VERTICAL SUBMARINE (SINGAPORE)
Formed in 2003, Vertical Submarine is a Singapore art collective consisting of Fiona Koh, Justin Loke, and Joshua Yang. Their installations, drawings and paintings involve text, storytelling and wry humour.
During their residency at Gertrude Contemporary, the artists developed sketches for a project entitled: Incendiary Texts II: Selected Anatomical Studies or Thirty-Six Eastern Vulgarities and One Incendiary Oath … in Roman Letters. This title is appropriated from Pablo Neruda’s Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair).
This series of works is comprised of thirty-six decorative and elegantly illustrated swear words, with strong anatomical references, which are reactions to the quote ‘Humanity won't be happy till the last capitalist is hung with the guts of the last bureaucrat!’ – a slogan popular amongst protesters in the West during the late 1960s. In this series of figurative illustrations, the term ‘Eastern’ can be understood, in general, as referring to parts of the East Asia region, and specifically, the eastern part of Singapore - where the infamous Geylang is located. In this seediest part of the island nation, the tradition of using these words is continued and preserved – sometimes written in the public toilet walls in Roman letters.
The sketches developed at Gertrude were exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Lasalle Collage of the Arts, Singapore, in December 2011, and since then have been translated them into larger paintings on wooden panels. These works have been shown at Art Stage, Singapore in January 2012 and at ArtHK in May 2012.
Fiona Koh, Justin Loke and Joshua Yang are graduates of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. They have completed projects in Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea and have won several awards including the Credit Suisse Artist Residency Award 2009 and the Singapore Art Show Judges’ Choice 2010; Suspicious Article: The Bag of Samuel Chen with Samuel Chen for ‘These Things Must Be Done To Get Along in Life’, Post- Museum, Singapore, 2009; Planting Shadows for ‘Nature Borne- Singapore and Korea Joint Sculpture Exhibition’, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 2009; Analogic for ‘Singapore Art Show 2009’, Post- Museum, Singapore, 2009.
Vertical Submarine visited Melbourne as part of the Gertrude Contemporary and Arts Incubator (Singapore) Reciprocal Residency program, which is generously supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.