Singapore's 1st Art Exhibition in A Department Store: Four Letter Work by I Am Not David Lee, An Anonymous Artist
I visited an interesting art exhibition recently. It's Singapore's first art exhibition that is held in a department store, ie, Takashimaya Department Store in Orchard Road. The art exhibition is titled "Four Letter Work" by a local artist, I Am Not David Lee. The "Four Letter Work" exhibition was launched on 13th November 2020 with almost no information. There isn't much social media presence about this artist. Apart from the fact that this artist is from Singapore, and that this is his first solo exhibition, I know next to nothing about this artist. He is obviously not David Lee, the retired footballer.
So who is this anonymous artist?
With the Internet and social media serving as a vital aspect of our day-to-day lives, we have become accustomed to finding out everything about anyone or anything with just a few clicks of a button. The amount of information available to us is astonishingly overwhelming, and so, keeping your identity private is no easy feat. As a result, more and more artists are releasing their art or music while maintaining an anonymous profile. By withholding their true identity, these acts may able to create an element of mystery and anticipation, which often proves to be incredibly effective in capturing the public's attention.
One of the artists that I think can be most associated with this idea of anonymity is Banksy. The idiosyncratic and brilliant street artist, who remains to this day anonymous, has captured the attention and the hearts of millions of people worldwide. While to this day the person known as anonymous artist Banksy has yet to be identified, we can still understand and chart much of the person’s history and repertoire.
Lets now take a look at this "Four Letter Work" exhibition by I am Not David Lee.
Some of the art pieces appear to be contemporary art. One may wonder what is "Contemporary Art"?
In my view, contemporary art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition. When engaging with contemporary art, viewers are challenged to set aside questions such as "Is a work of art good?" or "Is the work aesthetically pleasing?" Instead, viewers consider whether art is "challenging" or "interesting". The questions are just like the wind. They are there and they influence how we see and relate to the world but the next minute, something new comes up and the focus shifts.
The "Fine Iodized S**T" series in this "Four Letter Work" exhibition are good examples of contemporary art. They offer the audience a rich resource through which to consider current ideas and rethink the familiar, especially in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world.
Audiences play an active role in constructing meaning about the word "S**T".
There are two 2 life-size art sculptures on display and one of them reminds me of Maneki-neko Japanese Cat Figurine.
Honestly, there is one thing that attracted me to this exhibition and that is Pop Art. I like to see Pop Art. Pop Art is fun and cheerful. Usually Pop Art deals with bold colors, fun subjects and wild design. Rather then put you in state of depression, Pop Art is typically an uplift experience that might just bring a smile to your face.
Pop Art has a sense of humor. I personally think artists dealing with everyday objects and elevating them to something worth of hanging on a museum wall have to have a wicked sense of humor. And the nice thing is the public is invited in on the fun.
I certainly hope to see more of this artist's works. If there is a chance, I would like to also know more about this artist and his work. But I know chances are quite slim. If an anonymous artist decided to remain a mystery by this stage, then in all likelihood they probably don’t intend to ever reveal themselves. Taking that visual presence away is a very powerful thing, as it removes any prejudice towards the artist and allows the art to speak for itself. Once the art has drawn us into its orbit, our hunger for more kicks in. This, is where the power of anonymous artists truly resides, because no matter how much information is already available to us, we’ll always want to know more.
Some people may think that the gimmick of pseudonymity would prove ineffective today, and yet, more and more artists continue to endorse this trend. Why? Because we, as humans, love a good mystery. We want to know who they are, where they are from, how old they are, are they a soloist or a duo or a band, and perhaps most important of all, what they look like.
The Internet holds the answer to whether the Anonymous Artist will continue to live on. After all, we are diving deeper into the depths of the Internet, with more and more information available at our disposal, and as long as that goes on (which it will), there will always be room for artists to peak our interest, with more mysteries to be solved.
Lastly, I would like to encourage everyone to always show support for local artists :-)
"Four Letter Work" art exhibition is open daily until 18th January 2021.
Takashimaya Department Store
Level 3, Men’s Fashion
391A Orchard Rd
Singapore Takashimaya Shopping Centre