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The Rockstar Recruit

Nicolette Sim, (soon-to-be-former) Editor, Plural

Venue: STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

You may have caught glimpses of her on our social media pages or seen some of her writing on the site in the past few months. But Nicolette has been invaluable in her primary role, as Plural Editor. Working collaboratively with our writers, Nic often pushed them to go just a little further, think a little more deeply – helping to bring out the best in their writing.

We always knew her time with us was only temporary – but we couldn’t let her go without putting her in the hot seat for a People piece!

Tell us about your outfit today – what are you wearing and where is everything from?

I’ve paired an ancient Uniqlo t-shirt with Issey Miyake trousers. The beauty about these trousers is that they’re made in just one size, fold into a flat, planar shape through the incorporation of cut-lines but, when pulled up and unfolded, transform, like origami, into a wearable 3D piece. The material feels like organza, but it’s actually constructed from recycled polyester fibre derived from chemical recycling. It’s a process that massively reduces energy consumption.

My shoes are from the Vans x Van Gogh Museum collection. They’re entirely wrapped in canvas down to the heel, and feature Vincent van Gogh’s handwritten letters to his brother Theo. They read like an intimate autobiography as the tortured genius was incredibly dependent on Theo.

The assorted jewellery is from COS, & Other Stories, or handmade and gifted by designer-friends.

Is this typical of your fashion style and what you would normally wear when gallery hopping or attending art events?

More or less – I’m a creature of habit. At the risk of sounding like an art school cliche, I’m typically in black, but overall, I love a modern silhouette. When I was in London I used to focus more on layers, but in Singapore, it’s pretty straightforward. I’m almost always in sneakers for their versatility and comfort, a quality which cannot be underestimated especially at fairs or marathon retrospectives – but I focus on the accoutrements! I also cannot resist a good pair of high-waisted pants.

You picked the Singapore Tyler Print Institute – Creative Workshop & Gallery as the location for this interview/shoot. Tell us what you like about it?

On a fundamental level, the print medium is relatively less esoteric. The image-making process involves a lot of physical work, and I like this notion of labour which is central to the romantic ideal of art-making. As a workshop and gallery, STPI also resonates with me because it occupies a rather unique, experimental position in the local art landscape.

The current exhibition, Handmade Readymades, showcases an exciting group of American artists who are well-associated with print, of which Robert Rauschenberg is an old favourite of mine. I’ve always been drawn to collage and the act of cutting, rearranging and processing visual material that turns the incongruous into coherent, meaningful wholes. By displacing an image from its typical expectations, it creates new ways of seeing and unsettles established interpretations.

Having just come back from art school in London, what are your impressions of the Singapore/Southeast Asian art scene?

I felt like a fish out of water when I first came back to Singapore. I was first formally exposed to arts education at Central Saint Martins and found that I constantly drew from my repository of knowledge, visuals and references cultivated there. It isn’t problematic in itself but it anchored my understanding of art history, and I frequently drew comparisons to the European, or English, model.

I’ve worked here for a year now and it’s much more nuanced when you’re on the ground commissioning artists, conducting research, writing, and even having editorial control over content in an SEA art publication! It’s a burgeoning scene for sure, and there is a space for criticality to be honed, but I think a lot of exciting things have come up in a short span of time.

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