Special Report on the Singapore Biennale 2008

September 30, 2008 at 7:05 pm 2 comments

Singapore up-and-coming and most controversial conceptual artist, H*men Chiong will be performing his most audacious and provocative work to date in conjunction with the ongoing Singapore Biennale. 30 years old H*men, who has a Master in Contemporary Arts from Preston Arts University will defecate in full public view for his performance in the Art Museum. The title of his performance, “I shit therefore I am” is a message directed towards the authorities, media, society, heck basically everyone that piss him off, he said from the couch of his parents home in District 10.

H*men Chiong

The act, depending on the bowel movement on the actual day, will probably last less than 5 minutes and will take place within a 45×45 inches perimeter cordoned off by white tapes in the main foyer of the museum.

Asked for his reasons for doing this act, H*men get agitated and started jabbing his finger in the air saying, “This is a protest to all that are not right in the world today. And we have too many wimps in the local art scene not willing to push the boundary by using art to voice out their disgusts and displeasures. All we see are sculptures, paintings and installations that seems to conform to culture and societal norms. Safe, boring and bordering on retarded.”

As the recipient of the prestigious “Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence” given out by New York’s Reiman S. Wiekenson Arts Foundation this year, H*men also viewed this accolade as acknowledging his innate talents and bestowing upon him the responsibility and burden to take the local art scene forward somewhat like a shepherd herding a flock of lost sheep, thus this performance.
“If not me who, if not now when?”, he added with a deadpan expression.

And with such a controversial performance, comparison are inevitably being made with artists like Vincent Leow who peed and drank his own urine, Josef Ng who snipped off his own pubic hair and Shannon Tham who vomited into a bucket. But H*men was quick to retort with hints of elitism that it’s an unfair comparison.
“Please don’t compare me to them. The values and qualities of our performances are miles apart, miles miles apart.”, he gesticulated with his arms spread out to emphasize the gulf.

When questions centering over the vileness and purposelessness of the act were put to the Art Museum, Matthew Ngui, part of the curatorial team for Singapore Biennale 2008 , was quick to defend the rationale for selecting and approving it.
“We felt that H*men’s performance art warrant artistic merits regardless of what everyone think. Sure, anyone can defecate, but to do it while conveying a statement of intent, to demonstrate one’s disillusionment with society, with the system and the world at large, that takes a certain amount of talent. I would urge the public to look beyond the surface of the act and think of the underlying message that the artist is trying to send out.”

Dissing concerns about the foul smell and sight emanating from the act, he added,”The whole intention of the act is not just to engage and provoke the audience on an intellectual level but also to ‘assault’ and overwhelm all the five human senses so as to achieve the desire impact that the artist wanted. If anyone come expecting an inanely wholesome performance, it’s better that they stay home and stick to Mediacorp programs.”

And finally when asked what valuable “insights’ and “enlightenments” he hopes the audience will derived from his performance, H*men just smiled and said,” Actually I don’t give a damn.” And to drive home the point, he lifted a leg and expelled an audible stinker that permeated the whole room within an instant .

Other notable attractions at the Singapore Biennale 2008

“Emptiness of the Human Soul” by Alphonse Boucher

This modernist masterpiece by the late Frenchman has taken the concept of minimalist painting to a whole new level. The art piece was sold for an astonishing US$25 millions during an auction 5 years ago. Till today, critics and art academics are still debating over the influences and impacts this painting has on the art world.

“3000 Bristles and a Suit” by Jason Anthony Ngiam

This performance art created a sensation when it debuted at New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York last week. The sight of a man in a suit brushing his teeth in a nonchalant manner has art critics lapping it up and calling the performance “fun and rebelliously chic”. Wall Street Journal has even included Ngiam as the 10 New Faces to Look Out For in its latest arts column.

“Table” by Sophie Johansson

A replica of Sophie’s own table in her home. This installation art is a continuation of a series of works to illustrate the despondent nature of todays modern urbanites. Others in Sophie’s award winning series include bed, wardrobe, kitchen sink and many many more.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Am  |  June 4, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Hilarious! I like “Emptiness of the Human Soul” & “Table”. ROFL

  • 2. wassup  |  October 5, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Please blog about prostitute Zoe.


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