East is West: Three Women Artists runs until 15 February at the Lasalle College of the Arts in the Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore. This wonderful exhibition – more to come in a later post - introduces three women artists from outside Western Europe who now live in Berlin. Curated by Dr Charles Merewether it features Mariana Vassileva (Bulagaria), Almagul Menlibayeva (Kazakhstan) and Nezaket Ekici (Turkey).
Some of the work explores the subject of women as well as cultural differences that lie within their countries of origin and between national boundaries. Integral to their practice is performance that is recorded and subsequently shown as independent work, invloving both themselves directly as the subject, as well as others.
The Roaming Eye (tRE) took some iPhone photos (see below) and stayed at the exhibition for a couple of hours watching four video works by each of the three artists and absolutely loved the show. Of course, of the twelve video works, ranging from a couple of minutes up to 24 mins or so, there are favourites including Ekici’s performance piece Veiling and Reveiling, Menlibayeva’s Transoxiana Dreams and Vassileva’s Journal.
What was so refreshing for tRE was the way the conceptual and the technical merged to produce beautifully articulated and visually engaging works that were strong and often, profound. Sometimes, one aspect is foregrounded at the expense of the others, but this was not the case here. The videos also demonstrated a level of maturity and depth that may have something to do with the women’s ages – all are in their 40s – as well as their particular cross cultural experiences and artistic educations.
It is so nice to get away from the UK and the often London-biased exhibition scene and familiar styles of works that are – at times – dominated by certain institutions, such as the Royal College of Art. Look out folks, it’s going to be costing £25,000/year for international students to do the two year Masters in Photography – that’s a huge investment and is, if we are honest, not just about the art and the critical forums that the RCA provides for its students, but also about the brand and its status.
There’s nothing wrong with this and there are undoubtedly some exciting visual artists and photographers that have emerged from the RCA and its photography Masters. But art and photography should, in tRE’s opinion, be discovered by looking outside the usual remits and circles and seen in different environments and countries as house styles do tend to emerge and sometimes works gets repetitive, stale and becomes uninteresting. More images from the show in a later post, there’s a lot to cover. One other point, light from outside spilled inside and it compromised the bottom right-hand corner of the screen where Menlibayeva’s work was projected, as the blinds behind the glass door were not fully closed.
See over for more photos…