“Ten Courts of Hell” is a series of linocuts based on Haw Par Villa park, in Singapore. The work was produced during the two week residency ‘Tropical Lab 10: Fictive Dreams’ at Lasalle College of Arts.
Haw Par Villa was built by the brothers Boon Par, the creators of the iconic traditional medical ointment, Tiger Balm. It contains over 1.000 statues and 150 giant exhibits depicting scenes from the Chinese mythology, folklores and histories.
The gruesome “Ten Courts of Hell” reigns as the theme park’s most famous attraction. It is a fascinating moral history that describes in detail the torture and punishment for each sin one commits in a lifetime, with terrifying graphics from the Chinese underworld. This infernal representation becomes even more striking when, outside the cave, those scenes rub shoulders with childish figures like cute animals – tigers, rabbits, goats – flowers and fairies.
This contradiction and strong irony immediately interested me. It is expressed in the colour (pink), in the fake wooden paper, and in the subjects that talk for themselves.
Presented at Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore.