Sunday, June 5, 2011

Singapore Art Biennale 2011


Before I even enter the room, an omnious yellow glow could be seen radiating from the door. The bright, neon-like yellow that usually signals danger and instills fear. I grew rather tensed as I neared it, yet at the same time excited with curiosity about what is in the room.

Upon entry, I was greeted by the huge lighted words, 'Don't Worry' sprawled across the wall. The talkative group of twenty or so died down almost immediately, creating a loud deafening silence. Everything else about the room presents every possible reason for the need to worry: the exposed wires, the still stuffy air, the ominous glow in the room, the tightly shut doors as if trapping one within and the eerie silence that fills the room when one steps in. The blinding yellow glow seemed to reduce the space in the room, while the empty walls threatened to enclose us within. This, together with the twenty people crowded in the room, sets a claustrophobic environment, which causes fear and worry in anyone who steps in. Yet the big, neon-yellow words of 'Don't Worry' screams out at you, as if demanding that you feel otherwise.

The irony of this contemporary piece amuses me. Indeed, words themselves mean nothing. It is the environment and setting in which it was said or displayed that determines the meaning that words convey to others. In this case, 'Don't Worry' only served to instill more fear within the viewers rather than to calm them down, which was its literal meaning. It seemed like a big mockery of the viewer's fear of the almost empty room.

When I stepped out of the room,  I was partially wet with perspiration. Taking in the fresh cool air outside, I was overcome with relief. This contemporary piece was one of the works that left a deep impression in my mind.

 (btw, I kind of forgot the actual name of this work as well as the artist. so if you know, do comment. thanks)

1 comment: