Of Wars, Warriors & Water: Revisited

photos from

“Of Wars, Warriors & Water”
in Landing Space

Salt, Tealights, Ricepaper, wax
Variable Dimensions
Group Land Art exhibition
in an abandoned warehouse

Peng-Ean Khoo
Malaysia, Singapore

The art show is about love!
(photo credit: Adrian Seah)
I was in agony for weeks, trying to prepare for this art show. There isn’t one thing I can do to add to the beauty of life. There isn’t one thing I would edit, or attempt to beautify. There isn’t anything I feel I can say that we don’t already know, what is right to do or not to do. So I was stuck in agony, because I had longed to participate but, not in any so-called “artistic” way.
I think art for me is just trying. Trying this and that and trying my best to live my life in an honest way. Much of my inner confrontations in life is worked through my art because I feel it is the safest medium for my reconciliations. If I can’t even have the freedom with this, then I am living in a prison. Immobilized, unable to process. To think, to feel, to work things through.
(photo credit: Adrian Seah)
So perhaps for me, art is the space for freedom. But in this freedom that we carve, it can go towards a destructive direction if we don’t have any inner check and balance. So it is important to have loved ones with whom you can pour your  hearts out. Because we are wired for blindspots. Only in a group can we see and admit to our blindspots. And so even in our freedom to work out our inner conflicts and contradictions, we need to let some people in.
Inevitably, there will be some bossing around and tussling. Of this space, of inner freedom.
(photo credit: Adrian Seah)


So choices will have to be made. Some old close companions may have to depart. And this pain is excruciating. Sometimes, we learn to find reconciliations. Mostly, we find it can be reconciled, but not after a lot of painful growth.
So true art for me has this necessary pain. That’s why it is always a bit agonizing. I don’t know, perhaps I am merely fighting this insecurity all the time. My own inner insecurity about myself as an artist.
(photo credit: Adrian Seah)
An artist is an identity. It actually doesn’t mean much to me. It is more about how I live and how I make anything about my life.
Some say clinging on to life is treacherous business. Of course it is. We risk the inevitable loss. But in that we also gain the inevitable joy, of courage and the triumphant grin of that child who said – I did it. At least I tried out what is in my imagination. Foolishly or otherwise.
So art, evolves into a space of constant struggle, examination and sheer courage. Almost a foolhardy venture. But if it isn’t goofy, how could it be fun, exciting, in wonderment? How could life be mapped out on a blueprint and lived out from a map?

(photo credit: Adrian Seah)

So this art piece or art show, whatever what one sees or labels it, is about this. My sharing with you my always terribly messy intense undefined inarticulable space. It tortures my friends as much as you. I suppose you are an audience. Perhaps this is drama. Except I am not acting. This is beyond performance art. I am like seriously like in this space all the time.

The indecisiveness drives me nuts! But it is liberating for me because I think at least I am authentic about my identity. That identity really cannot be defined. Not by our accomplishments nor our cvs nor all the accolades or descriptions about ourselves that we collage together. If you look at us as a culture now, everyone is making some kind of performance art. With all the social media and linked in profiles. Where is the deep real self? The one whom I can just have a decent piece of chocolate cake and tea with without all the blah blah blah about the virtues or not of cake and tea.
In other words, I have also become bored. Bored with all these seeming intelligences that we buffer ourselves with and call that formation or character building. Or whatever it is has schools and parents chasing to embellish children with.
So I don’t know anymore. The edge of art is for me this piece. I don’t know what it is about any more than you.
So for the next two weeks, I am just going to enjoy myself. And live everyday as it is. The beauty of everyday, And stop trying to make art.
I think I can only share with you frames.
Perhaps I am the framemaker.
Not an artist.
Life is the art and the artist.
My eyes and insights are merely my frames.
And so at best, I am sharing with you photos and stories.
Not art.
That is all I know about art and all that I will ever know.
This show marks the end of art for me.
And the beginning of me truly and fully embracing my own life.
I no longer need to externalise my life into plastic beauty.
I can finally accept my whole self fully. That I am imperfect. That I am incomplete. That I am plagued with uncertainties. That I have brokenness and woundedness in me.
And that is precisely what makes me beautiful.
Because that is what makes me real.
Earthy, raw, undefinable.
Peng-Ean Khoo
November 26, 2016

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