Monkey Business

Featuring Justin Loke And Samuel Chen

28 July - 14 August 2016

Monkey Business is an exhibition of ink paintings that pay homage to Chen Wen Hsi's (1906 - 1991) well-known Gibbon series, featuring human-like gibbons engaging in anthropomorphic activities such as gambling, drinking, fighting, and commuting to work. Apart from paying homage to one of Singapore's most prominent art figures in history, this exhibition questions the function of images as canonical icons in Singapore's art history.      

In recent years, the increasing demand for Chen's works and the soaring market value of his paintings gave rise to skilful forgeries. The artists in this exhibition, prescribe to the view that the question of authenticity regarding Chen's works is moot, considered from an artistic point of view. Notwithstanding the commercial motivation behind many of the fakes, many of these works are, in the artists' opinion, excellent works of art in their own right and should be re-evaluated in the context of art history. 

In Monkey Business, the playful gibbons are not just a copy of Chen's style and motif but a copy of the many counterfeiters who have produced the fakes circulating in the market. Therefore, the exhibition is not just a project parodying or copying the original, but a double negative act of copying the act of copying.