FOST Gallery is pleased to present In Random Order, featuring works by Kray CHEN, Heman CHONG, Grace TAN and Syagini Ratna WULAN.
Each body of work functions within a structure, physical or conceptual, which is determined by a set of rules and a unified composite of interrelated and independent (possibly infinite) modular parts. And yet the individual artist has found ways to re-delineate the spatial and temporal boundaries, circumventing or subverting the set order. This is either in response to the immediate environment or by simple prerogative as its creator. This sense of unpredictability and chance elevates what might have been a static, passive system to an energetic, dynamic one.
Order is only evident when there is an obvious pattern or sequence. Both Grace Tan and Syagini Ratna Wulan respond to the spatial constraints of the gallery architecture with their respective works n. 358 – variable equilibrium, a row of I-Beams, shrouded with long strands of black thread; and Aether Array, a multi-panelled work, with a pre-determined gradation of colour. The works consists of component parts which could possibly continue infinitely. Each artist had to make a decision as to when to cease the multiplicity while showing enough components to evidence the order.
The fragility and temporality of orders, in art as in politics, no matter how well established, are exemplified in several artworks. The conical sandpile in Tan’s n. 357 - critical point in its positive and negative forms reveals a precarious state where the slip faces of both the pigment pile and pit are on the verge of collapse. Both models demonstrate the concept of self-organised criticality, where physical systems spontaneously bring themselves towards these acute points. Similarly in n. 358 – variable equilibrium, the positions of the loose strands of thread are altered by external factors in the immediate environment. Wulan’s chimera, a sculpture, which constituents are bespoke interlocking polystyrene components was built to a point where another component added might have undermined its physical stability and visual balance. In Chong’s Foreign Affairs #69, repeated banal images of an unnamed embassy back entrance hint of the shifting-sands of power systems in politics and diplomacy, upending old world orders.