Format: Paperback 355 pp.
Subjects: Arts & Culture, Malaysia, Singapore
Developed as an exploratory study of artworks by artists of Singapore and Malaysia, Retrospective attempts to account for contemporary artworks that engage with history. These are artworks that reference past events or narratives, of the nation and its art. Through the examination of a selection of artworks produced between 1990 and 2012, Retrospective is both an attribution and an analysis of a historiographical aesthetic within contemporary art practice. It considers that, by their method and in their assembly, these artworks perform more than a representation of a historical past. Instead, they confront history and its production, laying bare the nature and designs of the historical project via their aesthetic project.
Positing an interdisciplinary approach as necessary for understanding the historiographical as aesthetic, Retrospective considers not only historical and aesthetic perspectives, but also the philosophical, by way of ontology, in order to broaden its exposition beyond the convention of historical and contextual interpretation of art. Yet, in associating these artworks with a historiographical aesthetic, this exposition may be regarded as a historiographical exercise in itself, affirming the significance of these artworks for the history of Singapore and Malaysia.
In short, which history rarely is, Retrospective is about the art of historicisation and the historicisation of art.