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Visual Arts

Delia and Milenko Prvacki

The couple's first collaborative art installation


Published: 16 Oct 2019

Although we have exhibited together several times, this is the first time that we are doing an installation as a collaborative project… This exhibition is an opportunity for us to crystallise our creative forces and accumulated experiences in an effort to find the right form and content for a composition that is relevant to our separate, individual artistic identities. It is also a response to the challenge of creating a work of public art that is site-specific and integrated in architecture, while still conveying a strong message to the viewer.

Title of artwork: CONSTRUCTION SITE 2016
Medium: Mixed Media
Date: 14 Jul – 18 Sep 2016
Location: Esplanade Concourse

An artwork examining our living space, CONSTRUCTION SITE 2016 was installed in the Concourse in the third quarter of 2016. The piece was a joint commission authored by Singapore husband-and-wife multimedia artists Milenko and Delia Prvacki. While Delia works predominantly with ceramics, and Milenko is known for large-scale canvases, the two practitioners fused their respective methodologies and aesthetic concerns to give birth to the seamlessly unified effort that was CONSTRUCTION SITE 2016. The latter engaged the public on several levels: formally, with its material elements culled from Singapore’s construction sites; and conceptually, as the installation grappled with the idea of always-evolving materials and ideas, as embodied by the transitional state of building detritus.

Though ostensibly static, the piece, climbing the Concourse steps, was also discreetly theatrical and shifting. It achieved this effect by means of an undulating mirror surface suspended from the Concourse ceiling that reflected and amplified the objects collected on the stairs beneath. However, not only did the looking glass reflect elements below, it also mirrored Esplanade visitors milling around the piece. This incorporation of mobile figures incessantly altered CONSTRUCTION SITE 2016’s appearance and layout as seen in the mirror, and so gave the installation a dynamic sense of progression. With the integration of the simple but well-positioned mirror helming their piece, the Prvacki duo was able to tangibly convey the movement and pluralism of the city, these human features among the most valuable of any urban landscape.

We are inspired by opera, ballet and the theatre stage, and we decided to take the articulating elements of the three and juxtapose them over a panoramic vista that resembles and is reminiscent of a construction site. In this way, the actors and performers are replaced with the installation, with the use of objects as metaphors... ...We wanted to focus on the idea of demolition and destruction that is found in the perpetual process of man-made urban creations — the unavoidable sacrifice that allows new forms and vistas to be generated. It is also a reminder of the human instinct for survival and innovation. The audience is encouraged to reflect on the complex processes of creating a work of art, be it a stage performance or a visual artwork. The projection or tentative search for similarities to a “real” location is left to the viewer's imagination and is achieved by an introspective reflection on issues linked to irreversible progress, development, urbanisation and dependence on advanced technologies. We also wanted to capture elements of nostalgia, aesthetic value and picturesque qualities embedded in apparently "profane" materials found at any construction site. Other than a few authentic and original raw materials, most of the objects found in the installation are recreated, represented and materialised in surrogate materials as a sketch, a tri-dimensional drawing, and a frugal "artist’s impression" that contrasts with the precise technical 3D rendering and perfection of execution found in construction plans.

See the exhibition guide for CONSTRUCTION SITE 2016
Visual Arts at Esplanade

Commissioned, curated and thematically developed by our Visual Arts team, Esplanade's quarterly exhibitions feature established and emerging artists whose contemporary Asian artistic expressions not only chronicle the issues and sentiments of the region, but also offer vital insight into the complexities of our changing cultural landscapes and identities. These shorts essays and interviews act as complementary material to the exhibitions, allowing for a richer and fuller perspective on the artists and their practice.

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