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A woman kneels in front of a large net hanging from the ceiling filled with dry leaves. She is focused on adjusting one of the leaves sticking out of the net. In the background, two men adjust leaves in a second net hanging from the ceiling.

Why Did M+ Team Members Spend Weeks Collecting Old Leaves?

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In the current exhibition at the M+ Pavilion, In Search of Southeast Asia through the M+ Collections, you’ll find a video installation work next to two large, suspended nets filled with leaves. This is All Lines Flow Out by Charles Lim, a work that explores Singapore’s drainage system and how it reflects the city’s relationship to the sea. The work’s installation instructions state that the leaves should be freshly gathered for each display. So, how do you find these leaves? Below, four members of M+’s exhibitions team share how they did it.

Participants: Kieran Champion, Senior Manager, Installations and Displays; Natalie Harding, Associate Conservator, Objects; Nelson Tsui, Assistant Art Technician; and Howard Wong, Exhibitions Production Technician.

A woman wearing a black headband magnifier holds a small paintbrush and is painting onto a painting on canvas.

Conserving Ink Art for 'The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+'

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Every M+ exhibition presents new challenges and opportunities for the M+ Conservation team. For The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+, the conservation efforts were led by Jo-Fan Huang, Conservator, Paper, and Karina Jagudina, Conservator, Paintings. Read on below for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the conservation process, as they recount some of the unique cases they faced. Find out what to do when dealing with losses, what microclimates are, and how difficult it can be just to put an artwork on the wall.

Sample Room in 2017 at the M+ Pavilion. The exhibition consists of a room with dozens of pieces of kitchenware hanging off hooks on the wall. The wooden slats of the wall have emails between the artist and curator printed on them.

Curating/Conserving Canton Express: When Kitchen Products Become Art

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We’ve gone through a lot of strange artworks in our 'Curating/Conserving Canton Express' series: giant bug objects, lifesize chicken sculptures, and mini-kingdoms filled with giant straws. For this final part of the series, we will be looking at something seemingly much more normal and mundane: a tiny room filled with kitchen products.

Sample Room by Zheng Guogu is the concept of ‘Made in China’ in artwork form. In the city of Yangjiang in Guangdong province, local samples of products, such as kitchenware, are produced and put into display rooms to be shown for international buyers. In 2003, Zheng Guogu took these local kitchen products, put them in his own manufactured display room, and then shipped the entire thing to the Venice Biennale. There, it was part of Canton Express, a project originally organised in 2003 and restaged in 2017 at the M+ Pavilion.

A photo of the Sucker installation in 2017 at the M+ Pavilion. The right wall is visible, with the following words emblazoned on it: “Love you, suck you, suck to win, suck, more fair? Sick, more openly, beautiful for for a great straw, suck or not”. The glowing rotating pole is visible to the left, with one of the staircases right in the center, leading up to a wall with multiple photographs of people sucking through long tubes.

Curating/Conserving Canton Express: How to Restore a Work That No Longer Exists

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Welcome to the kingdom of Suckers. Here, straws are used to suck up all of the information and natural resources in the community. The national flag is made up of giant colourful straws, and the national anthem, “We suck, we suck, we suck”, is played over and over. On the walls, there are ominous messages: “We’re gonna suck your future. We’re gonna suck our brain. We’re gonna suck your heart.”

This is the fictional world that artist Jiang Zhi created at the 2003 Venice Biennale with his Sucker installation. Using eye-popping colours and a large, glowing, rotating pole, he turned a tiny space into one where visitors could explore the “kingdom of Suckers”. Photos on the walls depicted the fictional inhabitants of the kingdom, and the national anthem played on a loop. In the work, sucking becomes a socio-political metaphor for the way societies and individuals consume energy and resources from the world, from communities, and from each other.

But this original kingdom has since been lost.