Multimedia artist teams up with scent designer for new exhibition

Scent designer Terry Jacobson (left) teams up with multimedia designer Mojoko (right) for Sick Scents.
Scent designer Terry Jacobson (left) teams up with multimedia designer Mojoko (right) for Sick Scents.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Singapore artist Gerald Leow tests the boundaries between the sacred and profane in I Am Time Grown Old To Destroy The World.
Singapore artist Gerald Leow tests the boundaries between the sacred and profane in I Am Time Grown Old To Destroy The World.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Strange bedfellows take centre stage at two new exhibitions

Collaboration is the name of the game at two new exhibitions at contemporary gallery Chan + Hori, where strange bedfellows such as perfume and pop culture come together to create art.

Multimedia artist Steve Lawler, better known by his moniker Mojoko, has teamed up with scent designer Terry Jacobson for the exhibition, Sick Scents.

Together, they created seven unusual fragrances - ranging from the bubblegum-flavoured Pinkachu to the woody, Coca-Cola-tinged Black Mask.

Lawler, 39, has also designed bespoke packaging for each perfume - bottled in the style of old-school Chinese medicated ointment - and created artwork inspired by each scent.

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To accompany the mandarin and leather-scented Twisted Passion, for instance, he made a digital collage of a Chinese porcelain vase with a bloody hand - culled from a horror film poster - hanging out of it.

"I want to look at the decline of tradition and what happens if you infuse it with modern pop culture," says Lawler, a British artist who was raised in Hong Kong and is a permanent resident of Singapore.

  • VIEW IT / SICK SCENTS/ I AM TIME GROWN OLD TO DESTROY THE WORLD

  • WHERE: Chan + Hori Contemporary, 02-09 Gillman Barracks, 6 Lock Road

    WHEN: Until June 25, 11am to 7pm, Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays and public holidays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.chanhori.com

He decided to work with the South Africa-born Jacobson, 41, also a Singapore permanent resident, because scent design was "a form of creativity I had never encountered before and think we should explore more of".

"Fragrances tap into memories," says Jacobson, who founded scent companies AllSense and Oo La Lab. "What Steve and I want to do is to take a traditional experience or fragrance and turn it on its head."

Across the room from the perfume exhibits is I Am Time Grown Old To Destroy The World, which comprises 23 steel sculptures and 12 nude portraits by Singapore artist Gerald Leow and Indonesia- born, Singapore-based fashion photographer Ivanho Harlim.

The exhibition's title is drawn from a line spoken by the Hindu deity Krishna in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, which Leow felt drawn to because of its "poetic violence".

The 33-year-old wants his work to test the boundaries between the sacred and profane, as well as explore the contrast between the materiality of flesh and transcendence.

He worked with Harlim, 39, to photograph a nude model, sometimes daubed in the vivid blue associated with Krishna, sometimes in positions that resemble yogic poses, but are, in fact, drawn from erotic practices.

He also made sculptures that combine elements of religious iconography with the font from the logo of heavy metal band Judas Priest, or are inspired by BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) slave collars.

"There is an inherent violence to our existence," says Leow. "I don't mean killing - to walk in the street and step on an ant, or to consume meat, just being in this world is to do violence somehow."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'Peculiar pairings on show'. Print Edition | Subscribe