What life in a Singapore artist’s studio looks like | The A List
In a time when privacy is a fiercely guarded thing, artists in Singapore are opening up their studios to share their life and art with the public. One example is Open House 2020 at Telok Kurau Studios.
Formerly a primary school, the building, tucked away in a laidback residential area, now houses some 30 artists and arts groups. Among those who call the “art kampung” their second home are artists Hera Winata and Zen Teh of Studio Lalang. Hera tells us what life at Telok Kurau Studios and Studio Lalang is like:
“Our studio unit used to be a small classroom, a space of oddly familiar proportions. The building and the neighbourhood might recall a different time and rhythm, but it doesn’t necessarily slow us down. Rather, the studio offers us a space to imagine, in this fast-paced and inevitably competitive global city.
“Zen, whose interest lies in interdisciplinary studies of nature and human behaviour, often works on installation prototypes or photographic sculptures in the studio (above: Zen’s Mirror of Water installation at the Esplanade last year). My time in the studio is mostly spent on art historical research and creating spatial drawings as a way of ordering and making sense of exhibition archives.
“Along with our own artmaking and research activities, we also invite fellow artists to participate in a not-for-profit residency and dialogue programme, which culminates in some form of sharing, such as an art exhibition (above: preparing for an exhibition). The character of the studio as a sharing space is distinct from a gallery space—it is not an isolated venue but a permeable one; we continue to carry out our daily creative practices within.
“As I am writing now, we are preparing for the showcase of artists Ong Fang Zheng and Yeo Jian Long, who were residents of the studio. The show is part of the Singapore Art Week 2020 programme. Titled Dérive In Wood, the exhibition features woodblock prints and paintings (above: painting on the left by Yeo and print on the right by Ong) that explore the artists’ entanglements within and around Telok Kurau Studios.
“As we continue to explore modes of making, sharing and being in the studio (above: experimenting with artists Tse Man Nga and Chen Ziwei) and the community, we look forward to the possibilities of its constant transformations.”
The reply has been edited and condensed. Details about Dérive In Wood here.
(Photos: Studio Lalang)