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What art would you put in your Hypothetical Mansion?

Despite working for a few years in the arts industry, till this day I appreciate art on a very layman scale – I either like it or I don’t, I have relatively few deep thoughts about the artist’s motives or deeper meanings or whether there is any real meaning to the work. I’ve also had to go to many art exhibitions and some works just really confound me. To amuse myself, I play a game I call Hypothetical Mansion Scale to decide how much I like /dislike an artwork.

Carson Mansion - Kay Gaensler
I’d like to think that my Hypothetical Mansion would have quite a lot of character, both inside and out! Photo by Kay Gaensler via Flickr CC

It’s really very simple – All you need to do is look at a piece of artwork and ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? Imagine yourself as a filthy rich person with an endless supply of money, looking to fill up your imaginary giant mansion with art. Remember, money is no object – you can afford any art piece(s) that you lay your eyes on because you are rollin’ in dough.
  2. If I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion, where would I display it? Your mansion can have any amount of rooms or types of rooms as you want – think about where you would display your art piece, and why. Space is no constraint either.

It works best for visual arts pieces that you can buy, and is most fun when played with a few like-minded friends – you might be surprised what types of answers they’ll give which is a fun way to discuss art. Also, I think it’s a way to entertain yourself if you’re not much of an arts enthusiast and find yourself being dragged through galleries by your more avid culture vulture buddies when on travels, or you are in a foreign museum with no way of reading the texts for further explanation.

So lately you might have noticed my Instagram feed getting all artsy recently as I check out several arts events that fall under Singapore Art Week, which as its name implies is a full week (9 days actually) chock-full of visual arts related events happening all around Singapore. Many of the programmes extend beyond these 9 days, and I was going to write a more proper and informative post on my recs for you to check out for an artsy weekend of your own in Singapore…

But you know what, I thought I’d let you in on you something I often do when I check out art exhibitions that’s a whole lot more fun~

Slightly irreverent reviews ahead! Let’s get started.

Cloud Series by Suzann Victor

There are a bunch of works in the cloud series, mostly fixed to the wall and of different colours, but this was the largest one and suspended from the ceiling.
Love the colours!

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? YES, it’s really pretty! Pictures don’t really do it justice

Where would it go? In my Hypothetical front hallway, hanging in a high well-lit stairwell above the heads of guests who have just entered through the main door. I love the way it catches the light and the intricate detailing made with something as simple as paper pulp and acrylic!

Golden Teardrop by Arin Rungjang

This work is pretty mesmerizing close up – so precise you can see different patterns emerge as you walk around the ball
Here’s how the work looks like from further away. It is accompanied by a video piece but I didn’t think that was particularly interesting

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? YES, the detail is quite exquisite, it’s quite arresting in person

Where would it go? I’d like to put it somewhere at floor level because there’s something quite fascinating about the patterns that emerge as you walk around the structure. I’m thinking a centerpiece in my large round Hypothetical driveway so I could circle it with my fancy car as I drop off my keys for my personal valet to park (I am living it up in my Hypothetical Mansion)

*The 2014 Signature Art Prize winner has already been chosen, but notable works I liked were Yao Jui-Chung + Lost Society Document‘s quite arresting photo/documentary series on disused public property in Taiwan and the very fantasy story-like Custos Cavum (Guardian of the Hole) by South Korean artist Choe U-Ram.

Utama’s Cat by David Chan

The museum security guard was very keen to know whether we realized it was a lion and not an actual cat (Utama refers to Sang Nila Utama, the dude who supposedly spotted a lion and named our little island ‘Singapura’)

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? Maybe… I was a little underwhelmed by its smaller-than-expected size – this would have been really impressive if it was about 3x its current size. I did like that the lion was quite visibly made up of old furniture bits!

Where would it go? Perhaps a corner of one of my many hypothetical front lawns!

Cattleland by Eunice Lim

Cows! Quite a large and eye catching piece of work!

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? Well it’s not for sale, but I’d be happy to commission someone to paint this on a wall.

Where would it go? I’m thinking a corner of my very large Hypothetical garden, maybe a garden shed?

Update: This was a part of ArtWalk Little India by LASALLE College of the Arts, though sadly it has been removed. A v2 was put up in the wall next to the original space which you can see in my Street Art in Little India post.

Falling Water by Hiroshi Senju

I imagine being a very, very small person looking at giant underground waterfalls in the distance

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? Yes! i had no idea who the artist was when i first saw this at Art Stage, but I immediately thought of underground caverns and waterfalls – there’s something quite mystical and pretty about it. (I’d also been rewatching some of The Hobbit movie extras, so this made me think of some underground cavern in Middle Earth)

Where would it go? In a nice long corridor to be admired as you stroll from one end to the other.

I first saw this work at Art Stage, but the artist Hiroshi Senju is also having an exhibition at Sundaram Tagore gallery, where they are showing his latest works done with UV ink, which has a really cool glow at night! Definitely another work that looks better in person!

More enchanting in person, the blue glow is kinda eerie but very cool. Sadly they closed the gallery by the time I got there, so I only got to see this from outside!

Maya942 by Park Seung Mo

Can you believe that this is exquisitely layered wire mesh and a little bit of lighting? I can’t imagine how he pictured this in his head and got wire mesh to have such nuanced details!

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? From afar without the lights on, you wouldn’t be as drawn to it, but the glowing light really highlights the wire mesh and makes the work come alive.

Where would it go? Hm perhaps on a staircase landing on the way to an upper level. Somewhere you can chance upon this work for a nice surprise!

I saw this artwork at Art Stage Singapore 2015, and while there isn’t any exhibition happening, you can find out more about artist Park Seung Mo at Ode to Art’s website here.

Carlos Róne / Dzine

I like the reflections, and it is kinda trippy~

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? It is kinda trippy, I didn’t really like most of his other stuff, so you could say this was my favourite. I like the weird reflections and the neon yellow

Where would it go? Well it’s not particularly practical is it? Random alcove or corridor near a window to catch the light

Monarch by David Mach

That’s all silver hangers. Once again, how is this possible??

Would I buy this for my Hypothetical Mansion? Apparently I’m drawn to really weird and intricate sculptures for my Hypothetical Mansion – Yes I would totally buy this.

Where would it go? I’d put it right in the main hallway (Under the Suzann Victor work?) or possibly right by my front gate, just because.

And finally, I leave you with a bizarre set of works that I came across at the hotel art fair Art Apart, which while supposedly had an urban art theme, but didn’t really impress me much at all. I forgot the artist’s name, but man these are trippy. Definitely not making it to my Hypothetical Mansion!

Yes, those are loaves of cat bread

Hope you guys have fun during your next trip to the gallery! And remember, these are purely personal opinions, I can’t say I’m any sort of expert – For the record this record-selling $2.15 million Damien Hirst work at the recent Art Stage 2015? Did not make it to my hypothetical mansion at all (neither did I realize butterflies were involved, I saw it from afar and said “wow that looks like the entrance to a fancy Chinese restaurant”.)

Enjoyed playing Hypothetical Mansion? Why not have a look at some tips on the Art of Appreciating Art when you know nothing about Art or check out some unusual museums in Singapore.