Culture / Art Republik

Yeo Chee Kiong and Isabella Teng’s Art Exhibition Asks Questions That Do Not Need Definite Answers

A contemporary sculptor and a young Singaporean artist ponder the philosophy of questions, using their artistic mediums to create playful but thought-provoking answers.

Sep 29, 2022 | By Charmaine Tan
The spiral motif surrounding the sculpture and painting references how the artists travel through time and question the different periods. This curation by Olal’Art attempts to find answers and meaning in life and creation through different subjects. Image: Lena Löfling

Nowadays, questions are seldom truly asked with intention. More and more of the younger generations are being brought up thinking that every question has a ready answer, when the essence of asking questions is about being open to not just one, but multiple possibilities.

There is no true sense of finality in art, as there is no right or wrong in personal expression, and that’s what esteemed sculptor Yeo Chee Kiong and young Singaporean artist Isabella Teng explore in their new exhibition, “Question”.

Image: Lena Löfling

Presenting pieces that contemplate the dualities of heaven and earth, spirit and body, nature and science, and well as aesthetics and philosophy, the artists challenge and subvert our natural ways of looking at the world, inviting us to think beyond our comfort zones through a masterful finessing of their art forms.

Artist Yeo Chee Kiong. Image: Lena Löfling

The first of this artistic pairing, alumnus of the Glasgow School of Art and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Yeo Chee Kiong, uses playful and unexpected juxtapositions to make sculptures and installations that study the language of and spatial relationship between object, space and authorship. He destabilises the familiar notions of spatial proportions and perspectives to examine the complex human conditions that construct the surreal world.

In “Question”, he presents a series of beautiful contradictions. Each work a passionate inquiry of why nature is the way it is — revealing his unmistakable love for perfect imperfections. Characteristic steel bubbles as seen in Pedicure (2013) and The wind and wings (2010) explore the human being’s primal desire for the truth within the absurd world of delusion, while Silent Rain, which manifests as green and white clouds raining strings of wool, and lucid beauty of instability and adventuring on a road less travelled.

Installation by Yeo Chee Kiong “slient rain”. Image: Lena Löfling

The other half of “Question” is helmed by Isabella Teng, whose imaginative worlds transport viewers into magical realms drawn up by her deft hand. She is obsessed with clean, simple yet powerful line and creates two-dimensional drawings, paintings, drawings in space, three-dimensional anamorphic installations, conceptual installations — works grounded in the exploration of the line. While her definition of “line” has branched out from drawing into text, writing, and space, the love affair remains the same: an engagement with the unanswerable mystery of the line.

Artist Isabella Teng. Image: Lena Löfling

Suggestive and engaging, her collection of works tracks her growth as a person through time in a heartfelt and thoughtful manner. Of the two new works made for this event, Into The Valley (2022) revisits a time of isolation and extreme introspection from 2015 to 2016, after feeling lost and distressed; if you can’t go up the mountain, why don’t you go down into the valley? That was how this enigmatic piece came to be. To Be Free (2022), the other new work, ponders a more carefree time by illustrating a tree that has roots growing upwards, and the ground is peppered with foliage.

Image: Lena Löfling

Other works like the adorable Where Did The Gravity Go? Series (2009-2013), A Resting Place (a set of four works), and Map (2014), a formative piece that shows the influence of Yayoi Kusama in her work and the cover work of this exhibition, all show depth and emotional clarity as she traverses different emotional planes and phases in her life, bringing viewers into her evolving world.

If anything, this show proves that there are always answers to be found, instead of a singular answer or truth that all humans yearn to reach in their lifetime. After all, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line.

The chairs in the exhibition encourage deep conversations about the questions that we might have after viewing the different artworks. Image: Lena Löfling

This exhibition is set up by Olal’Art, an art consulting company that manages art projects, curates exhibitions, and organises art events. They mainly focus on Chinese and French artists who do abstract art, art brut, and pop art. Olal’Art also gives consultation to anyone, families or private businesses, for suitable art pieces to decorate their homes, offices, or event spaces.

Founders of Olal’Art: Yalin Chen (Left) and Joy Wei Fallenius. Image: Lena Löfling

Additionally, Olal’Art provides workshops and guided tours to connect with the public about the art world and spread awareness of the artists’ thoughts through their artworks. Always exploring new partnerships and collaborations, Olal’Art welcomes all who wish to pursue more artistic and cultural projects to get in touch with them.

The exhibition happens from 27 September to 9 October 2022.

63 Spottiswoode Park Road, Singapore 088651

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