I Was Here

Francis Ng's sculpture "I Was Here" now stands outside the Esplanade is clearly playing with the idea of memory: how does one leave traces? Clearly sculpture and monuments have been methods of doing so in many societies - anything carved in stone is an attempt to preserve something about one's life beyond one's death. So Ng takes that act of memorialising to the logical extreme, creating a monument that states its symbolic meaning, combining signifier (stone monument) and signified ("I was here").

The work made me think of how stone momuments rarely serve the preservation function forever, in spite of their creators' intentions, a fact Shelley observed in "Ozymandias":
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Ars longa, vita brevis, but glorifying monuments just become wrecks devoid of meaning, boundless and bare.


Anonymous said…
Hey..i love ur blog..keep it up !
Anonymous said…
I'd say Saussure and Baulliard. I was just discussing in one of my classes how tourists take pictures of the sign for the tourists instead of the site itself.
We live in a strange world.

Out of curiousity, is this a permanent artwork? I've never seen it before. (Then again, I haven't spent more than 2 weeks in Singapore in the last 2 years.)
recharging said…
Nevertheless, I still think that there is no better way to immortalise oneself than through a piece of art. I once saw a painting on the theme of how life is transient. The artist painted his self-image in the reflection of a vase, the centrepiece of the painting, thereby immortilising himself in his own artwork. Ironic but effective. =)
Daryl said…
germaine: well signifier/signified is quite a Saussurian (sp?) set of terms

delicia_li: thanks very much

marianne: impermanent. In fact, it's moved around town for a bit.

xy: that's partly the point of Ozymandias, I think: the idea that art/poetry survives long after more concrete (ha ha) attempts to immortalise people fade into obscurity.

Popular posts from this blog

Dog blogs, plus the I look like my dog "contest"

50 Cent's crib