Singapore, March 2014 – Art Plural Gallery is pleased to announce Spurious Stories from the Land and Water, the solo exhibition of Singaporean artist Sherman Ong running from April, 24 to May 31, 2014 at Third Floor - Art Plural Gallery. The exhibition features two photography series Monsoon and Spurious Landscapes as well as a short film.
Born in 1971 in Malaysia and based in Singapore, Sherman Ong’s work centres on the relationships between humans and their environment. Addressing the climate difficulties in South East Asia, he broadens his speech to borderless issues, travelling around the world to voice the crises he meets. Photographs and videos express the characters’ loss and breathlessness in spaces ruled by uncontrollable telluric forces.
Sherman Ong’s captured instants do not relate to any human active struggle against an undisciplined nature. Surprisingly, humidity, monsoon, droughts are the dominant subjects of the work. Characters are mainly seen seated or acting as in an everyday and imperturbable life where elements violently unleash. Hoping for the best and devoted to time, a consensus seems to be understood by the depicted men and women: “life goes on”, radical but necessary choice?
A true photographer, Sherman Ong does not shape reality but shows it bare and raw. An external perspective on the drama reveals the human state of mental desertion from inhabited spaces. Physically present but not strictly occupying the premises, characters are none other than alienated temporary visitors. Movements, storms, accidents dictate and overtake any will. In the Monsoon series, people hide, protecting their faces against the wind, symbolically giving away their identity, lost in waves of changes. Sherman Ong likes to quote art critic and author John Berger: “Landscapes can be deceptive. Sometimes a landscape seems to be less a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents take place.”
The known and the unknown are porous notions. Framed in a nature that has always existed and accompanied their life, humans are still strangers on earth. Whether trapped in an overpopulated oppressive city or isolated in an immense stretch of land, they are but elements of landscape…
“I am interested in exploring the intersection between the natural world and human nature, between
landscape and body, offering an alternative viewpoint to the banal, while eliciting subtle beauty in
everyday life”, says Sherman Ong. Indeed, his absurd and sometimes surrealist settings pay tribute to
the survival beauty, ignoring cycles and pointing out a fluid continuity.
“We are delighted to exhibit Sherman Ong’s work on Third Floor at Art Plural Gallery. Through people’s
life and a high psychological sensitivity, Sherman Ong smoothly depicts our relationships with a changing
environment. He is dedicated to show a reality that cannot be ignored today. This exhibition is also in
dialogue with our newest publication - Art Plural, Voices of Contemporary Art, featuring Sherman Ong.” –
Frédéric de Senarclens, founder and director of Art Plural Gallery.