Yeo Chee Kiong
Ideal Lady Series (A Beauty Centre)
“…beauty had almost entirely disappeared from artistic reality in the twentieth century, as if attractiveness was a stigma, with its crass commercial implications”. (Danto, 2003)
Despite controversies such as this in the art world in the last millennium, artists’ relationship with the concept of Beauty remains to be a complex one. Not only the art world have not sever ties with it, the world continues its obsession with it in many aspects, be it in a material or spiritual sense. It is perhaps the single most important concept exploited by the commercial industry.
As a sculptor, I have a strong love for the physicality of things. I developed a series of female figure, ‘Ideal Lady’, with an intention to provoke thoughts surrounding the idea of “beauty”. They were created as part of a greater construction, the A Beauty Centre, where notions of beauty was explored. A Beauty Centre is a pseudo saloon with an online counterpart that operates within a gallery space. It seeks to investigate the notions of beauty in various dimension. A “beauty saloon” within a visual art space makes suggestion of the “beauty business” in the artworld. I am also keen to explore how “beauty” through “materiality” of objects would transform one’s perceptual experiences.
The ‘Ideal Lady Series’, in particular, is a hunt for perfection. This series of work is characterized by myriad and fleeting bubbles. The high reflection of the sleek stainless steel aims to conjure a fantasized sense of sophistication on the surface of the form, while underneath the pink fresh one could perceive real obesity. Through the stainless steel’s hard, transformative characteristic and the image of the soft and voluminous female body, I look for a sense of hyber-artificiality.
In the western world, the concept of “beauty” is often linked to “love” and “desire”. Whereas in Chinese philosophy it is a more absolute concept linked to “truth” and “goodness”. In an attempt to transform the obese figure to a transcendental, beautiful body, I wish to explore human being’s primal desire within the absurd world of delusion. It is an articulation about contemporary “human nature”. ————–