From Purveyor of Meanings to White Cube, Parergon and Installation

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Sau Bin Yap


This essay is positioned as a self-reflexive practice and exegesis in examining my past installation works made from 2002 to 2013, and to discuss these works concerning the notion of the practice of artist and the art made as “purveyors of meanings”, as an open interpretative possibility. It extends the discussion on the notion of the artist as a ‘purveyor of meanings’ as a proposition developed from a previous article based on my artistic practice and understanding, which considered some of the complexity of such implication as a conceptual approach of artmaking, especially when it takes into consideration various aspects of audience interpretation and how the artwork would operate and perform in an exhibition setting. The ensuing discussion posits the concept of the ‘white cube’ as a kind of overpowering exhibition space and as an aesthetic ideology by O’Doherty as a critical examination of the role and function of these white or neutral tone exhibition spaces in many art museums and galleries featuring Modernist art. The essay proposes the notion of maintaining conscious pursuit of a liminal state of presence in the reading of artworks, raising the question who is the one who conferred an artwork meaning, and in what manner and condition et cetera. Such conferring of meaning(s) as arbitrary as it would, confirms that the one (not just a human, person or agency) or perhaps that which judge (its meanings) would hold the artwork (and the meaning) ransom, i.e. a conscious return to a liminal state is always necessary to counter the tyrannical judgement of meanings held to ransom.

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How to Cite
Yap, S. B. (2023). From Purveyor of Meanings to White Cube, Parergon and Installation. International Journal of Creative Multimedia, 4(2), 42–55.