Boo Sze Yang: Dancing with the Wolves
2–21 July 2021
AC43 Gallery is pleased to present Boo Sze Yang's latest solo exhibition, Dancing with the Wolves, which features over 15 oil works completed in the period of 2015 - 2021. The show spotlights the artist's latest series of work, which explores the validity of Plato's notion of an ideal society comprising people in observance of their classes and duties (producers, auxiliaries, and guardians), in contrast with Thomas Hobbes' view on human nature as selfish and destructive. Darkly comic and brimming with technicolour theatricality, the paintings provoke viewers to contemplate the performative aspect of reality as they navigate daily through the optics that postulate as truth in today's heightened post-truth digital era.
These works by Boo Sze Yang probes our perception of truth and reality, and projects another dimension for contemplating scenes of civic discontent and unrest that have been circulating in the global media in recent years. After studying and re-composing images of protest and punishment, Boo Sze Yang reframes the scenes through dark humour and an exaggerated theatricality, blowing up the uncanny repetition of figures, synchronised dance moves, and poster-like mise-en-scene. Each painting is titled after a well-known song that has been used in certain protest movements around the world, like "Another One Bites the Dust", "Too Young to Die", and "Don't Take Your Guns to Town", creating an intertextuality that enriches our imagination of the scenes and emotions beyond the visuals of his canvases.
With Dancing with the Wolves, Boo Sze Yang invites us to contemplate from an ironic distance the complex battle - physical and moral - between civilians and law enforcement groups (and governments), as each group tries to uphold what is right and safe for the society. In the face of ideological conflicts, how does one sift through the relativity of truth and reality? As viewers processing the events through our digital screens and devices, to what degree can we trust the narratives that are constantly being shaped and framed for us?
Boo Sze Yang (b. 1965, Singapore) graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1991 and completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art at the University of Reading, UK in 1995. He also obtained a Master in Arts Degree from Chelsea College of Art & Design, the University of the Arts, London in 2004. His work deals with a broad range of subject matters, including mundane domestic objects, images of car and airplane crash scenes, monumental interiors of cathedrals, and the unpeopled chambers of shopping malls. He treats banal objects, modern architectural interiors, and destructive scenes as metaphors for the human condition, transforming these into a symbol of contemporary life through gestural techniques and a restrained palette that emphasises the materiality of paint. In his exploration of portraitures, Boo Sze Yang blends his personal experiences with everyday social and political events to generate ironic and idiosyncratic portraitures that serve up comic observations of everyday life.