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Factory Manufactured Goods = Art

Are factory manufactured products art?

Extraordinary concept or masterful skills, which do you think best defines good art?

 In 1917, a urinal changed the way people view art. Duchamp didn’t mould the urinal.  It was a readymade object anyone could purchase from a neighbourhood hardware shop. He merely flipped it over and ta-da! There’s a fountain! Much ridiculed at initially, it went on to become a top favourite among 500 art experts in 2004. 

The social experiment Duchamp carried out nearly 80 years ago was game-changing. It became an art-object many felt it could never be. The original urinal is long lost and certified replicas are still museum-worthy pieces. 

 His concept was powerful. Duchamp chose it and created a thought from this everyday object. Who cares if he didn’t create it? This view persists till now and this is something I’m still grappling with. Let me explain. Nobody dared to present art in such a different light. To equate art to a urinal was incredibly absurd. Am I too shallow to grasp the amazing concept? Then I rather stay shallow. 

Good artists create beautiful works. They are also good story tellers. You know it when you see it, because these are art pieces that will leave you breathless each time you look at it.

Becoming Art-y in Singapore

Singapore is silently making its presence felt globally.

It used to be like this: “Is Singapore part of China?” the curious foreigner asks. Sick of explaining time and again, but no-one knows seem to remember, my friends will cringe and say, “Yes, south of China”. End of conversation, short and easy.

Now, they’re sensing a slight difference. The curious foreigner says, “ah…Singapore! Efficient government, green city, clean recycled water and bilingual citizens.” And my friends will beam in great pride.

Yes, Singapore is known for its diligent governance, infrastructure and all other things responsible for the GDP. What it is less known for is the arts. No doubt, the art scene is growing. Over the last decade, the number of art events quadrupled to reach over 26,000. Straits Times and Today, major news publications replaced precious ad space with art sections. Infrastructure dedicated to arts is also expanding rapidly - Each time I cross the road to grab lunch, I’ll marvel at School of the Arts (SOTA), its architecture is close to majestic, best of all schools I’ve seen so far.

 Being in this industry, I can feel arts pulse beating quicker and faster. But the real question is, are Singaporeans more art-aware? Or is National Arts Council playing the role of Singapore Tourism Board, using arts as a bait to lure more tourists? –there we go again, GDP.

I quote Mr Whittaker, Director of Sotheby’s Institute, “Art is an absolute non-need”. This is astoundingly true. We’re extremely practical beings, food, shelter and clothes are all we need. Dominant views dictate that art is for people flushed with cash, hesitant to invest in Minibonds and therefore have no other asset classes to go too. Don’t believe me? Look at the crowd in IKEA’s Arts Prints section – the kind of art majority think is affordable. It’s hardly one tenth of the crowd at IKEA restaurant. Well, we’re not known as foodies for nothing!

For Singaporeans to immerse in the art culture, there’s still a long way to go, a lot more work to be done.

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Shannon Lim

Press contact Co-founder Business Development 96855952 Artyii

Ng Cai Lin

Press contact Co-founder Business Development +65 94559944 Artyii