Prolific Multimedia Artist Brian Gothong Tan’s Latest Work ‘The Swimming Pool Library’ Interrogrates Stereotypes of Masculinity2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Held from 28 October 2021 – 30 January 2022 at 72-13, acclaimed multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan will present his “most personal work to date” with multimedia installation and performance The Swimming Pool Library.
Inspired by Alan Hollinghurst’s bestselling seminal novel of the same name, the immersive presentation details a peculiar rite of passage and promises to take audiences on a less-conventional coming of age journey where society’s labels of gender and sexuality do not necessarily apply. The exhibition, featuring an eclectic mix of evocative installations split into various chapters that mark milestones in the rite of passage, will be complemented by a live
performance specially choreographed for the camera and performed in-situ at 72-13, while simultaneously live-cast over the internet.
It will be the first of four projects Tan will direct over the next four years, as part of an artistic atelier presented by T:>Works. This follows the third and final instalment of theatre artist Noorlinah Mohamed’s three-year artistic stewardship of the successful Festival of Women N.O.W. (not ordinary work).
The production reunites Tan with Lost Cinema 20/20’s Karen Tan and Irfan Kasban, who join a cast comprising Umi Kalthum Bte Ismail (Supervision), Lian Sutton (Electra and Those Who Can’t, Teach), drag artist Azizul ‘Izzy’ Mahathir (a.k.a. Vanda Miss Joaquim) and theatre newcomer, songwriter Ronald Goh.
Tan shares: “The Swimming Pool Library questions, among other things, why masculinity can’t involve tenderness, kindness, softness. Why do we define things so rigidly that the inability to meet those definitions causes such feelings of failure?”
“The Swimming Pool Library is my most personal work to date, and a fitting start to the atelier that I’m creating for T:>Works. I’m going back to the basics of my artistic practice, which is rooted in visual art. This work… is a lexicon of material and memories, images and imaginings.”