March 19, 2008

Surrounding David

So Milady and I entered the National Museum of Singapore on Sunday afternoon and was greeted by the above colossus. A fiberglass replica of Michelangelo's "David," except that this one is covered in cloth, the creation of Indonesian artist Titarubi.

Inspired by one of the most famous Western art icons, this fiberglass statue of David towers at 8.5 meters high. It has been placed in the center of the Museum's historical rotunda, mimicking the typical European piazza and its anchor-statue. Another layer of textile ornament in the form of handmade brocade, usually produced for the kebaya or traditional Indonesian women's blouse, covers the whole surface of the statue, thus obliterating the centrality of the David figure or image.

The work investigates various dialectical relations between the imaginary perfect circular space of the Museum's rotunda and the sculptural object through the figure of David - a dialectic of the autonomous phallic object and the interior womb-space. And the emerging object and the "un-seen" context, of the figural and spatial context of European import and a craft associated with Asian women (i.e., textile making), of the modern figurative art and the other ornament/craft. The artist also considers Freudian phallic fixation and imagines a reaction in an alienated economy of desire where male pleasure is paramount.

Born in 1968 in Bandung, Titarubi graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Faculty of Art and Design in ceramic studio (Fine Art). She has exhibited extensively in major events such as the CP International Biennale 2005 (Jakarta), Singapore Biennale 2006, and has held several solo shows.

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