4 X 4 - EPISODES OF SINGAPORE ART : EPISODE 3: TANG DA WU – THE MOST RADICAL ART GESTURE
Episode 3 is a re-interpretation of a performance by Tang Da Wu (°1943) in 1995. Tang Da Wu is one of the earliest and most influential performance artists in Singapore, and co-founder of The Artists Village. In the middle of a ten-year ban on performance art in Singapore – in 1991 performance art had been banned in Singapore, through a refusal to license such performances – he asks other artists to present him to the president of Singapore. All this takes place during the opening of an exhibition and art fair. On the back of his jacket can be read, emblazoned in gold letters, the message "Don't give money to the arts". After greeting the president and showing him the jacket, Tand Da Wu asks the president to allow him to put on his jacket. He is permitted to do so. After putting it on, he shows the message once more to the president by briefly turning his back to him. Finally he gives the president a card, on which is written "I am an artist. I am important." During this episode the characteristics of performance as an art form are being presented and discussed. The radicality of the performance is highlighted, analysing each gesture Tang Da Wu makes. The frame of the episode is fluid and open on all fronts. Figures constantly walk in and out from all directions, highlighting the fact that Tang Da Wu's performance communicated on different levels, including that of the contemporary media, ensuring the issue would be covered by them. After the performance, the political attitude towards non-commercial art in Singapore changed. In episode 3, NB: instead of episode 3, episode 1 is on view in the digital medialibrary, ending with half an hour of black.