This post is the third part from a series of posts about Singapore International Photography Festival 2012 I attended recently. You can see the introduction here, the first part here and the second part here. You can also click on the images to learn and see more of the works by each artists.
The last exhibition venue I will show you is ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. There is actually also an SIPF exhibition at Alliance Française de Singapour, but the manager allows no photography in the gallery, so I have nothing to show you which is a shame. As huge as it is, the ArtScience Museum hosts most of the work for SIPF, also the Magnum Photos showcase, featuring the works of Stuart Franklin, Mark Power, and Jacob Aue Sobol.
Photographing exploding smoke bomb against landscape background, Filippo Minelli juxtaposes the chaos of the smoke with the beauty of the landscape.
In another landscape work, Lola Guerrera set hundreds of paper birds on it. Another landscape work by Ellie Davies show constructed pathways made from craft materials like paint, powder, wool, in a forest to visualize the idea of ‘constructed nature’.
Wawi Navarroza also shows landscape work, with white cloth shroud on it. She calls her work Dominion, leaving us a question, who conquered what?
Reginal van de Velde is always drawn to abandoned places like dormant structures, mothballed monasteries, derelict castles, defunct powerstations, and alike. And that tendency is quite clear in his series.
Hirohito Nomoto’s work is the only one exhibited here from Japan showing the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. For the series he uses the technique of architecture photography to document some of the structures damaged by the disaster. Most of the structures have been torn down now.
Also the only work from Thailand taken during the November 2011 flood in Bangkok, Miti Ruangkritya captures his capital city in water and in anxiety. For Miti, a friend of mine from Angkor Photography Workshop 2009, the danger was somehow vague, as the government kept telling the people that the flood was not threatening Bangkok, but it was also real as Bangkok was eventually flooded, except the city central. Thus, imagining the flood coming has kept people in fear. This project has been featured in the British Journal of Photography in May 2012 and American Photo Magazine in June 2012, and shown at Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands in 2012.
Justin Maxon uses a Holga for some of his work, including the one exhibited here. For him, the multiple exposure—made possible by the Holga—reflects the layers of his life which he thinks is on transition from a path of chaos to one of healing. This work has been featured on Time magazine’s photo blog LightBox.
The works of Laura Stevens and Bronek Kózka below look very similar—the lighting, the colouring/toning, the setting. The difference between them is that Laura Stevens photographs young couples living together in Paris, London, and Brighton, while Bronek Kózka photographs people posed as families living in suburban areas.
Lucia Herrero photographs middle class people she met along the Spanish coast line to talk about the occidental society. While it documents the changing society that is losing its identity, it also challenges today’s concept of beauty.
Sean Lee exhibits his project photographing his family members he called “Homework”  . The project, he told me, is still ongoing and growing as he still continues photographing his family. For now, it seems to have two parts, “A Healing Device” and “I Believe in the Therapy of Silliness”. This work have won him Icon de Martell Cordon Bleu Award 2011. This series along with Sean Lee’s older work “Shauna” have been published in a book Sean Lee.
New York City-based Chinese photographer, Shen Wei creates the series “Chinese Sentiment” as a personal and sentimental approach to reconnect with the authentic Chinese life. He excludes China’s political and economic influence to reveal its true face from an internal and intimate perspective.
Ian Teh’s “Traces” explores the industrial hinterlands of China’s far flung and impoverished provinces. These places were once green but in the past three decades have seen heavy industrialization and its consequences, from pollution to corruption.
Inspired by the work of Ernest Cole who documented life under apartheid, Dale Yudelman documents life today in South Africa under democracy using nothing but a cellphone camera. The ongoing series will evolve and broaden to include other parts of South Africa to create a biography of recent times.
Christian Lutz’s work captures the closed world of those dealing with oil and gas in Nigeria. Other than photographing businessmen in their private life, Christian Lutz also investigates local pollution in the Niger, where the oil lies.
Zakaria Zainal’s images of the Singaporean general election 2011 looks like taken by a giant, as he used tilt-and-shift lens to get the miniaturized effect.
Also hosted by ArtScience Museum is a special showcase by Magnum Photos titled Outside In. The showcase features three photographers who as outsiders document the state of a place. The three are: Stuart Franklin, whose series “Footprint: Our Landscapes In Flux” looks to emphasize the vulnerability of Europe’s population and landscape in the wake of climate change; Mark Power who presents “The Sound of Two Songs” which documents Poland in transition as a former communist country embracing capitalism; and Jacob Aue Sobol who uses pocket camera and creates contrasty black-and-white images to record his feeling towards his new home Japan in the series “I, Tokyo”.
The Magnum Photos showcase looks totally different from the rest of SIPF exhibitions. All other works are simply printed on paper, mounted on cardboard, and fixed on the wall. Stuart Franklin’s prints are large and framed. Mark Power’s glossy prints are also framed. Jacob Aue Sobol’s high contrast b/w photographs are huge.
I would also like to note that Jacob Aue Sobol’s work could easily be mistaken for a Japanese photographer’s work, as they depict Japan and their contrasty and grainy look is so Japanese. However, if you have time to look Sobol’s other work on his website you will know that it is his style. ∎