Moment and Eternity: A kaleidascopic art delight
It's the afternoon of the opening, and by the time I meet Shinji Ohmaki - the artist behind the installation Moment and Eternity, which has transformed the 3rd Floor of Hermes - he is in serious need of a massage, despite looking rather relaxed here...
He has been either crouching or balancing down-dog style for just over a week and a half, 3 for 12 hours a day, painstakingly crafting the space and putting all his heart and gentle soul into his art. And the result is quite stunning - a kaleidoscope of floral motifs in layers of bright colour pigments radiating out from a core spot, mirrored into a seemingly endless pattern.
The one question on my mind? How on earth did he create this room of beauty? Ohmaki explains, "This is a labour intensive and meticulous process, starting with covering the space in square tiles of white felt. I had to plot and mark the areas precisely before applying the fine colour pigments with hand cut stencils to create the complex floral motifs directly onto the carpeted floor." No kidding on the labour intensive part - this piece uses 80 different stencils in total!
However once Ohmaki gets going it becomes a very organic process which he determines by what feels right as he goes along. This is true not only of the placement of the motifs, but also how many layers of colours he delicately sprinkles out to achieve the desired effect which can be as little or as many until he's satisfied with the outcome, or to suit his changing mood.
Now onto the evocative colours. So important is the aspect of bringing across elements of Singapore's cultures through the colours in this piece is that the colours used have been named after things from our island that Ohmaki feels represent that colour - whether it be Durian yellow, MBS grey, Kebaya pink or Comfort Sonata blue! This is an important part of the artistic process - a way of making his work culture specific to the place he is creating in.
This vibrant, uplifting and almost dreamlike work is not just for appreciating on the sidelines. Oh no. Ohmaki invites visitors to engage with and step on his creation, each footstep while perhaps a step on his soul having put so much of his own into this piece, also contributes to a metamorphosis and the creation of new, unexpected forms upon impact.
Ohmaki explains that the idea, "Moment and Eternity is an interactive and contemplative installation enabling visitors to directly engage with art and think about the effects of our actions and the traces we leave behind. To show the effects of time and public interaction, I installed a 10-panel wall mural so audiences can see the contrast between the original work and the floor piece when the colour pigments and flora patterns reconfigure in people's footsteps."
Having watched Ohmaki put the finishing touches to his masterpiece, it took a serious amount of self control to restrain myself from starting the metamorphosis myself by putting a cheeky footstep onto the field of colour.
If you are in the Orchard area or a lover of interactive art - or both - make sure you pay a visit to the installation, make your mark on this piece's memory and play your part in its transformation. There's something very unique about stepping off the maddening pace of Orchard, through the perfectly manicured Hermes boutique down below, and up to this space and work. It feels like you've stumbled upon a very cool little secret - and that's just the sort of thing we love to share over at City Nomads!
Moment and Eternity is on until 2 June at Third Floor Hermes, 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers, daily 10.30am - 7.30pm. Admission is free.
Written by Ms Demeanour
Hermes - Orchard Rd
541 Orchard Rd, Liat Towers, 3rd Floor, Singapore 238881.