Calvin Tay’s (b.1987) artistic practice primarily centers around sculpture and installation. An Industrial Design graduate of the National University of Singapore, Tay is intrigued by materials and their properties, and perpetually seeks new ways to manipulate them. He works to uncover the possibilities held in familiar materials that many of us might overlook.
Applying his understanding of different mediums and fabrication processes to the concepts in his works, Tay stretches our perceptions of the materials he uses and in doing so challenges us to shift our own reference points in general.
In 2017, he was awarded a residency with the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China. His works during the residency revolved around the overlooked intangibles he experienced when moving around and interacting with the city and people.
In the past few years, Tay’s work has mainly used the thermoplastic Hot Melt Adhesive (HMA), more commonly known as hot glue, to bring attention to the overlooked in our everyday. In his Conjugation series – Shanghai (2017) and Singapore (2018) – he examined the daily commute. In Glue Again (2019), Tay challenged our perceptions of the HMA material, using a variety of handling and manipulating techniques to transform this commonplace intermediate material into something that not only stands alone as a medium of expression, but also flourishes.
Last year, in Taking Routes (2022), Tay used his distinctive technique of layering HMA to remember Tanglin Halt – a place that held memories for him and the many past residents of the area. Through this exhibit, held in one of the HDB flats in the vicinity, he demonstrated the interconnectedness of our everyday journeys.
A self-proclaimed plant maniac, he describes nature as the perfect designer.
Find out more about his works here.