To Stay Tender
Ong Si Hui
“To Stay Tender” is a solo exhibition by Singaporean artist Ong Si Hui. The title “To Stay Tender” is an excerpt from the novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong published in 2019. In a discussion with the curator about stillness, constraints, and resistance, Si Hui is reminded of a quote from the novel: “To stay tender, the weight of your life cannot lean on your bones”. The text eventually inspired the conceptualising and titling of this exhibition, in which tenderness exists in the most restrained circumstances.
In “To Stay Tender”, Si Hui unpacks the concept of tenderness with 9 groups of geometrical forms, which she has hand-carved slowly from white marble stone blocks. Each group of the forms is paired with tools/objects such as woodwork clamp, plastic net, magnet balls, etc. Instead of being functionally useful to secure, support or hold these marble sculptures, the paired tools/objects are, however, a presence of failure that potentially threatens to tear these forms apart. In these conditions of being restrained, and motions being restricted, the fragile possibility of failure preserves a fractional degree of freedom. And in this construct, the marble forms exist freely, in a very delicate and tender place.
Trained as a sculptor, Si Hui is very fond of white marble stones for their natural beauty, vulnerability, and softness and fineness in carving and rendering details. Through the actions of subtracting, stretching, spinning and mirroring, Si Hui exercises a slow liberation of these geometrical forms from a block of marble where they have been trapped. These geometrical forms look gentle, fragile and delicate as a result of her tender carving. With the placements of them with incompetent tools/objects, “To Stay Tender” displays the notion of failing, insufficiency and frustration that demands gentleness, kindness and affection.
“To Stay Tender” is the eleventh project of the exhibition series, “12 Solo” of Comma Space 逗号空间.
Exhibition: 6 – 14 March 2021
Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm
Tuesday – Friday (by appointment only firstname.lastname@example.org)
Artist tours: 4pm, 6 March 20201 and 4pm, 14 March 2021 (book https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/to-stay-tender-artist-tour-by-ong-si-hui-tickets-143686416941)
Conversation with Lu Xiaohui releases online at 4pm, 13 March 2021
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Ong Si Hui (b. 1993) is a visual artist based in Singapore. Working extensively in stones, she explores the spirit of the medium through slow and meticulous hand carving processes. The geometric forms and text-oriented works are often manifestations of her stream of consciousness.
Ong is a trained sculptor from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts diploma programme, and a recent BA (Hons) Fine Arts graduate from Lasalle College of the Arts. Over the last year, she has also exhibited at Lasalle’s Brother Joseph McNally Gallery, I_S_L_A_N_D_S, and Peninsular.
ABOUT THE CURATOR:
Dr. Wang Ruobing is an artist and curator who currently teaches at the LASALLE College of the Arts.
ABOUT [12 SOLO]:
“12 Solo” is an inaugural curatorial series for the newly established independent art space, Comma Space 逗号空间. Conceived by artist-curator Dr. Wang Ruobing, “12 Solo” launches 12 exhibitions by 12 artists. Each artist creates a single work and presents it as a solo show.