Curator’s Pick: June | On Horizons

Richard Deacon, Dieng #1, 2012, UV print on shaped STPI handmade paper, collaged on screenprinted paper, 104.5 x 145 cm, Edition of 2.

Ashley Bickerton, Volcano No.1, 2006, Lithography and relief print mounted on cast paper, 83 x 114.5 x 4 cm, Unique.

 

The horizon is, and suggests, many things – a moment of apparent meeting, between the two separate planes of earth and sky; an orientation to futurity, to a spatial imaginary; certain limits; a point of view that confronts the margin, the brink.

Our present climate is marked by palpable tensions, and pledges of new (or renewed) resolve, accountability, and solidarity. There is a call to forge and claim new visions and perspectives of the future, to rethink horizons as our forms of knowing and seeing change. In this destabilising time we are negotiating systems and paradigms of value, both extant and incipient, and inviting lateral possibilities that stretch and transmute territorial extremes. In this vein, I consider works from STPI’s artist collaborations that engage with the image or notion of the horizon to apprehend the evolving state of reality.

In Dieng #1, Richard Deacon plays with folding as a means of constructing and confusing an image; interfering moiré patterns fill a curving form – its organic appearance taking reference from Deacon’s earlier sculptural work – collaged on an image of a lake, its faded greenness taking on the aggregate hue of its background. Similarly invested in materiality, Ashley Bickerton’s surreal landscapes in his Graffiti Mountain and Volcano series evoke planetary decay; cavities created during the paper-casting process suggest a surface ridden with craters, with traces of inhabitants from a distant past.


Hong Zhu An, 心扉Sincerity, 2012, Paper pulp painting, acrylic and crayon, 166.5 x 131.5 cm, Unique.

Srihadi Soedarsono, Horizon – The Morning Spirit, 2005, 8-colour woodcut, lithography and screenprint on handmade STPI paper, 127 x 101.6 cm, Edition of 20.

Entang Wiharso, Art History: Blue Moon #5, 2015, Lithography and relief print on paper, 102 x 124.5 cm, Unique.

A fine dark line runs horizontally across the composition of Hong Zhu An’s Sincerity, conveying a sense of serenity and repose; a certain singularity or single-mindedness amid the vastness of the textured grey field. This embodiment of time and space that marries one’s inner self with forces of the wider cosmos is also seen in Srihadi Soedarsono’s Horizon – The Morning Spirit, albeit with a different vitality. His lyrical picture captures an expansive view of nature with broad gestural strokes, the distinction of planes reflecting an enduring metaphor of duality. In Entang Wiharso’s Art History: Blue Moon series, the artist engages with the traditional printmaking techniques of lithography and relief print to present a minimal, balanced composition, arising from a strong sentiment towards his family and second home in the United States.


Shirazeh Houshiary, Migrant No. II, 2015, Etching and screenprint on STPI handmade paper, 80 x 80 x 0.5 cm, Edition of 6.

Genevieve Chua, After the Flood #28, 2011 – 2019, Digital pigment ink on photographic paper, hand-coloured with ink, 75 x 109 x 8 cm, Unique.

 

A horizon line can be blurred, it can threaten to draw back, close in, collapse.

Shirazeh Houshiary’s Migrant is a series of etchings depicting sprawling raintrees that act as a kind of permeable border between planes; not indicating a fixed perspectival point, they suggest possible upward or downward views of the foliage. Referencing the historical importation of the rain tree to the tropics, Houshiary presents the nature of culture and civilisation as one in flux.

In Genevieve Chua’s After the Flood series, black and white photographs depict secondary forests in Singapore, with some sections of foliage coloured in by hand. Common ivy rapidly propagates the landscape, suffocating the trees it grows over. These forests are located along the expressways in Singapore, on the very edge of urban development; hinged on the fine boundary between built and natural, the arresting visual provokes us to question the politics of land cultivation, and of what we consider the peripheral or the centre.

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