The abstraction in her most recent installation begins with its very name – “sft crsh ctrl”. The work is a sequence of cascading silk twill, latex sheets and faux fur draped over frames that billow from the ceiling. And it is a deliberately confusing work. (Read: You’re not supposed to get it… maybe.) Her oeuvre questions everyday problems and challenges viewpoints. Perhaps that sense of “I’m not sure what to make of it…” is part of the work’s appeal.

Photo: The Straits Times

Certainly, smarter people than us get it, because Weixin Quek Chong was recently named grand-prize winner of the 2018 President’s Young Talents awards. Perhaps her aesthetic stems from her unconventional relationship with art as a child. Coming from a family that loves books, Weixin’s first engagement with art was not what you’d expect a fine artist’s to be: As a child, she would “make things with discarded printer paper, read Ladybird books on the lives of artists”, and visit museums with her parents.

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She now has a decade of experience as a professional artist, and a commendable repertoire of award winning artworks exhibited in London and New York. Weixin is currently also a part-time adjunct lecturer at educational institutions in London and Singapore. While she’s committed to teaching future artists, she also believes in some of the truths behind the traditional image of the struggling artist. “It’s difficult to be an artist anywhere if you struggle for capital.

In Singapore, the normalised work-life schedule generally leaves little room for maintaining a separate creative trajectory. “Most artists require other jobs to survive and support their artistic practice and the resources it demands,” she says.

To her, artistic integrity is everything. She cites a recent work that inspired her – Adrian Piper’s “The Probable Trust Registry”, an installation and participative group performance. “[Piper’s work] feels vital, honest and unflinching. It is a healing counterbalance to the banality of navigating a ‘professional’ art world and having your interests or idealisms subjected to market based pressures or flippant trends.” That, more than anything, explains the abstract nature of her work and self.

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