austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Got a good reason for taking the easy way out

Another exhibit from the Biennale event: Jane Alexander's ``Verity, Faith, and Justice.'' This was set up in one of the court rooms not being used in City Hall because the Singapore Supreme Court has moved to the new Hall of Justice (really), and it warns, Parental Guidance Recommended. In the court room scene is set up statues of various creatures: the prosecutor and defense attorneys are naked, dog-headed men (with a move made toward anatomical accuracy, which I assume is why parental guidance is recommended, although there's nothing outside that says what parents might need to guide about). There's no judge, but standing before the court is a biped gazelle (or similar model horned, hoofed animal) in chains. Next to him is a crane, though without any wings; I wasn't sure if the sculpture meant them to be folded down or amputated. Towards the back of the courtroom are a trio of hooded, chained monkeys.

Now it starts getting odd. There are piles of legal-type books scattered all over on the various surfaces, as you might expect. They're phony books, though -- while they have the leather binding and gold-tinted edges all the interior pages are blank. Scattered across the floor are maybe a hundred large, bright red rubber gloves, all strewn about in piles. I thought I was on to something when I noticed many of them were left-handed gloves, but then I found some right-handed ones, so there wasn't any artistic statement in the handedness. On the far side of the courtroom was an ordinary quadruped-style goat, eating one of the gloves. Tucked away in the far back was a statue of an ordinary dog, who seemed to be there for flavor.

Now, I'm not one to insist on having every piece of art explained to within an inch of its life. I don't mind having things that are purely whimsical, or that are at least a bit silly or random, and I'm driven crazy by people who keep asking what happens in David Bowman's journey at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey past ``he experiences wondrous and transforming events which are understandable only partly and in small patches.'' Still, I can't escape the feeling that this was supposed to be more than just a big, somewhat silly scene, and I'm sorry the artist didn't give a bit more of a hint to what I was expected to get.

Trivia: Portugal's Prince Henry the Navigator never sailed on a voyage of discovery. Source: In Quest of Spices, Sonia E Howe.

Currently Reading: The Calendar, David Ewing Duncan.

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