Museum Musings: Something Above; Somewhere Beyond at FOST Gallery
FOST Gallery presents Something Above; Somewhere Beyond, a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist Sebastian Mary Tay. As Tay’s first major exhibition with the gallery, the exhibition brings together selected photographic works from four different series: Redolent Hills and Delectable Mountains (2012/2013), Amidst the Colours (2015) and Where Does the Sun Rise; Where Will the Moon Shine (2017-) and Time Passing (2018-).
Tay is interested in concepts of Ontology, or the essence of things, and his work branches into questioning the confinements of the empirical world, as well as metaphysical concepts such as being, time, and space. His practice also considers the links between East and West philosophical concepts, specifically the relations between Heideggerian ontology and Daoist metaphysics. All of this informs the images one sees in this exhibition, which brings out human beings’ inclination towards the grandeur of the dynamically sublime. Tay chooses to bring these out through glorious landscapes, each series focusing on certain aspects of the natural world, such as mountainous and cosmological landscapes.
Even then, there is an air of artifice to these images, with colours that are too perfect, too ‘fake’ to be real, creating a disconcerting feeling of incongruity from the impossible landscape of primary colours. The cosmic maps in Where Does the Sun Rise; Where Will the Moon Shine, while looking technical and scientific, do not actually provide any real information. And this artifice is true, with the photographing and the building of landscapes taking place in twenty-gallon tanks, land structures constructed from ground spices, dried herbs and flours, giving rise to ‘fabricated landscapes’. No longer an object, they become a thing, and Tay himself will be constructing a landscape during the exhibition period. One is then asked to reflect upon human desire to search for worlds beyond; spaces that transcend above and beyond the confinements of our empirical world.
Further adding a sense of reality is the choice to capture these landscapes through photography, considered a ‘real’ form of documentation. This irrefutable yet uncanny sense of presentation only adds to the artifice and muddling our own definitions of what is or isn’t genuine. Come see for yourself and examine these imagined worlds of fake reality in FOST Gallery’s Something Above; Somewhere Beyond this September and October.
Something Above; Somewhere Beyond runs at the FOST Gallery from 21st September to 28th October 2018. Admission is free. For more information, visit the FOST Gallery website here