HISTORY KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT
2020 – 2021
Acrylic, target papers, reflective tape and collage on destroyed aluminium composite panel, diptych
200 x 150 cm (each panel)
200 x 300 cm (diptych)
The piece builds upon the legacy of three works that responded to the 1993 Fort Road Arrests: Josef Ng’s performance ‘Brother Cane’ (1993); Alfian Sa’at’s poem ‘We Are Not Yet Free: A Poem in 12 Strokes’ (2001) where he makes an explicit mention of the arrests in poem number V; and lastly, Boo Junfeng’s short film ‘Tanjong Rhu’ (2008).
As suggested by its title, ‘HISTORY KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT’ is about the spectre cast by injustices of the past, its unresolved loose ends and ongoing battles. The diptych absorbs elements of its three predecessors through: the use of historical maps, a collage of Sa’at’s book cover ‘A History of Amnesia’ (from a collection which feature the aforementioned poem), and visceral slashes that recall the ferocity of Ng’s whipping gestures. ‘HISTORY KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT’ is the first monumental painting dealing with this subject.
The title of the piece also references David Wojnaowicz’s iconic work of the same name that demonstrates his righteous rage against homophobia, American imperialism, gun violence, child abuse, the patriarchy, advertising, neo-liberal capitalism and organized religion.
About the Artist
Ian Tee's practice explores youth culture, in relation to the genres of rebellion, vulnerability and identity. Working with mixed-media paintings on aluminium, his works conflate the history of painting with the vigour of subcultures. The attitude carried is a statement about power, defiance and possibility. He will present a new body of works where he explores the saying “kill your darlings”; a phrase which speaks about removing and suppressing indulgences for the sake of a larger story/ trajectory.
Ian Tee will be presenting his works at Yavuz Gallery. He is represented by Yavuz Gallery.