Tay Ining (b. 1988, Singapore) works at a small metalworking shop. As an artist, she explores the neglected creative potential of fabrication industries in Singapore. Her recent works have addressed the linguistic and conceptual concerns with mechanical phenomena and depicted objects. They are inspired by her encounters with the transformation of metal in the factory.
Ining did her B.F.A. at Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media in 2011, majoring in Interactive Media. She is a participant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology GAMBIT (2010) program and a recipient of the National University of Singapore SHAPE (2014) grant, both of which were overseas internship experiences in the United States. Her recent works include AGAINST WALL VIEWING THE, an installation with metal wall hooks and artworks fallen off the wall at Shophouse 5, POCK POCK ROCK, a site-specific arrangement with newly built metal structure and hidden debris at OH! Open House’s Potong Pasir, and BARE STEEL, SNOW BLANKET, an effect of water freezing and condensation upon mild steel using a refrigeration system, that won the Noise Singapore Award 2015.
Ining ended her work contract as an User Experience designer in Pittsburgh not long ago. When she returned to Singapore, she took a keen interest in her family’s metal manufacturing business. Interestingly, the company is the same age as her. She is milking it of all its worth for the sake of art.
Working in the metal workshop has allowed the artist to introduce something new and odd to the existing industrial process in the factory. She aspires to build up her craftsmanship and close the gap on conceptual art, making artwork as she experiments with metalworking. Interestingly though, she comes out with unusual approaches of using the existing equipment to work with metal and the factory workers around her start to ponder on the purpose of art. At the end of each day, she contemplates among the firey sparks and deafening noises from the labour.
In the artist’s own words, “As a metal fabricator, I am accustomed to considering the practical, functional aspects of metal structures, such as how strong the material is, and the preventive measures that can be taken against rusting. But in my artistic pursuits, I wish to break away from this. Rust has been my love, and it is the starting point of my works. I focus on Ferrum (Fe), also known as Iron as we call it in English, as an element in the periodic table. Mild steel has always been the main material in my work. It is an alloy with the usual composition of 99% iron element and 1% carbon + others. I have to be cautious though, because my prior knowledge of working with iron as a material may work against my attitude towards iron as an element, as a poetic substance. For instance, the conventional mind does not consider iron as being capable of evaporation, but in reality, it actually is under incredibly high temperatures.”
While she figures the potentials of metalworking, juggles her artistic visions and craftsmanship, she also helps other creatives realise their projects through the use of her metal workshop’s facilities. Making art for others helps her discover how knowledge and experience are imparted from one person to another.
Approach her for help if you need to make something – whatever it is – she would love to join in the fun.
Artist CV can be downloaded here. [Link]