singapore art biennale 2011: roslisham ismail aka ise
singapore art biennale 2011: roslisham ismail aka ise singapore art biennale 2011: roslisham ismail aka ise
mar 28, 2011

singapore art biennale 2011: roslisham ismail aka ise

roslisham ismail portrait image © designboom

malaysian artist roslisham ismail’s (aka ise) work is about connection and the personal experience of urban communities in the daily actions of life. his presentation at the 2011 singapore art biennale consisted of 6 refrigerators stocked with what 6 different singaporean families have on a normal basis. based on his own time spent with these different families, ise’s piece ‘secret affair’ is not only a glimpse into a personal space of someone else, but also what they think about buying cooking, and eating food. this universal and incredibly specific example of one aspect of life invites the viewers to participate and to generate a dialogue with each other about their own experiences, offering valuable insight to how people live.

the food in the fridge needs to be restocked often with the biennale lasting for two months, however the head chef at one of the singapore art museum’s restaurants has been enlisted to take the piece even further. creating a special menu based on what is available in the refrigerators, david heng, keeps the dishes relevant to each family and how they live.

‘secret affair’ at the singapore biennale image © designboom

the kitchen, as a place of energy for a family, is embodied in a refrigerator. acting as a representation of the ideals and serve as a means to peer into people’s homes. however it did require ise confronting families at grocery stores, spending time with them to gain their trust, and eventually following them while they shop. lasting 6 months, the project required more planning than the artist had realized.

image © designboom

back view image © designboom

detail of one of the fridges, ranging from densely organized to rather empty. image © designboom

monitors mounted on the front of each fridge showing videos of the families shopping. image © designboom

monitor shows the family shopping

roslisham ismail (b. 1972 kota bahru, malaysia) lives and works in kuala lumpur.

— the third edition of the singapore biennale (SB2011) opened its doors to the public on march 13th and will run until may 15th, 2011.  designboom visited the shows led by artistic director matthew ngui and curators russell storer and trevor smith. the SB2011 open house program is organized by the singapore art museum (SAM) of the national heritage board and supported by the national arts council, singapore. 63 artists from 30 countries are presenting 161 works across four exhibition venues – SAM and SAM at 8Q, the national museum of singapore, old kallang airport and marina bay. 

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