Wednesday, April 08, 2015

'I am a Seed Though a Different One From You'

Viewed Singapore-based Taiwanese photographer and artist Lavender Chang's (张时薰 ) first solo exhibition of 2015 at Galerie Sogan & Art. The exhibition is made up of 16 new works themed 'I am a Seed Though a Different One From You'. The artist also translated the theme of the works into Chinese as “我们都是种子,相似但又独一无二”.

The artist explains that "A seed is power. // Yet a seed is also doubt." This depicts her experiments with growing different varieties of beans in different mediums of grape soda, Chinese ink, milk and even blood. She pricked her fingers daily to draw out the blood to mix it with water for one particular bowl. There's a bowl filled half with tap water and mineral water. The artist left it to the visitors to decide which grown-plant used which type of water. These experiments took a year and are documented in these 16 photographs. Glad that Lavender was present on the afternoon I visited and sweetly took me through the works. Always nice to have a chat to understand a little more of the artist's creative processes.

Human life may seem long and unyielding, but in relation to the vast trajectory of human history, we are all but seeds, strong yet fragile, colossal yet minute. 
~ The final paragraph of the introduction to the works.

There is one of a green bean growing in a watermelon. The artist had used many watermelons to try to catch them at the right stage of decay versus the growing sprout. The red and bits of black-decay among the green is extremely arresting. I was quite taken by 'Pinto Bean, Rock Music', numbered 16 in the gallery space, the last piece. A speaker was placed at an angle to the bowl where the bean had grown. Loud rock music was piped through continuously, blasting at the plant. Images were imposed and done on time-lapse and it was up to the audience to decide if the plant liked the music and leaned towards it or away from the sound.

In the exploration and experimentation of seeds' growth patterns, one would easily equate these bases of 'nutrients' for the germinated seeds to what we are born with and how we are nurtured. These bases are metaphors for the different struggles and obstacles every human faces. Humans. We are bean counters, isn't it?

From left, numbered in the exhibition as
12) You can't see the photo here, but that's 'Broad Bean, Individualism';
11) 'Fava Bean, Coffee'; 10) 'Green Bean, Towards Sun',
and 9) 'Black Eye Bean, Fanta Grape Soda and Tap Water'.

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