Lovebomb is Iskander Walen’s solo exhibition, running from 13 May to 21 May 2011 at the Substation gallery.
The series started back in 2008 consisting sculptures and paintings. For this show, Walen presented two new sculptures, one of which is an extremely huge PVC balloon.
Lovebomb “draws attention to society’s relationship with nudity and violence”. It is created by combining an aerial bomb and a female breast, the pieces aim to interrogate nudity and violence.
An observation of what seems to be a “blanket censorship of nudity in news media, movies and on television, regardless as to its intent or meaning, whereas violence seems to be left virtually unchecked.”
Walen seems to be extremely immersed in the comparison between the two similarly unacceptable behaviour by the general public. Nudity and violence, although in a matter of extremity, the latter seems to prevail, the treatment towards nudity is worse compared to violence.
In Singapore, nudity in movies will result in it being M-18 for extremely mild, R21 for showcases of women’s breasts. The perception towards violence on the other hand seems to be more loose, where NC-16 movies can be considered to be a potential brutal films, ranging up to extreme gory at R-21. However, movies in particular who have been rejected viewership locally seems to have something to do with the flesh erotically, instead of sadistic representation.
As funny and nonsensical as the Lovebombs may look like, Walen chooses to approach the theme through humor. It is “playful and fun”. He presents his works, particularly the sculptures as if they were toys, put on display on family shops. Despite it plays a better role in an adult-dominated environment, the cheeky ambience of this series brings the sensitive issue discussable.
Despite so, the Media Development Authority Singapore “approved this exhibition but declared it should carry a parental advisory”. Interesting as always, Walen believes that “Lovebomb has become a case in point of the very subject matter it touches on.”
This simple review quotes from a short writing by Erin Caskey, available from the exhibition catalogue.