Kenny Low is an artist from Singapore who creates saturated, sprawling, psychedelic compositions. Reaching up to three meters across, his works rely on fractal-like repetition: some call to mind the sea creatures of Ernst Hæckel’s Art Forms in Nature, others look like a screenshot from a video game, while still others suggest a contemporary take on Chinese or Japanese inkwash painting.
As a young child, Low discovered a knack for drawing, and he spent his free time doodling cartoon characters he’d seen on television, like Snoopy or Mickey Mouse. He continued making art throughout secondary school and went on to do a degree at the Glasgow School of Art. His work is on display at the Art Seasons Gallery in Singapore through June 22.
来自新加坡的艺术家 Kenny Low 喜欢采用高饱和度的色彩，放射状的构图，打造出风格迷幻的画作。他的作品可达 3 米长，并由重复叠加的类分形组成。所以，有些作品看上去会令人想起生物学家兼插画家的恩斯特·海克尔 (Ernst Hæckel) 在《自然界的艺术形态》 里绘画的那些海洋生物；有些看起来又像是视频游戏的截图，还有一些则似乎是对当代中国或日本水墨绘画的演绎。
Kenny 从小就展现出画画的天赋，闲时，他会去画那些在电视上看到的 卡通角色，譬如史努比和米老鼠。中学时，他依然没有停止艺术创作。毕业后进入格拉斯哥艺 术学院（Glasgow School of Art）继续学习深造。他的作品现在在新加坡 Art Seasons 画廊 展出，展览持续至 6 月 22 日。
Perhaps surprisingly, all his works are made up of photographs taken in and around his home city, multiplied and repeated to the point of abstraction. Upon closer inspection, the jellyfish-like shapes swimming through Equinox Dream, for example, consist of superimposed images of spiral staircases arranged under what appears to be a sort of awning. “Each image is taken by me with my digital camera while exploring Singapore,” he says. He shoots all kinds of buildings, “from construction sites to old Chinatown shophouses to historical temples to modern sites, like the Marina Bay Sands complex and the Gardens by the Bay.” After carefully cropping his photographs, he begins the painstaking process of arranging them in a work, making a sort of digital collage loosely based on a prior sketch. “Each image can take up to two to four months to complete, depending on the scale of the work,” he says.
令人惊奇的是，他的所有作品都是运用他在家乡拍摄的照片，通过不断的叠加和重复，最终形成抽象的作品。譬如在《Equinox Dream》中，如果你仔细看， 画面中那些游动着的水母形状的图案其实是用多幅螺旋楼梯的照片叠 加而成，水母头部则是一个类似遮阳篷的照片。“每一张照片都是在我探索新加坡时用数码相机拍摄下来的。”他解释道。“建筑地盘、唐人街的老旧商店、历史悠久的寺庙，也有现代建筑， 譬如滨海湾金沙社区（Marina Bay Sands） 和滨海湾花园（Gardens By The Bay） 。”这些建筑都曾出现在他的照片里，并被他精心的剪裁出不同的区域，接下来是最费时间的一个步骤：将这些照片组合成一幅作品，大致按照事先设计好的草图，创作成数字拼贴画。“这取决于作品的规模，每幅作品最多可能需要两到四个月才能完成。”他说。
If there seems to be something vaguely Japanese about some of Low’s pictures, that’s not an accident. “My art was born out of my curiosity and love of Japan,” he says. As a child he developed a deep fascination with anime, manga, J-pop, and J-drama. “I remember the first anime I watched. I remember the first Japanese song I heard. The visuals were out of this world—it was an indescribable experience,” he remembers. “Since then, I’ve been very drawn to everything Japanese, from their design to their culture to their cities. I love every bit of it. And naturally, my art is heavily influenced by them.”
Midnight Sun seems to recreate a traditional Japanese or Chinese landscape painting. An enormous red sun stamped with Chinese characters hangs in the background, while cranes, a symbol of longevity and good fortune, dot the skies. At two meters tall, the work defies our expectations of scale and prevents us from taking in the entire image at once: only from afar can we appreciate the composition of the landscape, only up close can discern the intricate photographs of skyscrapers that make up each mountain.
Since Low began creating his large digital works, his thinking about art has become more sophisticated. He’s moved beyond just following his instincts for what looks good. “My thoughts about what I want to portray in my images are more precise now,” he says. “I’ve grown to understand that an image needs to be more than beautiful—it has to have a story for people to relate to. It needs something to give it life.”
The stories in Low’s works seem to be dispatches from a strange, dizzying, futuristic world—and they’re all the more compelling for being slightly beyond our grasp.
自从 Kenny 开始创作大型数字作品以来，他对艺术创作的看法也渐趋成熟。在创作时，他不再单纯地听从自己的本能去追求仅仅好看的作品。他说: “我现在对于自己在画面中要呈现的内容有了更清晰明确的想法。我渐渐明白，一幅画不仅要好看，它还必须有故事，让人们产生共鸣。它需要被赋予生命。”
Kenny Low’s exhibition is currently showing at Art Seasons Gallery in Singapore and will end on June 22nd.
Event: Genesis I
Exhibition Dates: April 28th, 2018 ~ June 22nd, 2018
50 Genting Lane, #03-02
Cideco Industrial Complex
Contributor: Allen Young