Photo of artist anGie seah performing in the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln in Singapore, one of the few historical brick-built kilns left in Asia.

Photo by Haffidz Razak

Photo by Haffidz Razak

Shadow has no name

On April 21, 2021, the interdisciplinary artist anGie seah premiered Shadow has no name, a striking work of performance, voice, and music. seah brings her rallying cry into the Guan Huat Dragon Kiln in Singapore, one of the few historical brick-built kilns left in Asia. The work explores perseverance and draws inspiration from the kiln, which, for decades, has withstood temperatures of up to one thousand degrees Celsius.

In her attempt to understand what she sees as humanity’s timeless and insatiable longing to connect to the world, seah vocalizes into the darkness of the kiln, an elemental chamber of life, searching for answers that will echo one’s innermost being. Repetitive knocks from the artist’s sculptures of clay hammers produce fossilized sounds whose rhythms evoke a pounding heart. She becomes the vessel that turns frequencies into music and our deepest yearnings into song. The artist and musician Ian Woo accompanies seah on the bass guitar.

Following the performance, seah appeared in conversation with Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe, vice president for global artistic programs and director of Asia Society Museum.

Performance duration: 17 minutes
Created by anGie seah
Recorded at Guan Huat Dragon Kiln in Jalan Bahar Clay Studios, Singapore 
Sound mixed and mastered by Kelvin Ang
Videography by anGie seah, Sufian Samsiyar, and Haffidz Razak 
Video post-production by anGie seah and Haffidz Razak 
Special thanks to Edric Hwang and Focus Ceramics Pte Ltd. 

anGie seah’s work encompasses drawing, sculpture, and sound-based performance. Her fascination with mysticism and sacred music has led her to investigate the ways that ritual and mystery permeate everyday life. A key artistic strategy in her work is a reliance on spontaneity, allowing chance and intuition to function as tools to navigate one through shifting emotional resonances and psychological states. For more than a decade, seah has been creating participatory art projects with communities locally and internationally. seah lives and works in Singapore.

Ian Woo is an artist and musician influenced by forms of modernism, perceptual abstraction, and the sound structures of music improvisation.

This work was commissioned by Asia Society Museum, New York, for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone.

Supported by Lauren Bogen and Richard Nijkerk.

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