STPI “BMW Young Asian Artists Series III”
By Ashley Lee
The Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) is currently hosting the third edition of its biennial “BMW Young Asian Artists Series,” featuring three exciting emerging artists from the region: local artist Genevieve Chua, Manila-based Lyra Garcellano and RE Hartanto, from Bandung. The show has been curated by Singaporean artist Heman Chong, who exhibited in the inaugural 2007 show.
Chong explained: “As a curator, I am always interested in how the exhibition process creates possibilities for the construction of a community.” He hopes the show prompts “multiple viewpoints on what Asia is outside the East-West paradigm and Expressionist-Conceptualist theory.”
To broaden the perspective of the show Chong invited two other curators, Joselina Cruz and Agung Hujatnikajennong, to collaborate with him, though he says this process was “very organic.” Before the exhibition, Chong had already been well-acquainted with Cruz, then when Chong mentioned the project, she suggested inviting Hujatnikajennong.
The three exhibiting artists this year all examined urban anxiety, each being based in one of Asia’s metropolises.
In her works, Chua reflects upon Singapore as a “garden city,” but aims to delve into the city-state’s sinister, more mysterious spaces. She exhibits both laboriously precise prints of native Singaporean hibiscus flowers—combining the techniques of monotype and photoetching—and more spontaneous black-and-white lithographs of ferns on delicate Japanese handmade paper.
On the other hand, the other two artists’ works explore portraiture. Garcellano exhibits ghostly gray silhouettes surrounded by heavy black lithographed frames and screenprinted contour drawings superimposed with stained washes of hot pink topographical maps, while Hartanto utilized dry point, screen print and monotype to depict faces uncomfortably glancing at each other, revealing nervousness, awkwardness and fear.
Not having worked with printmaking before, each of the artists has had to adjust their practices to a new medium. Although centered on a similar theme, the result is an aesthetically diverse show, reflecting the artists’ distinct experiences.