This exhibition presents the works of Singapore-based French artist, Gilles Massot.
This exhibition presents the works of Singapore-based French artist, Gilles Massot. It includes a selection of photographs, videos, sketches and writings from the 1980s to the present, and explores the artist’s evolving negotiations with place and the shaping of self-identity through his work as a photo-journalist travelling across Asia, his involvement in a changing contemporary art scene, and his expatriate status. While his art practice is sustained by a theoretical interest in photography’s action of “duplication and recording”, it is in its history that Massot seeks to mediate the questions of subject and its significance. In the daguerreotypes produced by French trade envoy Jules Itier (1802-1877) during his travels to Singapore, Indochina and China in the 1840s, Massot proposes lines of connection with Itier through a series of “coincidences” which for him are “too many and coherent to be merely accidental”. Massot traces and re-enacts the scenes photographed by Itier, finding parallels between their individual circumstances, the predicaments faced and choices made. This recent artistic project provides the basis for the selections made from the large body of works produced by Massot since his arrival in Singapore in 1981. Massot’s practice involves cycles of making and remaking, sometimes cannibalising earlier productions as he shifts from one conceptual emphasis to another, providing for re-imaginings and newer expressions. These iterations may involve formal manipulations of the artwork, (re)ordering and incorporating them into a moving image or integrating texts and voice-overs. Collectively, they form ways in which Massot engages with images and their potential meanings. As subjectivities, his efforts complicate the ideological and orientalising features that undergird a sojourn, and in doing so sustain critical expectations so as to eventually find himself “…in the right place”. —The exhibition runs from 14 June to 31 December 2019—