Art can bring new perspectives to bear on how we view the world and understand different cultures and belief systems. Bridging Realms presents four exhibitions around Esplanade, featuring newly commissioned painting, video and sculptural installations by Ari Bayuaji (Canada/Indonesia), Mark Chan with Brian Gothong Tan (Singapore), Justin Lee (Singapore) and Tan Zi Xi (Singapore). Collectively, the ideas explored in their works offer counterpoints to the status quo, challenging preconceived notions of what constitutes identity, cultural diversity and social responsibility in a progressively borderless world. These exhibitions invite viewers to contemplate the agency of artist and audience in initiating change and bridging conversations.
Ari Bayuaji (Canada/Indonesia)
A portrait is not just a representation of a person’s likeness. It is imbued with cultural references and speaks of the milieu in which it is created. In the past, only the affluent and influential had their portraits painted; while in today’s technology-driven world, everyone has access to creating images of themselves. Self-Portrait investigates the value of a portrait in contemporary society and how this value has evolved over time.
The installation features a diversity of portraits drawn from different eras, cultures and sources. Bayuaji juxtaposes Indonesian wooden masks with images of faces appropriated from paintings by old European masters and advertisements. Pivotal to the work is the use of mirrors that capture the expressions and appearances of people passing through—a subtle hint at today’s prevalent “selfie” culture where anyone can create their own portraits. The installation presents different interpretations of portraits and attests to their power to tell stories about the human condition that transcends time, cultures and geographical borders.
Self-Portrait (detail), Ari Bayuaji, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist