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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Minimart 4.0 Art Exhibition: Small spaces, Big concepts


Since its beginnings in July 2011, Minimart has been readily recognised as a platform for budding up- and-coming artists, providing an opportunity to showcase their latest works and other forms of modern practices. In its latest installation held at Substation, Minimart 4.0, a collective of local artists' works were displayed in response to an open call to transform a 1m x 1m x 3m space into a uniquely personalized, contemporary art space. Through various themes such as aesthetic expression to conceptual art, these artists translated and expressed their own thoughts in their individual unique styles.

I get up close and personal with 3 showcasing artists to learn more about what makes them tick and learn more about their collections.

 Paper Mistress and her Secrets: Nicola Anthony

Upon entering the gallery, I was instantaneously drawn towards an installation tucked in a quiet corner; numerous long cascading lines hanging low, laden with countless tiny slips of paper. I was pleasantly greeted by Nicola, the English artist behind the installation.

Considering herself a “glocal” artist, she feels that her art connects at a human level with people, and resonate certain local issues and feelings on a more global level. She counts city cultures, communication, language and text, as her inspirations, which brings us to talk about her latest collection entitled “The Word Collection Project”. Works like 'Verse' at The Substation show ask viewers to write onto the surface of the sculpture, so that the piece slowly transforms and fills up with all sorts of secrets and hand written sentences.

Being perched at a discreet spot, she allows a degree of privacy for visitors to write down their feelings and tuck it amongst the countless slips. Nicola divulges some yet to-be-published contributions to give us a kind of exciting intrigue that ‘Verse’ exudes:

"I am curious. I am old enough to bleed, I am old enough to breed, I am old enough to crack a brick in your teeth while you sleep. I want life and possibilities. I hope this is a dream worth living for. I feel thrilled and sexy. I eat. I shop. I feel creative and wonderful. I think honey-glazed chicken tastes suspiciously like Teriyaki.
I feel without meaning. I am God. I hope. I want us all to fit."

Verse is brilliantly quiet, mysterious and deliciously exhibitionist in a way. Secret thoughts are open for the public eye but still keeping the anonymity that allows the writer to pen down some truly interesting thoughts and feelings. And in the process, the next person who reads it, is left to imagine what kind of person had written the message, and the elements that shape him/her in his life. Nicola has managed to bring out a truly dynamic installation that visitors can be a part of, giving it a very heartfelt and almost intimate touch.

 Of Sights and Sounds: Paul James 

Painting for almost over a decade, Paul James has always been especially inspired by notion of ‘The Concept’. Having a specific interest in large scale non-representative abstract paintings or photography, Paul believes that it best expresses the stark and abstract element of images people are exposed to, when they shut their eyes and look deep inside themselves. Hence, he employs his intrinsic knowledge of mathematics, electronics, music, media, computer programming; and combines it into his pieces. His personal philosophy, as he quotes: ‘paintings represent something that cannot be conveyed and that photography as a means of recording images that cannot be remembered’.

His current collection entitled ‘Out of the Lift and into Life, revolves around chance encounters, and the sense of pleasure found therein. A series of images consisting of water droplets on multi-coloured surfaces, the slightest of velvety drapes, swirls of paint gradients and overlapping architectural silhouettes were carefully paired off with a one of a kind soundtrack lasting between five to twenty minutes. Interesting to know, the soundtrack, is actually created based on an algorithm that was designed and programmed by Paul.

In the production of his works though, a challenge was posed in both ways: To produce a musical soundtrack from an image, or to produce an image that yields a musical soundtrack. The result is an all rounded sensory experience, where the viewer’s cognitive senses take in the artwork and its complementing soundtrack lifts the image into life, thereby drawing the viewer and allowing them an additional level of appreciation on an emotional level.

 The Silent Struggle: Zoya Chaudhary 

 My first impression of Zoya Chaudhary, was that she was quite the embodiment of her style of art. Fresh faced and clad in a simple tunic, she softly explained to me about her collection. In light of the recent tragedy of the New Delhi gang rape of a young woman who later succumbed to her horrific injuries; Zoya related to her country’s news breaking incident, as well as a sense of unspoken frustration with the age-old Caste system and gender discrimination culture of the a patriarchal Indian society.

 A capsule collection of only 6 pieces, The ‘Fly, Butterfly Project’ pays tribute to the long-suffering repression of the Indian women and the small hope she has for significant changes to the mindset of the Indian society.

Using raw, unvarnished wood canvases, black images of male faces were stenciled, their expressions frozen in a mixture jeers, smirks and stony looks; perhaps to convey a sense of belittlement. Butterflies and cocoons in a saffron yellow hue give a sense of vulnerability, yet the powerful process of metamorphosis of the female spirit; symbolized by the cocoon of change brought by time, that Indian women will one day be able to stand strong against gender inequality and rampant sexual abuses. Yellow itself, was an interesting color choice as it has the symbolism of sacredness and hope in the Indian culture.

Zoya hopes that her piece can convey the sense of foreboding fear & insecurity that has left its imprint in each household that has a woman working, studying or leaving their homes for any reason. The ‘Fly, Butterfly Project’ also wishes to empower women who had courageously reached and claimed their rightly deserved freedom, whom had struggled against all odds, and have protested and fought at every stage for this basic human right.

 If you are interested to stay updated on their upcoming sessions, do show your support by liking their Facebook page:

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