Time to Wrap Up is about taking the planet, gift-wrapping it and giving it back to mankind. It is also a reminder that nature is much more powerful than whatever mankind has ever built. Given time, nature can reclaim any man-made structure. Sometimes nature can reclaim it in a big way or in a blink of an eye – like a tsunami.
All the material goods we own come from nature. The metal foundations in our buildings are mined from the planet’s core, the fuel that keeps our transportation systems moving comes from the oil that is piped from the earth’s crust, even the ubiquitous plastic that is used in almost everything these days, is derived from the very same fossil fuels – essentially the remains of trees, plants and prehistoric animals that lived millions of years ago.
“The central element of the exhibition, the interactive installation Time to Wrap Up, provides an opportunity for the viewer to respond to Goh’s meditations on repetition, re-ordering and the exquisite strangeness of the insect or animal form. The artist presents a hodgepodge of objects, most of them everyday items from modern life: a table and chairs, a supermarket trolley, a piano, a vehicle, models of animals, icons of East Asian culture, and other items. In a deliberate homage to Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room (2002), all the objects have been wrapped completely in white, and visitors are given sheets of stickers – bearing animal motifs from The Gift Book and Breakfast at 8 Jungle at 9 – which they can stick anywhere on the white objects.
Like Kusama’s work, Time to Wrap Up invites the visitor to create an environment that reflects the artist’s vision – in Goh’s case, a world that is wrapped up or covered in nature. Given the objects he has chosen for the installation, Goh is extending the assertion that nature is not merely a decorative layer, but a claim upon the landscape. We would like to believe that the things of humankind are eternal, but nature eventually overruns all man-made structures and institutions, as well as animals and plants, be it in the rapid surge of a tsunami or the infinitesimal path worn by an insect creeping up from the ground.
The act of placing stickers onto the white canvas of the objects also implicates visitors in the act of creatively ordering the natural world. What does it mean to wrap, or re-wrap, the world in nature? Perhaps it prompts a degree of care and reverence, even protectiveness – but there is also the potential for liberation, a child-like exultation and fun, until the object is finally plastered over and obscured.”
– Excerpt from exhibition text by Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, 18 May 2015.
More about the exhibition here.