Why the LED signages in Evening, Once More?
For the exhibition Evening, Once More (2021)
By Yeo Tze Yang
Many who come to the exhibition have been puzzled by the LED signages scattered across the gallery. There are a total of 4 of them in this exhibition. Let me share about why I've decided to explore this medium in this exhibition.
I have long been drawn towards these LEDs I see around in my daily life. For instance, on my journeys home, I see myself and other tired commuters going towards the bright glow of the bus timing signboard to see when that bus home shall arrive. All around the city, we see these lights giving us information: be them timings, expected arrivals, expected meals at an eatery, etc.
My usage of this very functional and industrial object comes from the lineage of the "readymade", or at least a replica of one. The impetus is similar to my paintings - I am consistently using art to capture aspects of my daily life to inject a new way of looking at the uninteresting and banal.
In the case of EVENING, ONCE MORE, these LED signages look like those one sees in daily life, but their original function is lost. The LED indicating when the lift is coming is obsolete - the lift will never come. The buses will never arrive. The MRTs home will never arrive.
A functional object when removed from its original function and turned into art brings poetry and in this case, the blur line between wavering hope and outright cynicism, that would otherwise be invisible in daily life.
In a review of the fantastic TV show The Wire, there's this line that captures my sentiments precisely: "He, like so many other characters in The Wire, is both free and trapped, continuing to move forward but never making any progress."