“… you have to lose your way to find yourself in the right place”
Exhibition until 27 Jun 2020 @NUS Museum | Free Admission
This exhibition presents the works of Singapore-based French artist, Gilles Massot. It includes a selection of photographs, videos, sketches and writings from the 1980s to the present and explores the artist’s evolving negotiations with place and the shaping of self-identity through his work as a photo-journalist travelling across Asia, his involvement in a changing contemporary art scene, and his expatriate status. While his art practice is sustained by a theoretical interest in photography’s action of “duplication and recording”, it is in its history that Massot seeks to mediate the questions of subject and its significance.
In the daguerreotypes produced by French trade envoy Jules Itier (1802-1877) during his travels to Singapore, Indochina and China in the 1840s, Massot proposes lines of connection with Itier through a series of “coincidences” which for him are “too many and coherent to be merely accidental”. Massot traces and re-enacts the scenes photographed by Itier, finding parallels between their individual circumstances, the predicaments faced and choices made. This recent artistic project provides the basis for the selections made from the large body of works produced by Massot since his arrival in Singapore in 1981.
Massot’s practice involves cycles of making and remaking, sometimes cannibalising earlier productions as he shifts from one conceptual emphasis to another, providing for re-imaginings and newer expressions. These iterations may involve formal manipulations of the artwork, (re)ordering and incorporating them into a moving image or integrating texts and voice-overs. Collectively, they form ways in which Massot engages with images and their potential meanings. As subjectivities, his efforts complicate the ideological and orientalising features that undergird a sojourn, and in doing so sustain critical expectations so as to eventually find himself “…in the right place”.
About the artist:
Gilles Massot is a multidisciplinary artist and academic whose works are based on the idea of “the space between things” with the aim to establish links and decipher the narratives existing between disciplines, people, occurrences and parts of the world. His visual art practice more specifically deals with the theory of photography and its relation to time and space. Massot teaches in the McNally School of Fine Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts. His past exhibitions include The Probability of Veracity Part 1 (2017) and Part 2 (2018); Tints & Dispositions: Gilles Massot (2017); The Space within the Space within the Space (2009); and Retro Specks Future Pixs(2004).
Image: Installation view of “… You Have To Lose Your Way To Find Yourself In The Right Place” Selected Works by Gilles Massot, 2019, NUS Museum.