Culture / Art Republik

Art exhibitions in Singapore: Intersections Gallery presents ‘Burning Landscapes’ and ‘Beyond the Surface’

The upcoming shows traverse Chinese ink, video, Western painting, installations and ceramics

Mar 28, 2017 | By Angela Teo
Hanibal Srouji, 'Dusk', 2016, fire, acrylic, canvas, 75 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Hanibal Srouji, ‘Dusk’, 2016, fire, acrylic, canvas, 75 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Since 2012, Intersections Gallery has been quietly building a growing repertoire of quality art and a deep commitment to nurturing artists. The Gallery’s upcoming shows ‘Burning Landscapes’ from March 17 to April 30, and ‘Beyond The Surface’ from May 3 to June 18, showcase collaborations that create a dialogue among Chinese ink, Western painting, video, installations and ceramics.

Burning Landscapes

Often seen as an unforgiving, destructive force, the artworks in ‘Burning Landscapes’ transmute fire into a life-giving force that has an aesthetic element of beauty, a creative medium that balances yin and yang, and an expression of serenity and positivity. The exhibition showcases artistic statements of freedom by two French Lebanese artists, Tania Nasr and Hanibal Srouji. Both Nasr and Srouji were forced to flee Lebanon’s Civil War, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, and Nasr’s ceramic works, with Srouji’s paintings and installation, speak of remembered and discovered geographies together with intimate emotional landscapes.

French Lebanese artist Tania Nasr. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French Lebanese artist Tania Nasr. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

When they met in 2014, both artists instantly saw a synergy between their creative processes and the role of art as beyond mere self-expression and as an articulation of a larger, global vision of art and art making.

United by fire, the painter’s circular form in Srouji’s ‘Tondos’ series responds to the form and intention of Nasr’s spherical ceramic works. Srouji sees the circular forms as “openings of the soul from which we can look beyond” and begin to dream and hope again. It is with this shared vision of artworks that convey peace and optimism that their collaboration flowed harmoniously. Each artist intuitively echoed the other in exchanges that went beyond language; how a colour directly applied on canvas echoed the sensuality of hands working on clay.

French Lebanese artist Hanibal Srouji. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French Lebanese artist Hanibal Srouji. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

They both express, through their respective mediums, a means to transcend the swift brutality of fire’s destruction, taking their time to coax a sublime expression of creation and resilience. Where fire births Nasr’s ceramics with form and colour, Srouji marks the canvas with a trail of fire from a blowtorch. If fire can be seen as pure energy, then its potential to build or annihilate lies in the choices that mankind makes.

The free-floating strips of canvas that comprise Srouji’s ‘Healing Bands’ series and Nasr’s ceramics have a “horizontal flow” as the pieces work together as one; an allegory of humankind’s strength in unity. Both Nasr and Srouji remind us how art can celebrate light and offer us a meditative space to heal and elevate our existence.

Tania Nasr, 'By the sea', 2015, mix clay, clear glaze, cobalt blue, 18 x 15 x 117 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Tania Nasr, ‘By the sea’, 2015, mix clay, clear glaze, cobalt blue, 18 x 15 x 117 centimetres. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Beyond The Surface

Exploring the human body as a repository of memories, ‘Beyond the Surface’ employs Chinese ink paintings, video, sculpture and installation and conceptual art to delve into the subconscious. This new series by Hélène Le Chatelier illustrates the internal landscapes that emerge when we sink into our body’s wisdom; revealing the multiplicity of our frailties and strengths, ego and fear, and love and shadows. Questioning the intimacies of our time, her artworks hold space for introspection, so that each person can experience the vastness of their secret inner selves. Here, Le Chatelier observes our sense of oneness vis-à-vis the metamorphosis of our inwardness and relationship with our bodies.

Hélène Le Chatelier, 'Internal Landscape 13', 2017. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Hélène Le Chatelier, ‘Internal Landscape 13’, 2017. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

To reflect the blurring of boundaries between skin and screen in the social media age, this exhibition marks the first time that Le Chatelier will feature video as part of an installation. She explains, “Each medium allows me to explore a different aspect of a single concept. It’s like pulling different strings from the same ball of wool”. Collaborating with Butoh dancer Syv Bruzeau, the video calls for us to listen to the darkness and nuances of our bodies. Le Chatelier also collaborated with Virgile Viasnoff, a scientist and researcher, to include images of cells reacting to their environment. In the face of social media’s overexposure, the video brings people back to the space in their inner worlds.

The complexity of the self is a composite of personal experiences and is personified by the sculpture Le Chatelier created for this exhibition. Outer layers of newspaper representing daily events are coated in layers of ink, mirroring our social facades, while the heart is a hidden message and inner core of clay. Le Chatelier likens this to love being an acceptance of the unknown in our deepest relations.

French artist Hélène Le Chatelier. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

French artist Hélène Le Chatelier. Image courtesy of Intersections Gallery

Le Chatelier’s show questions the dichotomy between the freedom of data and debatable intimacy, as well as the volatility of human bonds and the connection with self. The human condition might seem enduring, when it is actually constantly transforming and therefore transitional and ephemeral.

This article is written by Pamela Ng and was originally published in Art Republik 14.

 
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