Exotic Plants and Other Lonely Ideas (2022) takes botanical Wardian cases as an analogical entry point into the parallel between the organic, climate-sensitive qualities of plants and the context-sensitive nature of academic narratives. Observing the prevalence of Western critical theories in contemporary art discourse, the work scrutinises the tension between Western frameworks and non-Western cultural contexts.
The sculptures, made of isomalt, react to the natural conditions of the tropical weather. The material degrades and collapses to expose academic texts to the equatorial climate and its inhabitants. As the walls of the sculptures start to crumble, these works present themselves as sites of reflection and calibration.
Exotic Plants and Other Lonely Ideas was presented in the event of a collaborative showcase of the same name on the 8th floor carpark of Parklane Shopping Mall, Singapore, from 10th to 25th September 2022. The showcase brings together practitioners from the fields of visual art, architecture, film, and poetry who have enriched the project. The programmes include spatial ceramic models by architect-artist Amelia Lim, performance art piece by Arrvin, spatial interventions by Zarch Collaboratives, sharings by playwright-filmmaker Ken Kwek, crystalline ice plant farmer Natasha Lee, and poet-photographer Marc Nair.
The event is held in collaboration with and kindly supported by Zarch Collaboratives.
Exotic Plants and Other Lonely Ideas is a recipient of the National Arts Council Participation and Presentation Grant.