Moses Tan presents ‘a caveat, a score’ at the Singapore Art Museum

14 May 2023

Returning with a trio of exhibitions since the end of the Biennale, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is offering an array of immersive art experiences that delve into significant themes and contemporary artistic practices, pushing the boundaries of scale, perception, and presentation. Among the three exhibits is SAM Contemporaries: Residues & Remixes, a project that unveils fresh dimensions in Singaporean art. This inaugural presentation features the works of six talented Singapore-based artists: Yeyoon Avis Ann, Anthony Chin, Fyerool Darma, Priyageetha Dia, Khairulddin Wahab, and Moses Tan. Together, they explore the intersections between historical narratives and contemporary experience.

Within this collection, Moses Tan’s installation a caveat, a score presents an immersive reminiscent of a set design. Comprising an intriguing amalgamation of peculiar found objects, furniture, photographic prints, drawings, videos, as well as his polymer clay sculptures inspired by botanical and zoological forms — whimsical yet eerily fleshy composition. The diverse array of objects in his installation possess a fascinating duality, simultaneously alluring and repulsive. These “caveats” serve as a reflection of the challenges faced by queer individuals as they navigate their identities within unloving environments. Tan’s artistic vision extends to an oceanic worldview, suggesting alternative methods and pathways of existence defined by movement and flux, which he encapsulates in the term “tidalectic.”

In Tan’s video component, the ebb and flow of waves are translated into a mesmerizing dance score for the performers. These choreographed movements elicit emotional responses, such as the folding inward as a protective gesture or the opening up towards acts of care. With a multi-layered and tongue-in-cheek approach, Tan incorporates a wide array of allegorical references and symbols tied to queer culture, failure, and affect. Inviting contemplation and engagement with the intricate complexities of identity and queerness.

Experience a caveat, a score by Moses Tan at the Singapore Art Museum, on display from 18 May until 24 September 2023.

Image: Installation view of a caveat, a score, 2023. Courtesy of Singapore Art Museum