Taiwanese born conceptual photographer, Lavender Chang is no stranger when it comes to creating contemplative and riveting images. In her series of artwork that she has created over the years, she’s often inspired by things that are surrounding us, even the most mundane items can serve as a creative stimulus. But what sets Chang’s artwork apart from the rest of her contemporaries is her ability to aptly portray the subtleties of her subjects as well as its milieu.
Ahead is an exclusive interview with Lavender Chang, where she talks about in-depth about her upcoming exhibition with The Call Of The Sea.
You were born in Taiwan in 1983 but you grew up in Singapore. Tell us about your first steps as an artist?
I was fine art trained in painting before moving to Singapore. I studied photography at Temasek Polytechnic and the School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University. I was very insecure back then. I then decided to become an artist upon being encouraged by fellow artist, John Clang. He told me that he likes my work very much and has explained to me convincingly why I have the capability to pursue further in art. By the way, I am now officially a Singaporean.
What has been your latest project …. and what is planned for you across 2021?
Floating Rays Of a Wanderer is my latest series that I am exhibiting. It is a series of work that compresses time into a voyeuristic bus journey in Singapore. I am also preparing for my first full-length feature documentary about ageing and mortality. It will be my directorial debut.
What camera do you use? What is your creative process like?
I use various cameras, digital and analog, sometimes I also build my own camera if I need to. One of the series, The Movingly Minute Scale of a Restricted Life, was shot by the pinhole camera created from a cereal box. [You can view the artworks here]
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
Rather than emotions, I would like the viewers to look at familiar things in a new way. Allowing them to have new exploration and discovery, not limited by what is in front of them, and able to open up the perception and horizon of thoughts. I am creating a performance of what one is unable to see in real life and presented in a form of a familiar photograph. These are the capsules of time that surround us daily that went unnoticed.
You have won multiple awards across Asia and Europe, specifically in France. What does such recognition inspire you?
To be honest, I’m not paying much attention to this recognition. I have plenty to express with my work and I seek to only focus on creating artwork that matters to me in my lifetime. It is important to stay grounded.
Which is the role the artist plays in society?
As a human, we operate in the conscious state bonded by society’s rules. Artists share new discoveries and observations towards life. People tend to be restricted by their past and be concerned about the future. Artists help to be the frontiers, break all restrictions, and seek to inject a new source of inspiration and hope into our weary life.
Have you kept strong ties with Taiwan and the local art scene there?
I have friends in the art scene in Taiwan but because I started my art practice in Singapore, I’m much closer to the Singapore art scene.
The five words that describe best your art?
Indeterminacy, durational, slow, compressed time and observe.
How special is your relationship with ART PORTERS gallery in Singapore? What did the Gallery help you to achieve?
The first time I met Guillaume, I was photographing him for the portrait series, Diverse Oneness, commissioned by Alliance française de Singapour to create 70 portraits for their 70th anniversary. He shared with me that he felt amazed by how I created the artwork and would love to know about my practice and art. We eventually did a solo exhibition together which is also my first time showing, Floating Rays Of a Wanderer. For an artist, nothing is better than having people who love and understand your work. And I have a good time working with Art Porters.
What can visitors expect to see from you at THE CALL OF THE SEA 2021?
I will be showing new images from the series of Floating Rays of a Wanderer. I am very much interested in people, but I don’t necessarily show them as they are in my image. In my artwork, you will find the people elements inside of the work. Without seeing them physically, but they are very much involved, and their essence remains. Instead of photographing the person, I compressed the journey we shared into one image. I would like the visitors to see the landscape that we are familiar with yet never seen before in this way, hence extending this idea to different explorations in life.
You have been highly influenced by photographer and artist John Clang. Yet, if you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life and path as an artist, who would that be?
John Clang is my mentor and he has guided me in my life and path as an artist. The most amazing thing is he never ever tells me what to do. He will always challenge me and respect the decisions I made in my art. He guides people to realize the strength in us and he is bluntly direct and treats everyone equally. We have collaborated on 3 feature art films. I’m co-directing with him on our third film. I am not an experienced filmmaker but he told me I’m a good artist and that’s all it matters to him.
The Call Of The Sea exhibition is available for viewing from January 7th to the 13th at Selegie Art Centre. For more information, you can visit https://www.marinadesignworks.com/ or you can visit Lavender Chang’s website www.lavenderchang.com to view her other works.