The Return Of ‘Gold HDB Staircase’ Artist

Published on 14 June 2017

50 lucky people will get a chance to pick up golden books scattered at various seemingly mundane Singapore locations

BY Jo Tan

Singapore’s oldest contemporary arts centre and champion of experimental art programming, The Substation, will be dropping gold-foiled copies of its commissioned book A Public Square at various unassuming locations in the city.

Written by Adeline Chia, Associate Editor of Art Review Asia and former arts writer for The Straits Times, this book glimpses into the creation of the gold foil staircase – when LASALLE College of the Arts student Priyageetha Dia covered the 20th floor staircase of a Jalan Rajah HDB Block with gold foil this March, and sparked a public debate about whether her act was art or vandalism – as well as the ensuing response by both the public and authorities, and what these reveal about the nature of public art and public space in Singapore.

These limited edition copies of the publication have been wrapped in gold foil by Dia herself and also come with a sticker of a gold square: a reference to the final traces that remain of Dia’s work – After the Jalan Besar town council determined that her act was unauthorized and not permissible, Dia removed the foil, except for a small square of gold on the stairway’s bottom step.

By leaving these beautiful books in supposedly unremarkable areas of the landscape and thus transforming them into spaces containing hidden treasure, the spirit of Dia’s creation continues, reminding residents of the possibility of beauty in amplifying everyday life.

This drop is part of The Substation’s Discipline the City programming for 2017. 50 of the gold-foil copies will be dropped, with the schedule and locations of the books to be revealed. Visit Discipline the City or their Facebook page for more information.  

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