NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is embarking on an inquiry into natural materials, exploring the knowledge they embody as biological forms as well as within social, geopolitical, and historical contexts. Trees of Life – Knowledge in Material is part of the Centre’s long-term research cluster CLIMATES. HABITATS. ENVIRONMENTS.
This exhibition focuses on four plants deeply rooted in Asia: indigo, lacquer, rattan, and mulberry. The works trace the ongoing involvement with the highlighted plants in the artistic practices of Manish Nai with indigo, Phi Phi Oanh with lacquer, Sopheap Pich with rattan, and Liang Shaoji and Vivian Xu with mulberry silk. While the featured installations serve as a starting point to uncover the materiality of the chosen plants, the study of their natural and cultural DNA allows further exploration into their biological processes and diverse usages.