Amidst the rapidly growing urban landscape of Singapore, the ‘Garden City’, lies numerous carefully selected and planted natural greeneries–a demonstration of the human’s desire for control. Human intervention in nature is not exclusive to Singapore. Though the two often seem disconnected with one another, the truth is, humans are undoubtedly an integral part of nature. And the aftermath of such control has no doubt a substantial impact on nature and humans.
This April, the Mizuma Gallery opens The Seeds We Sow, a group exhibition about the relationship between humans and nature, featuring Singaporean artists Ang Song Nian, Marvin Tang, Robert Zhao Renhui, and Zen Teh. The Seeds We Sow will showcase works that explore the themes of human intervention, human behaviour, the environment, and nature, through photography and installations, bringing together human and nature in one exhibition.
Ang Song Nian works with materials and traces of human behaviours made visible within landscapes through photographic documentations and installation. Intrigued by the narration of thoughts and ideologies through visuals, he has always favoured a microscopic approach to concepts, a style which he always employs to open up details in his practice. His works questions the relationship of human interventions and invasions on landscapes. For this exhibition, Ang will presents two bodies of work, Artificial Conditions (2019) and As They Grow Older And Wiser (2016 – ), both originating from his deep interest in the manipulation of nature and landscape and the false ideal of the proximity that we have with nature.
Marvin Tang uses photography, moving images and objects to visualise phenomena that surfaces through the act of control. His research questions the linearity of historical narratives, examining the notion of collective identities. His work builds on the multiple layers of cause and effect propagating from political decision-making to shifting social structures. Tang will present an on-going work entitled The Colony – Archive (2019 – ), a study of the various botanical gardens that were established during the colony of the former British Empire.
Robert Zhao Renhui is a multi-disciplinary artist and is one of the forefront artists of the Singapore contemporary art scene. Constantly fascinated with man’s controlled coexistence with nature, his practice seeks to pursue creative, interdisciplinary research, embracing perspectives and advance unconventional means of understanding
human and animal relations. His photographs are created by constructing and layering the subject with narratives that cross the boundary between the real and the fictional, creating doubt in the viewer about the image’s authenticity.
Zen Teh is an artist and educator interested in man’s relationship with the natural world. Teh’s art practice is shaped by her proficiency in photography and painting, alongside her continual investigation into interdisciplinary studies of the works of nature and human behaviour. Working with the unique features of each piece of second hand furniture, Teh plays with their functionality and the visual expressions and narratives of a fine art work, treading cautiously between the two. Introducing visual narratives and strategies that highlights the origin and materiality of the object, and also challenges our conventional understanding of its function and meaning. Each furniture is to be seen as photographic sculptures where her photographs of nature and landscapes are embedded, juxtaposed, or embellished on, weaving the presented narrative seamlessly within its form. In this exhibition, Teh presents one of the furniture from this ongoing series, a reflection of her conscious effort of working with second hand furniture marking the environmental consciousness as an artist, and an invitation to the public to reduce waste.
The Seeds We Sow runs from 4th April to 10th May 2020 at the Mizuma Gallery. For more information, visit their website here