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slice - the multi-layered spaces of Singapore
Lisa Chandler, an artist based in Ruby Bay, Tasman, was in Singapore in May and June this year on an art residency at Instinc Gallery. Her residency was supported by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Chandler was inspired by the verticality of Singapore’s urban spaces during her daily commute from the residency apartment to the art studio. She found Singapore’s shopping malls vast, shiny, maze-like and multi-leveled spaces that were easy to get lost in. Chandler says: "The atriums within the malls are expansive with numerous escalators slicing across the voids, creating dynamic spaces that make the human form appear insignificant."
The main Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations are located within these malls or are linked to them via underground interchanges, and everyday the system transports 2.5 million people. The high usage of technology by passengers exacerbates the anonymous nature of the MRT. Its obvious that the crowd escapes the daily commute by plugging into their phone, i-pad or i-pod. This creates a horde of unresponsive people who are there in body, but not in mind – Chandler likens this to a zombie-like state.
Depending on the time of day, Chandler found the MRT and malls either chaotically busy; or eerily quiet and empty, almost like the end of the world. As a visitor to this global city, Chandler enjoyed the stimulation, surprises and a sense of otherness that these unknown spaces in the MRT and malls offered.
Her large-scale works in this exhibition depict ‘slices’ of urban life. Multiple images are layered using transparent glazes to shape, obliterate and reform figures and urban structures. Her process of painting mimics the actual experience of the environment where spaces constantly change as people transition through them. The ‘history’ in the layers of paint, where figures are painted in, painted out and then painted over again traces the passage of the crowd.
Exhibition runs until the 26th November 2013
Academy Galleries, 1 Queens Wharf, Wellington
Open daily 10am to 5pm, free entry