What the cluck—Mona Lisa installation in Singapore features live chickens


Southeast Asia’s enduring affection for the humble, ubiquitous chicken got the museum treatment for the National Gallery Singapore’s See Me, See You: Early Video Installation of Southeast Asia (until 17 September). In the 1985 work How to Explain Art to a Bangkok Cock Thai artist Apinan Poshyananda, now artistic director of the Bangkok Biennale, explained the Mona Lisa to a gathering of fowl.

The museum partnered with animal welfare group Chicken Rescue Rehome to recreate the piece, notably with live birds, over the opening weekend. There was indeed a lot of love for the feathered friends: the group’s William Lian gave a talk about responsible urban chicken care. The show also receives support from the environmental non-profit Ground-Up Initiative. Abandoned balcony chickens have meanwhile recently overwhelmed Singapore shelters.

Named for Philippines artist Jean Marie Syjuco’s 1996 work See Me, See You (Revenge of the Giraffe), an interactive sculpture filming visitors, the exhibition is the first of a two-part series exploring the early years of experimental video installation by artists from Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. The second section runs 13 October to 4 February 2024 and will feature artists including Heri Dono and Kirsna Murti—and chickens undetermined (egg-sact details to be confirmed).


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