Monday, January 17, 2011

Art galleries at home

Over the weekend, we went to the OH! Open House Walkabout - it's an art exhibit held in peoples' homes and this year the curators chose 5 HDB homes in Marine Parade as the venue of these exhibits. The concept was very cool - to bring art out of pretentious galleries and place it in unpretentious HDB homes associated with middle class heartland Singapore.

The artists drew their inspiration from the Marine Parade neighbourhood (born out of a large government project of reclaimed land, its dolphin sightings, the associated ghost stories and earthquake tremors) as well as the individual home owners & their personalities.

Some of the exhibits were quirky & imaginitive - a black curtain with small peepholes symbolic of the lack of privacy in HDB homes; or an upside-down room with a mirror-floor which gets one confused between reality & perception; or the visually deceptive image of a HDB lift landing. Some of the exhibits were beautiful - I loved the TV-painting in the second home with a lovely music installation in the background. And the paintaing of a team of gold-medallists was gorgeous.

And then there were some exhibits I didn't quite get - a peephole into the room of lonely girl playing piano in a room filled with outlandish stuff.
The tiny cluttered rooms of HDB apartments may not be one's idea of a perfect art gallery (some were not even well lit), but I thought it worked. What did not work, was that the number of people who turned up for the walkabout were way more than what the HDB could cope with; making the whole walk a bit of a drag with a tour guide filling the empty waiting time with some simplistic observations about Marine Parade & the art!

PS: How brave do you have to be to allow hundreds of strangers walk into your living room & bedrooms for a whole weekend!


~ a said...

Sounds quite crazy. What's funny is that I thought these would be homes that are insanely well off and hence have the space to display actual art. But this idea sounds interesting. Though i'm not sure at all about being able to let so many people walk through my home, it's taking being transparent and open to a whole new level!

Radha said...

Well no, the HDB (Housing Development Board) homes are part of government housing; meant for middle-class Singaporeans; so they weren't swanky at all.