Guo Yixiu | The Departed

The Departed - Title

7th August 2012. Written by Xin Li.
National Day is tomorrow, and in the spirit of N-Day, the young emerging artist, Guo Yixiu presents The Departed, a note on social commentary in Singapore. The exhibition was a result of Yixiu’s discovery of a stack of old photographs in a curio shop at the corner of old Chinatown.

The Departed - Intro

The insignificance of the finding that first struck the artist, as well as the combination of familiarity and anonymity that attracted the artist to the photographs. Fascinated by the history and social issues, Guo focuses on subjects that touch on time and nostalgic nature of her nation.”

The Departed - Sketches

In her works you could see the personal interpretations and connections to the Singapore’s past through the re-painting of the photographs she found. The most significant piece, “Someday” was envisioned out of an old Singapore Postcard which depicted a National Day Parade that was held along the streets of Chinatown.

The Departed - Someday

After so many National Day Parades, the act of gathering to watch a parade either at the Padang, past Chinatown, at the Kallang Stadium and today at the Floating Platform still remained the same, it served as a kind magnet that draws people together. In the artist’s words, “there was a great sense of intimacy” and even without the famous quotes (something I personally find very cliché), one could feel that kind of association and it doesn’t necessarily has to be a Singaporean, the feeling is universal.

The Departed - Yesterday and Today

Another work that caught my attention is a diptych titled Yesterday and Today. The works came about because the artist found two studio portraits of two women taken not too far apart. However from the dress you might think one came form he 1950-60s and the other from the 1970s-80s. It is a very clear and simple (with a bit of Pop-Art tone) depiction of a generation gap or historically an era of transition. Some might whine about the safe path this work has taken but credit should be given for the well-executed work.

The Departed - "Culture of the Mind must be Subservient to the Heart"

In general, the works maybe few but it was a decent effort (in fact quite a nicely executed one). Considering that the gallery is a commercial one, I am glad to say the artist did not succumb into making some random soul-less, meaningless art pieces made just for sale but rather very nicely presented Yixiu’s own reflection of Singapore and at the same time the paintings were very beautifully painted, making it a visit to the tiny gallery a worthwhile one. The urban sketcher, Tia Boon Sim was there too!

The Departed - ""Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart"

It was a melting pot of artists, curators, historians, photographers, designers, students, teachers and all who love art” at the opening. (Zaihan Kariyani)

The Departed - Dialogue

Some light bites that I had at the opening.

The Departed - "Onigiri" Kueh
The Departed - Light Bites
The Departed - Croquettes

The Departed
A Note on Social Commentary
Guo Yixiu
7th – 31st August 2012

Galerie Sogan and Art
33B Mosque St. (Level 3)
Singapore 059511


  1. Thanks! I love exhibitions which are rich in historical and social contents. will definitely visit this place

  2. to Amasou Umasou:
    me too, but good ones are hard to find, sometimes the context became something superficial but luckily Yixiu's works are much better.



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