I popped by my friend Ben’s art gallery for Vincent Leow’s latest art exhibition opening. I was quite looking forward to the show cos’ Vincent the “enfant terrible” of the Singapore art community is a pivotal figure in the alternative contemporary art scene in Singapore. His multi-discipline art is nothing short of thought-provoking – it has been known primarily for the provocative and aggressive which continually explores issues of identity, memory, mortality and its legacies. To me, he is definitely the Jean Paul-Gaultier of the Singapore art scene. One of his more memorable artworks for me would be his recent man-dog silver sculptures Andy – based on his black mongrel and named after Andy Warhol – which were exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum as part of an exhibition.
Vincent Leow: Resembling Imaginary Creatures
27 July to 21 August 2012
Download the exhibition catalogue
Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Shopping Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
About Vincent Leow
Singapore’s leading contemporary artist Vincent Leow (b. 1961) Celebrated as an enfant terrible of the Singapore art community, Vincent Leow is a pivotal figure in the alternative art scene in Singapore. His practice parallels the development of contemporary art in Singapore; and as a painter, he is regarded as a remarkable imagist who has dipped into an astonishing range of images from popular culture, literature, cinema, politics and the mass media.
Leow stands as a central figure in the history of the ‘art collective’ in Singapore. One of the early members of The Artists Village (TAV) , founded in 1988 by the iconic Tang Dawu (b 1943), Leow subsequently helmed other artist-run spaces. Co-founding Utopia (now defunct), Leow is also the founder of Plastique Kinetic Worms (PKW), a leading alternative artist-run space in Singapore. He was also selected to represent Singapore at the 2007 Venice Biennale.
Engaging a range of media that has manifested in performances, installations, sculptures, digital and mixed-media works, Leow’s practice has maintained the element of anarchy and rebellion so critical to alternative practices. He acquired public notoriety with his 1992 performance in which he drank his own urine, and another dressing up in a suit made of fake dollar bills. The art gesture was later elaborated upon through the packing and sale of bottles of urine – epitomizing Leow’s artful handling of ‘underground, subversive’ practices with a savvy understanding of the mechanics of market consumption and its desire for and absorption of infamy, scandal and controversy.
His earlier paintings formed the emergence of unapologetic aggression, blatant sexuality and emotional temperament in the field of painting in Singapore. Leow’s later paintings assumed several shifts, particularly during and after his art studies in the USA (1991) on several art scholarships.
Some of Leow’s works in the 1990s were marked by an ‘urban street style’ and arguably of Neo-Surrealism; others carry a Pop-art sensibility, a taste for kitsch and always a highly individual visual vocabulary – prompting art writers to describe his practice as epitomizing ‘post-modern’ visual strategies.