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The whispers

Exhibition “Lost and found: imagining new worlds”, Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore, 2019

Pamela Cevallos has conducted sustained research in the archaeological cultures of Ecuador, on South America’s west coast. Her interests include notions of originality, the dissemination of ancient forms and how museums create narratives around cultural material. Here she presents a new work made collaboratively with six BA(Hons) Fine Arts students at LASALLE. Beginning with the three pieces of a broken earthenware bowl of unknown provenance held in the LASALLE College of the Arts Collection, Cevallos created a production method in six parts. Each of three students was invited to copy one of the ceramic pieces. In the second stage, the same students copied one another’s copies. After a third and final round of reproduction, a second trio of students undertook the same steps, beginning with the first group’s three final-round copies. The whispers presents six copies of each piece—a total of 18 copies that began with the fragments in LASALLE’s collection. How do we define what is original when the very origin of the prototypical ceramic bowl can’t yet be confirmed? What is a copy and what is a simulacrum?

Raphael Fonseca, curator

Bowl, unknown date Singapore earthenware 3 fragments, (a) 7 x 3.8 x 1 cm, (b) 5.5 x 12 x 11 cm, (c) 3.4 x 7.5 x 7 cm LASALLE College of the Arts Collection, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. B1996.351.01–03 Replicas made by Mok Xun Ying Amanda, Muhammad Khairi Bin Md Ibrahim, Lin Mengju, Fatima Bano, Raghav Babbar, Cynthia Wang Huiyuan 18 replicas of the fragments described above, various dimensions; sound work 9:30 minutes

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