Ho Tzu Nyen

Utama : Every Name in History is I

1976- Singapore

Ho Tzu Nyen uses many forms including performance, painting and film to explore the contradictions and uncertainties of history and culture. This work, made up of a film and 20 paintings, tells the mysterious story of Sang Nila Utama, king of the Malay people, who is said to have given Singapore its name, deriving from Singa (lion) and Pura (village or town). The film is in five parts and tells the story of Utama's discovery of the island and his encounter with a lion, and the legend of how he gained power and popularity by symbolically discarding his crown. The title references Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) who in later life suffered a bout of mental illness and, perhaps questioning his own identity, wrote letters to various people signed with different names. Within the work Utama has many names and is portrayed in the manner of various historical figures. The pursuit of the truth in his story ultimately results in an enigma of shadows and fantasy. (KS)

Work description

Title Utama : Every Name in History is I
Name of the Artist Ho Tzu Nyen
Year 2003
Medium transfer ink and acrylic on canvas, video (23min.)