The Fabric of Sympathy


Date & Time

Date: Sat 12 Sept – Sun 10 Oct 2020
Opening hours: 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm
(Monday – Saturday, closed on Sunday and public holidays)


Brother Joseph McNally Gallery and Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary of Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts





“There do not exist things made, but only things in the making, not states that remain fixed, but only states in a process of change.”

Borrowing the title from Lars Spuybroek’s The Sympathy of Things, this exhibition pulls together a wide range of artists employing various art forms while sharing a keen devotion to materiality in their art practice. The exhibition invites the viewer to examine the interior of things and an object’s inner life in their artworks.

This exhibition reveals multiple possibilities as the artists present parts of their journey to figure out authenticity through what they make as well as create their own meaning in their work. They have fashioned their own language, executing formal techniques that subtly reveal vulnerabilities of their own. Using simplicity to carry more sombre intentions, their works pay attention to variation, imperfection and fragility. By considering their materials deeply, the artists invite the viewer to respond innately to the artwork and enter its interior. The process of sympathy is an internal one – to feel rather than to think. When analysed, this intuitive experience of sympathy could expand to, in Henri Bergson’s words, boundless enumeration. Intuition should be seen as knowledge that is elastic – it is an intrinsic experience. The works in the exhibition reveal forms of how we can make sense of our life amidst uncertainties and observe ways where art can comfort and make life meaningful. It is a call to treat things with care and sympathy.

This exhibition is guest curated by Luke Heng and the participating artists are Liyana Ali, PG Lee, Nicholas Lim, Liu Liling, Ong Sihui, Ruben Pang, Rifqi Amirul, Euginia Tan, and Jodi Tan. This exhibition is part of a new art initiative Proposals for Novel Ways of Being, a collaboration between 12 local arts institutions, independent art spaces and collectives across Singapore. This initiative is a collective response by the visual arts community to imagine new ways of living in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image: Moth (that flies by day), 2018, Ong Si Hui, marble, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist