Art to chew on

Published on 7 September 2018

By Eleni Sardi

habitué
noun
a resident of, or a frequent visitor to a particular place

The newly opened Telok Ayer Arts Club in McCallum Street is surely hoping to have plenty of them after opening its doors earlier this month to guests looking for a side of art with their coffee, cocktail or cauliflower steak.

The venue, a restaurant, bar and arts space all rolled into a shophouse in the heart of the CBD, aims to challenge the notion that the arts isn’t for everyone. It is doing so by hosting arts activities that range from creative residences and events led by multidisciplinary artists to themed club nights.

The team behind the space comprises curators Anmari Van Nieuwenhove and Kamiliah Bahdar, music director Hasnor Sidik, and founder of the lifestyle and dining outfit, The Supermarket Company, Quek Sue-Shan.

Its opening salvo is an exhibition by artist Abigail Goh, whose mixed media works explore the relationship between sound and visual representation, and interpret soundscapes into drawings. And her work in the space does not end with what is already hanging on the walls. She will also be a habitué of the space.

Every Tuesday, until 9 October, the artist will be making works on the spot between 2.30 and 4.30pm, “watching, studying, feeling and experiencing the pulse of the place”.

Drawings made by artist Abigail Goh in response to the sounds in Telok Ayer Arts Club. Photo: Eleni Sardi

When The A List catches up with Goh at the venue on a recent afternoon, she shows us the spontaneous pen and pencil drawings she made on paper, in response to the sounds in the space that day.

Her annotations, some resembling the lines of sheet music, others looking like personal hieroglyphs, are layered over each other. There are also lines that reference “washing sounds”, she explains, and others in blue “for every time someone clicked their pen”.

“There’s an indivisible relationship between sound and space,” she muses. “Sound doesn’t exist without space, it is a medium that articulates the space.”

By paying attention to sound and visualising it, her practice counters silence, fills up spaces, and conjures an antidote to a sense of emptiness and loneliness that one might feel in a fast-paced urban environment. Art for the CBD warrior, perhaps.

Details of Telok Ayer Arts Club here.

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