Interview#28: Chand Chandramohan

photoBorn in 1992, Chand Chandramohan is currently studying BA Fine arts in Lasalle College of the Arts.  Through practice, she has an inclination to paintings and 2D with surrealistic tendencies. With further introductions to various mediums, she explores all the facets she can get her hands on, from printmaking to installations. Her main practice is exploring the visual relationships of the body and space through performance. Chand has performed in various events, including R.I.T.E.S, with the emerging artist show. Her performances not only include the visual relationship, but also the relationship between biology and psychology.

RAP spoke to Chand to find out more and do check out her website here.


Questions: Tell us more about Kastrationangst (The Virgin, the Mother and the Crone). From what you have shown, the series consist of sculptures and drawings. Why the title, and what led to its production?

Chand Chandramohan (Chand): I titled this work coming from my inspiration of the idea of castration anxiety. Kastrationangst being the German word for castration anxiety, and the term used for Freudian theories describing castration anxiety. My work soon developed into a narrative of the femme fatale who starts out as the desired virgin, becoming the supported mother, then transforming into the crone who consumes everything including herself.

Q: You created visuals and objects which are extremely suggestive, in fact almost like a copy but not much real-life-like. Any reasons of the choice of medium and final outcome?

Chand: I chose to work with clay because the naturality of it intrigued me. As for the outcome of it, I thought the fragility of the pieces worked well as a contrast. It was a strong, almost obscene visual, but so fragile in its materiality. As for the form, I started out with realistic pieces. With the course of its creation, I decided to work with more organic shapes because I preferred the surrealistic tendencies rather than the stark visual of the realistic forms.

Q: Do you think as a woman, you have more weight in exploring women’s sexual organs compared to men. Should the artist’s gender be a advantage or otherwise, in experiencing such works?

Chand: I do not think I have more weight as a woman to explore such forms. As a woman I am more familiar these forms, but experience wise the gender shouldn’t be of issue since it is in the end, a narrative created in line of a power struggle between two genders.

Q: I understand that this series is your final submission for your end of year project in LaSalle year 2. And you failed. Moreover during the graduation show, only a piece of drawing was curated in the midst of a huge amount of small works you had done. Do you think the chosen subject have a role in this result?

Chand: I don’t really believe that the subject had a role. I was given the reason that my drawing had more of a finesse.

Q: There are always trend in the process of art making, especially in Singapore, as much as I have been observing, in particular in undergraduates’ works. Do you see this in response to uncomfortable subjects such as sex?

Chand: I think it is more of how we were taught to develop our work. It is a pattern, and any different will result in failure of the course. In regards to uncomfortable issues such as sex, it is quite a shame when I see so many works that don’t fully push forward because of so many restrains.

Q: Who are the artists or what works which you referred to in making of this series?

Chand: I mostly looked at various parables and instances from history in the creation of my works. Aesthetically, I was sort of obsessed with Hannah Wilke’s work.

Q: Do you see vaginas in the works of Singapore artists in general? Or even penises or sex in general? What do you feel about their existence or absence?

Chand: I have seen vaginas and penises in works of Singaporean artists, but not in the extent that it is a norm. It seems that a work is immediately deemed controversial because of these body parts being the subject matter. It is interesting to me how much power we have giving these mere body parts. Whether works of this manner exist or not, it is of the same effect. We are giving body arts power by denying them, or referring to them in such a sensitive manner.

Q: Do you think sex is an important subject in visual culture that needs to be constantly presented and questioned? Or it is simply perverse?

Chand: Sex seems to be a subject much like mortality which people almost seem to obsess on. Artists look to create beauty, and sometimes beauty seems to be overlapping with our sexual desire. It is an important subject, but whether it should constantly be presented should be debated. Not because it is seen as perverse, but because it can get so tiresome. There are other aspects to life we can explore.

Q: What are your plans for the next couple of years?

Chand: That is a hard question. I suppose trying to graduate, and further developing my practice as an artist. In the end, I just want to keep learning.

Q: Last words for anybody?

Chand: I don’t have any.

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