Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present the order of nature, a group exhibition in Singapore featuring internationally acclaimed artists: Brook Andrew, Clive van den Berg, Skyler Chen, Sunil Gupta, Alvin Ong and Jason Wee. The exhibition extends on this single legal reprieve, exploring the ambiguities that continue to persist for queer communities across artists that work in countries colonised by the British.
The exhibition takes the recent repeal of Section 377A in the Singapore Constitution as its starting point, a law introduced to the country in 1871 under British colonial rule that criminalised sex between two men. The genesis of Section 377 can be traced to 1862, first codified in the Indian Penal Code and drawn up by Thomas Babington Macaulay, exported and applied to the basis of criminal law codes in over 39 British colonies across Asia, the Pacific and Africa, leaving a damaging legacy in its wake. It has often been used to justify discrimination and violence against the queer community and other ancestral sexual and gender diverse identities. The women/men binary enshrined in many societies reflects an understanding of gender and sexuality by colonial legacies that unfortunately disregards and discourages public discourses on homosexual conducts across cultures in all regions of the world.
“’Cruising’ was sly, illicit, shifty, clandestine. Now that queers are no longer criminals, what does it mean to look at queerness and for it to look back at you? What glances can now be exchanged—glances that were once marked by fear, desire, and the delicious recognition of belonging to the same depraved caste, the same perverted tribe? How much of the transgressiveness of queer art depended on its status as a form of legal transgression? Is it still cruising, if in broad daylight?” questions Singaporean playwright and activist Alfian Sa’at.
the order of nature explores the emotional everyday of queer identities and how this collides with our current inheritances of colonial rule. It seeks to celebrate the sexuality and poetry of queer bodies while acknowledging the underlying sets of laws, customs and technologies that contain them. It encompasses diverse relationships and intimacies beyond those between two men, illuminating private and often provisional places for queer love, longing and self-acceptance.
Clive van den Berg and Sunil Gupta are presented in collaboration with Goodman Gallery and Hales Gallery respectively.