L'Observatoire received the visit of 4 artists consecutively throughout the year: Daniela Beltrani, Alpana Vij, Dean Zeus Colman and Elke Reinhuber, each occupying the studio for a month at a time. From experimenting with space and time (Daniela); or with leaves, golden thread and concrete (Alpana); or playing with the art market (Dean Zeus); and observing the architecture of Singapore en route to the studio (Elke), each artist used the studio and engaged the community in their own way. In between guest resident artists, as permanent resident, I continued my own experiments within the community, with the help of Amelia Han, intern at l'Observatoire from May till October.
WHAT IS AN ARTISTIC EXPERIMENT?
As l'Observatoire enters its 3rd year at Blue House, it might be useful to clarify what I mean by "experiment". By definition, all art is experimental: as long as you have an idea of what you want to achieve but are not sure of the end result, it can be called an experiment.
From working with scientists, I have learned that there are certain elements of the scientist's practice which artists can appropriate. From starting with an observation, making a hypothesis before starting the work, to changing initial conditions to modify the result, these are some of the ways. Responding to the material on hand rather than imposing an artist's idea - staying open even as an idea fails to materialise, repeating the experiment - those are other ways to work like a scientist.
As I observed all the different artists, I enjoyed watching how much like a scientist they work. The curiosity and the diving into the unknown seemed like a common drive. The result is a new set of questions to continue working with. And the viewer gets to ask questions too...
2019 will be a year with even more experimentations, as the invited artists will be prompted to imagine new ways of exploring art-making. "Interactive" will definitely be the direction for prospective works. As usual, the children from Blue House International Preschool will be first to encounter the artists' works, but the general public will also be invited to view and participate. We hope to stay an experimental space, and hope to attract galleries and museums to come and observe the results of these incubations.
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