Ian Tee in The Unfaithful Octopus at NTU ADM Gallery

16 Oct 2023

Ian Tee presents 爹爹, 我把骨肉还给您, his largest work to date as part of the exhibition The Unfaithful Octopus curated by Roger Nelson at NTU ADM Gallery in Singapore.

The Unfaithful Octopus is an exercise and venture in image-thinking. The exhibition attempts to reckon with the kinds of image-thinking that artworks do, focusing on how art thinks about other art—including works of literature as well as visual culture and the media—as well as how art thinks about narrative and time.

Tee’s new “paintings”, are crafted using an angle-grinder and aluminium sheeting. The accompanying text, roughly translatable as “the act of eviscerating one’s bones and returning them to one’s father,” has been extracted from the 1979 animated film “Nezha Conquers the Dragon King.” This film is an adaptation of a frequently retold narrative from Chinese mythology. The central character, Nezha, often portrayed as a child, serves as a protective deity and holds the title of the Marshal of the Central Altar (中壇元帥). Interestingly, this character may trace its origins back to Indic mythology, potentially drawing inspiration from a figure in the Ramayana.

The Unfaithful Octopus features Fyerool Darma, Ian Tee, Thao Nguyen Phan, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Mieke Bal, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, CAMP, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, and Ricardo de Baños and Alberto Marro, and is on view at NTU ADM Gallery until 1 December 2023.

The exhibition will travel to MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand from 9 February to 3 June 2024.

Images: installation view of Ian Tee’s work in The Unfaithful Octopus at NTU ADM Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and NTU ADM Gallery and Yavuz Gallery.