Alongside our current exhibition, STAGING: MAPPLETHORPE, we’re pleased to invite visual artist and photographer Sarah Isabelle Tan and performance artist XUE for an engaging evening of sharing.
Sarah’s practice explores the traces and representations of temporality, drawing on personal encounters of loss, memory and longing. Sarah will speak about her recent works which delve into the transience and material traces of corporeal objects, in particular her series, ‘The Timeline’ (2019 – ongoing). Before they were based in Singapore, XUE lived in New York for 7 years developing their performance practice. XUE will share about their experience of coming into their own as an artist in New York and the two defining works that they developed there, ‘Flowers’ (2019) a durational piece whereby the artist whips themselves with chrysanthemums and ‘Desir’ (2019) a work which uses incense cones as a metaphor for desire.
In this conversation, the artists will explore resonant themes in Robert Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre and Patti Smith’s moving memoir Just Kids – the tension between the transient and eternal, the drive to immortalise and preserve, as well as the struggles, triumphs and fleeting moments of art-making, youthful dreams and strong friendships.
Sarah Isabelle Tan is a visual artist whose practice delves into the ontology of being and time, navigating between nuances of the tangible and intangible. Working across mixed media forms and fragments, she is particularly interested in the materiality of the photograph and its (re)representation of things. Her work ultimately attempts to comprehend and perceive the indexical nature of presence and absence – a perpetual process of becoming.
XUE is an eponymous surrogate for Singaporean artist Sher Chew — a conductor of clandestine realities, activated through live performance, sound collaborations and video work, informed by the art of butoh. As a permeable body, XUE cultivates an impressionistic style of worldbuilding, in communion with other artists and musicians, to conjure auto-fictive universes, as a means of enacting new mythologies. XUE is interested in the posthuman imagination as an approach for rewiring the present and future. Their artistic practice explores the poetics of man’s existence in a perishable world.