Boedi Widjaja
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Black—Hut, Black—Hut

“For his work in the Biennale, the artist installs a site-specific proto-structure that serves as a diptych to another work set up at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 2018. At SB2019, Black—Hut, Black—Hut is an architectural installation at the National Gallery Singapore’s courtyard, at the Coleman entrance. Descending the main staircase that leads to the basement, the work addresses the spatial and historical context of its site. The structure also references the gap between ground and land in tropical/subtropical vernacular houses that are built on raised floors, such as the Javanese joglo, the Queenlander house and the Malay house, as well as the HDB void deck. This becomes a productive entry point for Boedi’s interrogation of the interstices of Singapore’s modernity shaped by the tropical vernacular, and in his consideration of his own experience of migrating to the city-state, seeking ‘connections between public history and his private memories of house, home and homeland.’” — Artistic Director Patrick Flores.

The form of the proto-structure is generated from the site’s ground plane and the height difference when measured against the former as one descends each step; resulting in the bird’s eye view profile of the structure corresponding with its cross-section. On the planar surface is an epidermal application of concrete infused with salt; marking the work with ‘salt bloom’, or efflorescence, over time. Four cubes of fossilised wood sit on the lower part of the stairway, aligned to the N-S axis. Marking the imagined centre of the site is Datum - a sonic composition that’s made up of a sequence of inverted gamelan sounds. Visitors enter into the nexus to experience the sound and space.

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