New spin on oldies

Is it defacement or art?

Local art firm Kult has created an exhibition that could make a vinyl completist feel faint.

The China Vinyl Squad Exhibition features vintage 12-inch Chinese album covers from the 70s and 80s.

These were given to 34 local and international artists, who then unleashed their imagination to paint directly onto the covers to create new - and very different - artworks.

Under Indonesian artist Ryan Ady Putra, renowned Taiwanese singer Bao Na Na is transformed into a four-eyed alien riding on a UFO.

One piece by local artist Eric Foenander, turns an illustration of a sombre woman into Chun-Li from Street Fighter 2 surrounded by a blaze of Asian characters from pop culture.

Other works turn demure singers into showgirls, or surround them with demons.

Leaning heavily on alternative skater art styles, local talents such as SBTG, Laqueesh and Reptiliaphobia are joined by international names like UK's Russell Taysom and US artist Deladeso.

Says participating Iran-born artist Mojoko: "It was greatly inspiring. It's better than a blank canvas because it gives you a starting point; a place which launches the work into an entirely original direction."

The designs could be drawn, painted or collaged directly onto the covers.

When asked if this destroys heritage, Miss Angelina Lourdes, a project manager at Kult, says the project has been receiving "excellent reviews and no complaints".

"These covers are all easily available and not particularly rare. In fact they are considered junk by some people," says Miss Lourdes.

Inspiration for the project came during work on Kult's latest magazine - titled Memory - where local artists were asked to re-interpret photographs from Singapore's past.

Taking the idea further was the notion of upcycling - giving new purpose to old items - and old vinyl covers were felt to have "a richness of material that is forgotten".

The local artists were keen to "re-sample a piece of their own heritage", says Miss Lourdes.

The exhibition will be launched this Saturday with a block party at Zui Hong Lou bar, where the redesigned album covers will be displayed alongside smaller images of the original covers.

In keeping with the modern-retro theme, a playlist comprising songs featured on the albums has been created for the event.

China Vinyl Squad Exhibition will be held at Zui Hong Lou, 8 Ann Siang Hill, from March 29 to April 29.

Get The New Paper for more stories.