Tay Ining (b. 1988, Singapore) works at a metalworking shop. As an artist, she explores the neglected creative potential of manufacturing industries in Singapore. In her sculptural installation, she have addressed its conceptual concerns, such as the linguistics of mechanical phenomena and the fabrication of depicted objects. They are inspired by her encounters with the corrosion of metal to nature and its transformation by labour in the factory.
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. Being an artist collaborator helps her discover how different forms of knowledge and experience align.
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.
Ining ended her work contract as an User Experience designer in Pittsburgh. 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.
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 0.5% 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.”
Artist CV can be downloaded here. [Link]
Updated on Oct 2019
Approach her for help if you need to make something – whatever it is – she would love to join in the fun.
Studio Library Catalogue [Link]
"This is the Metalworking Studio's Library alongside with some private book collection on Art, Culture, Design and Intellectual Studies. The library aims to provide substantial materials on metal fabrication, manufacturing process and engineering to facilitate self-study. Occasionally, you may chance upon some occult-themed literature of the 1890s and early 20th Century. These are texts which I grew up with."