It has been awhile since I’ve last visited Bunnyhopscotch. Lucy and I have been busy.
Our latest commission by the National Gallery Singapore to create a new iteration of Clement Space has been an exciting, exhilarating and challenging adventure.
Here’s something that most people will not know or see, a peep behind the scenes.
Setting up is always very hard work for an installation artist. Each time I do so, I half jokingly ask myself, “Why oh why didn’t I become a painter instead?” But paintings on the wall are different from what I set out to create in the very first place. I’ve always imagined a space in which I could engage with all the elements, experiencing not only the superficial sensory stimuli, but that deeper, elemental connectivity that speaks directly to my intrinsic autistic modality. So, here I am, in this strange, bizarre and dichotomous interstice as a musician-and-installation-artist.
I am blessed once again to have a great team to help me set up, three friends who worked extremely hard without complaint. With an exercise such as this, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, especially since the spectres of Artaud and Wagner seem to plague me whenever I am faced with this kind of task or situation. One of our team had made arrangements for a man with a small lorry (truck) to pick up our installation components, and had sent the man a photograph of the carpark entrance stating very clearly the clearance height. The man with the lorry said his vehicle was able to enter without problems.
Maximum height clearance 2.1metres!
Well, not so. At the very last minute, upon arrival, the lorry guy rang me and told me his lorry was too tall! We ended up walking back and forth and back and forth umpteen times, lugging the various rather heavy and/or bulky items from the lobby to the lorry (which had to be parked just outside the carpark). Exhausted and drenched in perspiration, we then made our way to the National Gallery, where yet another arduous adventure awaited us. The lorry parked at the designated loading bay, but we had to lug every component, bit by bit, to and through a passageway several metres away. More to-ing and fro-ing heave-ho-ing. By the time we managed to schlep every bit of my ‘treasure’ to the site, we were at breaking point, both physically and mentally. No rest for the weary or the wicked, though, and so, my amazing team proceeded to lay the blue carpet out. Midway, we ran out of carpet tape, so we decided to call it a day. Phew!
Not very clement-looking is it?
Back the next morning with a new roll of carpet tape, the rest of the blue flooring was laid out. Then began an entire morning of setting up the shelving system.
Blood, sweat & toil!
Those who think that the life of an installation artist is all fun and games, think again. How did all the components get into and come together inside that space that you are now enjoying and exploring? Not via a dainty wave of some magic wand, mind you, but by hefty lifting and much sweat (with blood and tears mixed in too), not to mention the necessary filling in of many forms required by the venue for permission to do this and that.
Kudos to my team, who never once grumbled about the unexpected workload.
And… it is up and running! Clement Space is open from 10 January to 1 March 2020. Come and visit!
Clement Space @ National Gallery Singapore
For more photos and musings, click this link, which would lead you to my official website.
From the National Gallery: please visit in Youtube and hit us a thumbs-up if you like what you see!
From Channel News Asia: Singapore Tonight live interview 8 Jan 2020