MOVING LIGHT, ROVING SIGHT
Ikkan Art Gallery is one of the few venues in Singapore to serve up a consistently fascinating brew of video and new-media art. Ikkan’s most recent exhibition, “Moving Light, Roving Sight,” features a canny mix of contemporary Japanese artists and collectives, whose works are juxtaposed with older pieces by Western media artists. The latter includes Jenny Holzer’s iconic TRUISMS (selections from 1977–79) (2013), a digitally animated collection of over 200 clichés and aphorisms taken from advertising and media. Holzer’s exploitation of language and its intent is as fascinating as it is mind-numbing, making it a worthy accompaniment to Teppei Kaneuji’s 2009 animated piece Tower (Movie). In the video, Kaneuji’s stolid, unmoving structure excretes repetitious, banal imagery and sound, including a bouncing ball, tedious taps and rustles, and oozing gels and fumes. Like Holzer’s discourse, Kaneuji’s babel is insidious—integral to his tower’s essence, yet continuously undermining it.
In “Moving Light,” older works like Holzer’s are compelling foils to the more recent pieces on display. The venerable technique of stop-motion photography, for example, inspires contemporary film artist Takashi Ishida. He bypasses digital shortcuts to create elegant stop-motion choreography on 16mm film, then digitizes the imagery, which adds depth and modulation to his compositions. In Burning Chair (2013), Ishida has “painted” organic patterns with chalk and water on the walls of a narrow concrete room. His claustrophobic concrete palette swims with intricate strokes of chalk and rivulets of water that unfurl, recede and fade. At Ikkan, Ishida’s fluent compositions seem otherworldly in contrast to Video Sketches 1–4 (1999) by Oliver Herring. Herring also uses stop motion, but with a studied lack of finesse. His goofy mélang