ZaoBao 联合早报 2022.04.02


Conduit: From me to we, or from us to myself 

Lavender Chang is an artist based in Singapore. Her dual nationality is a major motif in her works. Her works use photography and mediums of various film. Through the Images that make use of the formal characteristics of these mediums, the artist brings issues of personhood and society, including gender, family, society, nation, and identity. 

Chang discusses her own identity and the identity of the individual as a member within a group or society. Family is a frequent theme in her work. When the concept of family is a constant against the variables of the broader external world, it can be the means of identifying the individual or distinguishing the individual from other individuals. However, the concept of family can also become an obstacle to the individual in establishing one's own identity. The ambivalent position of the family emphasizes the dissimilarities between space and time. It is also a catalyst that heightens issues of gender identity between the traditional and contemporary understanding of what position womanhood holds. 

Furthermore, Chang utilizes a peculiar aesthetic methodology where she employs the formal techniques of photography and filmography, and unifies certain characteristics of the image medium to the subject of the work. This allows the form to embody the artist's intent, attitude, or even subject matter of the artwork, and vice versa. She employs long exposure, image overlay or superimposition, various effects and synthesis, manipulation of the camera aperture or lens, and postproduction. Her photos lose concreteness and narrative but gain focused abstraction, conceptuality, and visceral sensations. Such a methodology allows Chang's works to be a portrait that is not a portrait, a landscape but that is not a landscape, a subject in the frame but not, and the agent of perception both is and isn't. And from the artist's work, me (I) or we can begin the much-needed discussion about the fundamentals of how we will define the self or us, both of which we have blindly accepted until now. 

As such, Chang's works illuminate the relationship between me, you, and us while at the same time rediscovering the identity of each individual by asking the fundamental question about the identities at the relative level as individuals and certain relative group identities that frustrate and embrace them simultaneously. In the flux of the New Normal, we realized that everything we believed to be right required a summary review, of all ways, perceptions, concepts, and all institutions as a whole. We are now facing a situation that demands a redefined identity of the you, me, and us that have determined the existence of the group to which I belong and the existence of ourselves that we have accepted in our relationships with others. In approaching the post-pandemic era, I sincerely hope to find a conduit in Chang’s work to find new identities of new subjects to solve the structure of confrontation and conflict between contemporary communities and individuals, occurring in a pattern never seen before. - Jintaeg Jang

Taiwan-born and Singapore-based artist Lavender Chang is known for her conceptual photography that explores the subtleties and nuances of time passing, in a wide range of subject matter in her work.  She brings this sensitivity in crafting images to her video practice, most recently seen in her cinematographic work in the feature films A Love Unknown (2020), and Their Remaining Journey (2018), which was part of the Official Selection of International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018. 

In the film, the complexities of the experience of mortality are being shown, and Their Remaining Journey provide glimpses into the everyday lives of people, seen through the eyes of a deceased theatre actress. Premised on the perspective of a wondering soul observing the lives of the living, the work presents a unique narrative of lives in transit - both of the dead and the living, opening up questions about the connections between presence and absence. Seen in the film is the obscuration of facial features, a motif known in her collaborator John Clang’s work that prods viewers to confront notions of self and identity in relation to others in time and space. 

Another Morning (Their Remaining Journey) is an edited segment of the film for the Korean Exchange Fellow 2021 programme. Shifting the lens to the minutiae of everyday life, Chang draws attention to the much neglected details of personal histories and habits, often unsaid in the framing of reality in terms of grander narratives. - Michelle Ho


Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography is an attempt to put together a resource book that provides educators and general public on the fundamental overview on photography and the contemporary approaches illustrated by over 100 works by 32 Singaporean/Singapore-based Artists. Providing context to the works are concise essays on the history and theory of photography as well as a timeline on the social history of photography in Singapore.



TODAY 2015.04.11


The Straits Times 2014.08.12


ZaoBao 联合早报 2011.02.11

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