In 1999, a month after my partner Mark Goh and I met, we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA where we saw Roy Lichtenstein’s Desk Calendar. Surprisingly, the painting has both my birth date and Mark’s birthday inscribed on it, along with a reminder to ‘call 212-288-4820’.
That number belonged to Leo Castelli, who was once Lichtenstein’s gallerist. In 2011, I acquired the number, and quickly discovered that some people who have seen the painting would call it out of curiosity.
Hundreds of those seemingly random calls have been collected in my voice mailbox. I contacted several of those callers, explained that the number on the painting that they have called belongs to me, and asked them if they wanted to participate in an art project. A number of them agreed.
That became the basis of Evidence, a five-minute video and in some ways my very first artwork.
Evidence is about serendipity, memory, and human connection, about how a painting – Roy Lichtenstein’s Desk Calendar – has brought strangers together. And how art can change the direction of, or even save, people’s lives.
In 2016, Evidence was shown at Art World Forum here in Singapore. It is exhibited at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco until June 25, 2017. It is also visible on the website of our collection and on Vimeo.
Mark and I have established MaGMA Collection, which now comprises 400 iconic contemporary Asian art pieces. We’ve been sharing selections of our collection with the public through exhibitions.
In 2014, with our friend Sean Soh, we founded an art gallery, Art Porters, with a mission of “sharing happiness with art”. We recently opened a superb permanent space in a conserved Peranakan shophouse on Spottiswoode Park Road.