. Tim Zeelie caught up with Marla Bendini, the curator, to find out more about the exhibition:
Can you tell us a bit more about the exhibition? How did the idea for it come about?
rainbowartsproject (RAP) and I have been thinking about doing a project inspired by the works and legacy of Robert Mapplethorpe for a while. As an artist working predominantly within the ‘self-portrait’ genre myself, I was drawn towards Mapplethorpe’s self-portraits (1986), and have since decided to invite 10 male artists to participate in this exhibition. Each artist will be presenting ideas about gender and masculinity in today’s context.
Does this exhibition aspire to be as controversial and confrontational as some of Mapplethorpe’s exhibitions have been in the past?
During the curatorial process, I noticed varying degrees of self-censorship emerge, within myself and some of the participating artists. I believe all artists work within certain constraints, and it is important to think about the ways in which artists negotiate these constraints, and what strategies they employ to create meaning within them.
What I find interesting about much of Mapplethorpe’s work is not its candid phallocentrism, but the politicising of it. Can we expect the same kind of self-reflexivity in this exhibition?
Handsome: IVSG will present a perspective that is not limited to the visual aesthetics of Mapplethorpe, but also to the causes he cared about, and his legacy. So in a sense, this exhibition is layered aesthetically, socially and historically. This is an exhibition of works by ten male artists, curated by a transgendered artist, in collaboration with an LGBT cultural organisation.
Are the artists all local?
The lineup is a diverse mix of both locally based and international artists. Besides works from internationally established local photographers Marcus Mok and Chen Wai Teik, there will also be a few international collaborative efforts. Kelvin Atmadibrata will present interpretation drawings with Yoash Foldesh from Israel, and I am collaborating with Bruce LaBruce from Canada on an interactive media installation.
The following artists will be participating in the exhibtion:
Bruce LaBruce (Canada), Bryan Ho (Singapore), Chen Wai Teik (Singapore), David Chein (Singapore), Faisal Husni (Singapore), Jason Lee (Singapore), Kelvin Atmadibrata (Indonesia), Lee Gwo Yinn (Malaysia), Marcus Mok (Singapore) and Yoash Foldesh (Israel).
For more information about this exhibtion please click here
This interview first appeared in the May 2012 edition of the Singapore Art Gallery Guide.
To visit the Singapore Art Gallery Guide please click here