The work started with 2 material components - a graphite drawing and a blank piece of paper on each side of a room, facing each other. The drawing was a rendition of a still from a late 1960s Chinese film, 独臂刀 (The One-Armed Swordsman), an iconic martial arts film about disconnections–missing arm, broken sword and a half-torn manual. The protagonist was holding up the sword with his left arm.
During the exhibition, the artist drew circles on the erstwhile blank paper with his left, non-drawing arm, employing bamboos of different lengths that were tipped with graphite. He started in the first week of the exhibition drawing with the shortest bamboo and by the last week he was drawing from more than halfway across the room. Visitors were invited to mirror the drawing act. Using their non-drawing arm, they held a long bamboo attached to a stylus, and while standing made marks on a digital tablet placed on the floor. The arm movements of the visitors and the artist resonated with the swordsman’s in the drawing; in this way a gesture that was always performed in isolation by the character in the film was in their reality, repeatedly retraced through a communal act, very much like the private/public gesture to collectively remember a house.
Read essay by Dr. Xue Liqing, Curator, Director, ShanghART Singapore
2013. Drawing installation and Live Art. Drawing: Graphite on paper, 91.5 x 200cm
2013 Masterpieces: Digital Art in Singapore, National Museum of Singapore (photo documentation of Live Art; group exhibition)
2013 Displacements, Wilkie Terrace, Singapore (group exhibition)