Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present SUPPER CLUB, Singaporean-artist Alvin Ong’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition opens in conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2019.
Ong’s latest paintings are exuberant and erotic depictions of figures suspended between moments of extreme pleasure and pain. The body is unapologetically exposed in its cravings. Bodily appetites are rendered in grotesque flourishes, redolent with black humour.
The durian, king of fruits, has particular prominence. Renowned, or some say infamous, for its odour and unique fleshy texture, it is represented as an object of desire on the canvas, causing the figures to go wild with limbs akimbo and jaws falling wide.
Allusions to the compositional and narrative structures of European history painting – altarpieces in particular – abound through playful appropriation of the sacred and the profane. These are baroque scenes of ritualistic indulgence, of food made carnal. Contemporary society’s pursuit of gastronomic delight is given a surrealistic twist.
SUPPER CLUB evokes eating as theatre through tableaux of clandestine circles of privilege and exclusivity. The figures are solipsistic strangers whose faces and bodies stage their private pleasures in front of others. Situated in group settings, no one is alone, and yet there is no communication between them, no relation to speak of, except that all are islands of ecstasy.
Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue, designed by Hanson Ho / H55, that includes an essay by Dr. Yeo Wei Wei, formerly head of publications at National Gallery Singapore.