Recipient of the Curator Open Call 2022
Curated by Daniel Chong with works by Desiree Tham, Eng Kai Er, Mike HJ Chang, Ryan Lim Zi Yi and Yeyoon Avis
Recipient of Curator Open Call 2022
Presented by Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film
23 Sep to 6 Nov 2022
Chapel Gallery, Objectifs
Tue to Sat, 12pm – 7pm, Sun 12pm – 4pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays
Download the exhibition pamphlet
Opening: Thu 22 Sep, 6pm – 9pm
Formulating Sugar Pills for a Bitter World: A Discussion with Daniel Chong and Sam I-shan
Sat 24 Sept | 2-3pm, at Objectifs Workshop Space
Exhibition Activation: In other words – an off script gym
Sun 9 Oct, 23 Oct, and 6 Nov | 4-6pm, at Objectifs Chapel Gallery
Guided Tour with Curator
Sat 15 Oct | 2-3pm, at Objectifs Chapel Gallery
Ba-Zi Reading by Desiree Tham
Sun 23 Oct | 1-5pm, at Objectifs Lower Gallery
Guided Tour with Curator and Artists
Sun 30 Oct | 2-3pm, at Objectifs Chapel Gallery
“We live in an age of absurdity. Every new event is somehow more ridiculous than the last. Our financial systems constantly hang in the balance; we’re forever in a health crisis; even the concept of truth has changed. What a time to be alive.
Yet in this post-truth, late-stage capitalist, populist, Anthropocene, I’ve found sweet relief in a new brand of humour. This serotonin boost goes by many names: Gen-Z humour, TikTok humour or Post-Dada irony. Often defined by its generational difference, it is marked by its low video quality and unplanned randomness. However, it is often misunderstood as mere attempts to laugh away the pain. In a generation that has dealt with the increasingly illogical nature of the world, this brand of humour is not just a mere joke. In fact, within its absurdity are honest attempts to make sense of the world. They have developed their own sugar pill – a placebo activated from belief.
This exhibition functions as a sampler – a conceptual pillbox. Containing the work of 5 artists, each of them have developed their own sugar pills, placebos to process and guide them through their times. They too are honest responses created in the vernacular chaos of our era, synthesising works that sit between the poetic and the hilarious.
Their art is an incidental reflection. While not a direct response to the ailments plaguing our world today, they are clearly of its time. Sugar pills do not inherently heal, but through belief, affect change. Similarly, it is the artists’ earnest responses that have led the curation of this show. Selected for their commitment to their practices and their embrace of the absurd, they have formed their own internal structures and logics – crystallisation of their pursuits.
With each practice comes its own brand of sugar pill, and with each pill an acknowledgement of its size. A sugar pill is small. It pales in comparison to the monstrosity of the world. Yet, this tiny pill, with enough faith, commitment and hope, can help relieve even for a little while.”
— Daniel Chong, Curator
Presented by Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film
Supported by the Cultural Matching Fund
About the curator
Daniel Chong is an artist whose curatorial approach grows from the curiosities within his artistic practice. His exhibitions use the emotive and irreverent quality of art to expose, emphasise or nudge at the pre-existing societal constructs of our time. His curation tends to soften the limitations of the exhibition format in hopes of being able to expand the vocabulary and language of art.
Independently, he has curated Bad Imitation (2022) at Tanjong Pajar Distri-park as part of Singapore Art Week, Melting! Melting! (2019) at Gillman Barracks and RAID (2016) at Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter. He is also the co-founder and curatorial lead of Stranger(’s) Touch, an ongoing art project in the guise of a retail store that has been active since 2022. He was also Assistant Curator of the non-profit arts organisation OH! Open House from 2019 to 2021.
About the artists
Yeyoon Ann Avis is a multimedia artist that explores the re-contextualizing of art production. Her practice attempts to expand the limits of what encompasses art to include elements of music, design and branding. Her practice often draws from digital culture and personal experiences as an artist.
Avis has participated in group exhibitions such as In Time Passes (2021) at the National Gallery Singapore, Objects in the Mirror (2019) at Supernormal Space and held a solo exhibition n Entities (2018) at PentaPrism Project in South Korea. Additionally, Avis also performed her live video piece Lick (2021) at Esplanade, Singapore.
Mike HJ Chang’s artistic practice examines the world through a lens of curiosity – characterised as an alien observing something for the first time. His works question what is seen and what is doing the seeing, reorienting the unquestioned conventions of an object. Through a use of play and humour, his works curiously shift our understanding of their functions and the subsequent environment they are used in.
Chang has been widely exhibited such as in various solo shows such as Calendar of Dilation (2020) and The Body and the Seed (2018) at Yeo Workshop, Singapore. Additionally he has been exhibited widely in various group exhibitions such as The Genius of the Crowd (2019), Esplanade, Singapore and Suppose There is A (2017) at ICA, Singapore. He is currently represented by Yeo Workshop, Singapore.
Desiree Tham’s sculptural practice focuses on manipulating the functions of everyday objects. Her ongoing body of work unpacks the material and cultural philosophies of feng shui and updates them with the materiality of the 21st century. She uses feng shui as a starting point to examine the lengths at which cultures pursue or rationalise abstract goals such as luck, happiness or future wealth.
She has exhibited in various shows such as a solo show at How to Chase a Mountain (2021) at ISLANDS Peninsula, and group shows such as An Uncanny Assortment of Miscellaneous Objects (2021) at VT Art Salon, Taiwan and in art fairs such as Asia Art Now (2019), France. She was also the 2019 winner of the Chan Davis Art Prize.
Ryan Lim attempts to collect encounters, activities and moments of living in the public and private surroundings. By reconfiguring these moments, newly formed narratives, characters, compositions and situations are formed in his works. These installations eventually meditate on our relationships and attitudes towards the inconspicuous areas of reality.
His recent projects include co-curating ROBIN (2021 – 2022) an idea for an art space in the form of camping tents, and exhibiting at group exhibitions such as Undescribed #7 (2022) at DECK and moulding, grazing, tampering, shifting (2022) at starch, Singapore. He has also exhibited widely in the Netherlands such as Some World Futures (2020) at Nest, The Hague and Look what the wind just blew in (2020) at the LivingRoom, Rotterdam.
Eng Kai Er (Kai) is a choreographer, performer, dancer, and workshopper currently studying MA Choreography and Performance, at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, Gießen, Germany. She is interested in the relational aspects of life in a dance studio, currently looking at and playing with: rehearsals as social situations, workshops as performances, dancing as interpersonal communication.
She has created and performed widely over the past decade. In Singapore, she was part of The Substation’s Directors’ Lab (2013-2014), associate artist at TheatreWorks (2015-2017), and the main responsible person for the experimental art space Make It Share It (2018-2019). In August 2022 she will become resident choreographer at K3, Tanzplan Hamburg.
Straits Times – Shot Through the Art: 3 New Singapore Photography Exhibitions
Plural Art Mag – 23 September 2022 – Sugar Pills for a Bitter World at Objectifs
Art and Market – October Round-Up