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Local contemporary artist Suzann Victor discusses her work and being a woman in the art landscape

The Unreality Of Blue When Walking On Water, 2018

From abstract paintings to larger-than-life kinetic installations, the talent of Singapore-born, Australia-based multimedia artist Suzann Victor is uninhibited by the media she works with.

One of 11 leading contemporary female artists from South-east Asia showcasing their works in the major exhibition, Shaping Geographies: Art | Woman | Southeast Asia, Suzann belongs to the early generation of Singaporean artists who broke the ground for contemporary art to take root.

As the Singapore Pavilion’s first woman representative at the 49th Venice Biennale, Suzann is also a role model for many other local female artists.

Suzann Victor

As an artist, where do you find inspiration?

While I am a trained painter specialising in abstraction in oils, innovation remains the starting point for me as I produce public artworks and installations that engage the poetics of space and architecture, the post-colonial, the science and physics of meteorology and kinetic art, as well as the metaphysics of light.

While they may seem disparate, they intersect in many ways and I am stimulated by how spaces and architecture can conspire with an artist to create and offer the public something much more than the sum of its individual parts – a kind of material magic. And, of course, the qualities of light affect the physiological and emotional state of the viewer.

What do you hope to convey with your works?

Each is different and the aims are equally varied. One example is Rainbow Circle, which induces natural rainbows to appear within the National Museum of Singapore. This is achieved by harnessing the science and physics of helioseismology, astronomy, meteorology, hydrology and atmospheric optics to create these real rainbows. This work imagines a world where rainbows have become so rare and threatened that it can only be viewed or experienced as an artefact in a history museum, thus addressing the fragility of the environment today.

Is it difficult for women artists to get noticed in the local art landscape?

Yes and no. Each has its own challenges, so it depends on the area in question, and the state it is in at the time of discussion.

The socio-cultural context within which a woman artist works has an impact on the receptiveness to her work, too. A conservative environment poses greater challenges to her gaining an audible voice, visibility and affirmation since it is more resistant to feminist progress. Having said that, an open, liberal climate also inherently presents its own issues of cultural fatigue, contestation or saturation.

Overall, from my own experience, I would say that a woman artist does face more challenges when it comes to getting noticed in the art world.

What does home mean to you?

Home is a not necessary a physical space or place. The room that I relate to the most is my studio, which is a space for dream-catching and dream-making.

 

Catch Suzann Victor’s work in Shaping Geographies: Art | Woman | Southeast Asia from Nov 24 to Dec 31 at Gajah Gallery Singapore.

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