STPI is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of esteemed artist Suzann Victor, the only Singaporean female representative at the national pavilion since its inaugural participation in the Venice Biennale (2001).
Known for her conceptual prowess and ability to articulate complex ideas in technically challenging forms, Victor is one of Singapore’s most pronounced and widely exhibited artists to date. From her early practice in the late 1980s as an award-winning abstract painter in Singapore to participating in the broader international circuit with major shows including the 6th Havana Biennale, 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, the 6th Gwangju Biennale, the 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale and the 49th Venice Biennale, Victor’s prolific journey spans across 22 years.
The Sydney-based artist continues to be a formidable force in the region, with notable installations and public artworks such as Dusted by Rich Manoeuvre 2001 at Schola di Santa Apollonia, Venice; Panoramic Matrix, commissioned for the lobby of Meritus Mandarin, Singapore; Skin to Skin (2005), a pair of light-responsive stainless steel public sculptures at World Square, Sydney; Contours of a Rich Manoeuvre (2006), swinging chandeliers that render twelve light-drawings above the bridge linking the old colonial building and the modern addition at the National Museum of Singapore; as well as Rainbow Circle, a meteorological work that induced the appearance of natural rainbows within the rotunda of the museum commissioned for the 2013 Singapore Biennale.
Her calibre and long-standing commitment positions her as an exemplary and important figure in our arts landscape.
“Primarily concerned with rich visual experience, her artistic practice has spanned abstract expressionist painting to performance, and in recent years, highly engineered kinetic chandelier series and installations that incorporate site-specificity, light and the particularities of materiality. With an innate sensibility and deep awareness of the distinctive qualities of stuff, the fluidity of form and the tangibility of colour, Victor has produced a breadth of intellectually informed works that are also at once strikingly beautiful and full of nuanced presence.” Susie Lingham
Her residency at STPI evolved into a unique spectrum of over 60 carefully considered works that challenged even as it exceeded the boundaries of print and paper. Delicate and honest, they spell multiple ‘firsts’ for the artist as well as STPI, and are rare additions to her oeuvre. Victor was able to bring innovative approaches to classical techniques of printmaking, producing works that exude a non-“precision-based” aesthetic within an art form that requires planning, exactitude and meticulous preparation.
“Taking those conventions apart, Victor reconstitutes them anew. In this sense, the title of Victor’s exhibition Imprint is most apt, as a creative and reciprocal process of imprinting takes place between the painterly practice of the artist and the discipline of printmaking, each making their mutually-conditioned mark felt in the body of work.” Susie Lingham
Responding to the nature of the STPI site and its resources, Victor skillfully incorporated aspects of herself as painter, performer and installation artist into her print and paper explorations, combining key visual devices like the use of light, transparency and Fresnel lenses, echoing a recurring motif of concentric circles and arcs in this body of work. Collectively, they demonstrate her proficiency in utilising materiality to render metaphorical and literal opacities – leaving much room for richer and more complex interpretation.
“When I encountered her present works, my thoughts looped immediately back to her practice in the late 1980s, to her paintings. She began with painting. She is, in this instance, circling towards her beginning. The works do not merely recite what was before. Pictorially they break into new terrain; their fabrication, execution and realisation are unprecedented in contemporary art practices here. They are, in turns, luminous and compelling.” – T. K. Sabapathy
“The virtuosic tour de force of her work during this short and intense time responds to and inverts traditional art forms in experimental ways, and even as we witness a lively rapprochement between painting and printmaking, we are swept off on a whirlwind experience of new methods, materiality and ideas that resonate long after the aesthetic encounter.” – Susie Lingham