(Photo courtesy of SB2011)
Artists In The News, Koh Nguang How’s work for the Singapore Biennale, is an explosion of newspapers, of words and images, of facts and opinions. It’s, as everyone knows by now, three decades worth of art reportage (mainly visual arts) in the English and Chinese newspapers.
It is a kind of spectacle in itself. You feel a sense of awe stepping inside the space at SAM 8Q and being confronted by that much material. The ubiquity of newspapers is heightened and concentrated into sheer visual force.
But of course, that’s only part of it. It is also a quiet, unassuming work. One that urges you to linger. And then you notice just how well your experience is framed – on one side, the archivist’s “office”, the other, a newspaper report on Tang Da Wu’s Earthworks, an installation at the National Museum Art Gallery in 1980 that was prematurely taken down because the museum director had some issues with the contemporary work. Between these two points, an entire, free-flowing discussion on Singapore’s contemporary art scene occurs within this place where time and space are compressed.
Standing in the middle of this maelstrom of words is Koh as performer, witness, and guide.
Last week we had a chat with the 47-year-old curator/artist/archivist. Read on.