Exhibition view of three constellations of Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame1994 presented in the exhibition Re-Emplace (with Sally Smart) at the John Curtin Gallery, Perth. 

Starting out originally as a single constellation, this kinetic-sound installation enacts the body in absentia as an urgent response to the Singapore government’s defacto ban on performance art (and by implication, the body’s performance) in the aftermath of the media-incited 5th Passage controversy, an important moment in Singapore’s art history that also led to the loss of 5th Passage’s corporate-sponsored rent-free space in Parkway Parade, only to be offered four empty shop lots at Pacific Plaza in the heart of the city for one-year rent-free thereafter, seamlessly advancing the artists-run-initiative’s unprecedented use of commercial spaces as artistic platforms for supporting the practices of emerging artists in exchange for the cultural currency so coveted by corporate developers at the time, 

This work was the second of a series of three successive installations to occupy the same shop lot over the span of a year, the first being Shit-Eating Grins, followed by Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame, and culminating in His Mother is a Theatre. All three artworks pivot around athe same baby rocker device in the ceiling to create continuous movement in the vertical plane (up and down) while the added element of sound was introduced in the last two works.

Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame 1994 | Re-emplace 1999 (w Sally Smart) | John Curtin Gallery | Curator: John Barrett Lennard | Singapore Art Museum Collection 

Permanent Exhibit: National Gallery of Singapore

Dimensions variable | kinetic-sound installation | light bulbs, mirrors, baby rocker, cables, broken glass, contro unit | Photo: Artist

     © Suzann Victor 2020