“EVERYTHING MUST GO __”
A paper-making showcase exploring loss and liminality
by Joshua Tan
Drawing inspiration from the shop signs in Peninsula Shopping Centre for its title, “EVERYTHING MUST GO __,” is a residency showcase at dblspce by Joshua Tan, an art psychotherapist and multi-disciplinary art-maker.
Intended as the second instalment of his ‘lost in transition‘ project, an ongoing recycled paper-making series, this month-long residency sought to weave together multiple layers of reflection on loss and liminality: a contemplation of society’s extended journey through the pandemic; an active dialogue with an ageing location and its occupants; and quite unexpectedly, an attempt to grasp at the artist’s own mortality.
Diagnosed with a serious heart condition midway through the residency, the artist elected to remain embedded in the location as a temporal inhabitant, making his paper artworks amidst the soundscape of passing visitors and his interactions with fellow residents. Each abstract piece was created from specific items that tell this story of the present, using a colourful paper-making process the he likens to “painting with paper”.
Much like the sheets of laundry lint formed from forgotten items in our pocket, these multi-material paper works serve as a record of the day-to-day detritus of our current lives: from COVID-19 rapid test packages to daily news statistics, Stay Home Notice instructions to disposable masks, mail envelopes to food delivery packaging.
One day, this too shall pass. Yet, as the location constantly reminds the artist, there is a quiet hope to be found amidst any landscape of loss. The showcase asks the questions of our attitudes towards such transition: What must go? What must stay? And what must simply go on?