Art What! Arts Singapore

Art What!: Alfonse Chiu’s This Is What We Believe at 136 GOETHE LAB

Goethe-Institut Singapore presents This Is What We Believe, a solo exhibition by Alfonse Chiu, as part of the second phase of projects presented at 136 GOETHE LAB.

This Is What We Believe explores how faith and collective beliefs in relation to politico-economic apparatuses conjure imaginary, yet inherent, benchmarks for value—of space and time, people and things. These economic imaginaries are shaped in turn by tactics and rhetorics associated with the promulgation of belief systems and ideologies.

This exhibition takes its title from an utterance by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, in response to a centrist-leaning suggestion at a policy meeting, reportedly slammed a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty on the table. Bringing together cultural histories and economic theologies, the exhibition draws from political and economic developments of the late 20th century—when financialisation and neoliberal policies began to proliferate globally—and select ritualistic practices for divine blessings of wealth and good fortune.

By examining the roles that faith, belief, and ideology play (and pray) in the creation of value and worth at a systemic level, the works in the exhibition are experiments of Chiu’s current research and artistic investigations, which probe and tease at the notion of a(n auspicious) visual culture for capital. A tongue-in-cheek overture of ideas both sacred and profane, This Is What We Believe invokes the timeless human struggle for meaning, survival, and shiny things that no others possess.

“While we may dwell in an era that many might call late capitalism, a conscientious engagement with the imaginaries of this economic condition is still relatively uncommon—which prompted me to begin my artistic investigations, with few support infrastructures. As an independent artist, RECONNECT has been absolutely vital in providing me with time, space, and resources to develop my research and push my concepts further.” says the artist Alfonse Chiu.

This Is What We Believe is one of the projects supported under RECONNECT, an open call held last year for incubation projects and new bodies of work; applicants were offered the use of 136 GOETHE LAB to present or develop their projects. Open calls are the Goethe-Institut Singapore’s programme direction for new project 136 GOETHE LAB. Director of the institute, Dr. Martin Wälde, says, “The open call is a way for us to offer this space to the local arts community, as well a platform to discover and present innovative and exciting research through the field of culture.”

This is What We Believe runs from 13th May to 3rd June at 136 GOETHE LAB, at 136 Neil Road. More information available on their website here

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