Playing With & For The Community
by Sha Najak
Walking into the space transformed by artist Shengen got me intrigued. I was immediately drawn to the black garbage bag lined across the room walls. When asked about this, Shengen responded that it was purely logistical. To darken the space, he puts up these black bags for he was not able to paint the walls. Creating a dark space was essential for this allowed the photographs that were projected onto acrylic boards using a projector, to become stronger achieving a focused understanding of the relationship between the space and works.
One other element that will strike you is the projectors (known as OHP) which were the kind school teachers use back in the 90s. Shengen shared that he was able to get in touch with a school who allowed him the use of these projectors for his show. Little did he know that these projectors still exist and that he was able to find them tucked away in a school storeroom. What he did was print his photographs of travels all over the world on a transparent sheet. Shengen tempts conventional ways by reclaiming its original memory he had of the space.
The second room is where Shengen houses photographs designed to assimilate its presence to the audience by way of singularly prodding you to ask yourself of the identity of the people on photo. All the characters presented here hold a link to Shengen’s memory but the trick is they’re faceless with a box over their heads. It didn’t take Shengen long to share about where the boxes came from, Indonesia, the ancestral lineage of his parents. The boxes hides identity and questions viewers, the body is where one understands the role of the person photographed. One such photo had a man with tattoos over his body in a room with cement floors. The floors are something we rarely see in housing architecture anymore further adding reality to the timeliness of the man and the history or identity he holds.
A full article of ‘Being Lost, Being Found’ will be featured this month on SCYA’s blog. Stay tuned for that!
‘Being Lost, being Found’ exhibition runs from 25 July through 8 August at SG Private Banking Gallery, Alliance Française de Singapour. Admission is free.
For more information on Shengen and his works, visit http://www.limshengen.com/Shengen.html.