Crystals, jewels, books!

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A curiousity

I was not expecting this when I decided to visit an exhibition of student works at La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore on April 22, 2017.

One artwork stood out instantly — I just couldn’t take my eyes off it.

It’s a series of books with sparkling crystals growing out of them.

And I was lucky, for the artist of this curious work happened to be on duty as the gallery assistant.

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Beginning of creation

Called “In Hindsight”, the exhibition (April 1-30, 2017) is a showcase of the best works from Year II students from the Diploma of Fine Arts programme.

Joey Ang’s work is called “The beginning of creation 2016”.

Ang told me her work was a result of her interest in chemistry. To create her piece, she had tap some experts at the National University of Singapore for advice and recommendations on how to manage the crystallisation process.

She settled on Sodium Borate, Potassium Hydrogen Phosphate and Potassium Aluminium Sulphate. The last produces the most brilliant result.

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Her chosen books — dictionary, school syllabuses — were submerged in a tank for up to four days for the crystals to form.

She had folded the pages to create certain patterns before that.

Through trial and error, she was able to create this sparkling, intriguing series of crystallised books.

They certainly looked like they have been retrieved from a cave deep in the core of the earth, where they have been lying for aeons.

Geological timeframe

Geology, jewellery, knowledge, memories, treasures. Looking at Ang’s work, you can’t help but contemplate the effects of time and the preciousness of memories.

I was not allowed to touch the exhibit, but Ang said the books are stiff. And the crystals do not pose any health hazard.

“They are not poisonous. They are like detergent,” she reassured. “But they are fragile and must be kept indoors. They dissolve when taken outside.”

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Beautiful and magical

I find Ang’s work particularly evocative. The crystallisation process is completely fascinating, and the crystal-encrusted results are like nothing I have seen.

And the pieces are still visibly, unequivocally books. — you can read the pages!

But they have also crossed over into the realm of art and sculpture.

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I think this young lady is on to something.

See more at Ang’s website.

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