The Notation

Written by Zena Khan

Young female artist Annabelle Ng enjoys combining ideas of memory, experience, the familiar and the unfamiliar in the creation of her often-melancholic art. Her latest installation, The Notation, is no exception. Inspired by personal memories, Annabelle uses her creative practice to track the connections between the tangible and intangible in this mixed media work which is comprised of metal, Perspex, wood, prints and drawings.

The Notation is based primarily on the notation of time as it passes by. Annabelle sees time as relevant to all life, with each living organism being granted a pre-ordained time frame. Understanding her own collection of memories and experiences as a way to mark the passage of her allotted time, Annabelle began her pre-production process through a poetic reflection on the aforesaid memories. This introspective approach is a common characteristic in female artists, who often use themselves as a starting-point in their narrative approach. Annabelle has a fascination with documenting her surroundings and involvements through photography, leading to a well-recorded image bank of her experiences.

The Notation provides evidence of passing of time through the actions of the artist. By printing images from her stockpile onto rice paper and then threading them through three metal rods at the top of the installation, Annabelle infuses a snapshot of history onto each sheet. Lined up in three rows with one stacked on top of another, the photographic prints are mostly architectural in nature. Generally of doors and windows, they mark physical spaces the artist has either inhabited or passed through. As such, she examines her relationship with the physical space she occupies, and the way she uses her pre-ordained time. The grainy black-and-white quality of her prints renders them slightly ambiguous, much like memories, which at times are hard to perfectly recall. The translucency of the rice paper prints mirror the clear Perspex sheets forming the lower half of The Notation. Some of these Perspex sheets have pieces of rice paper with faintly illustrated minimal drawings on them. Layering the Perspex sheets asymmetrically in front of each other, she forms a visual metaphor for the layers of experiences and memories noting the formation of time. These drawings are different not only in medium but also in content; they record the activities of Annabelle’s present, as opposed to the prints, which speak of her past.

Contemporary artists enjoy exploring the concept of how their audience experiences their art, by means of encouraging the viewers to become aware of their process of experiencing a piece or inviting them to participate in the artwork itself. By placing The Notation in a freestanding position on a stand, Annabelle removes the notion of a front view or a back view. As the viewer encircles the installation, Annabelle’s thoughts and subconscious are projected onto the viewer, and they are invited to enter the reflective facets of her personality.

For Annabelle, the careful composition of her prints, drawings and assemblage elements are the main focus within The Notation. The artist views her illustrative aspects as a tool to aid her primary concern, and while she understands that implying time in a static work can be achieved in a number of ways, the use of a sequential series of images that capture several moments in time, is her symbolic representation of choice. Although the images appear neutral and flat in their linear manner, they present a highly detailed account of the artist, recording details of her past, present and personality. In this way, The Notation provides audiences with deeply personal information on Annabelle, establishing an intimate connection that creates a natural interest in the works that are yet to come from this highly conceptual and instinctive artist.


Title: The Notation

Artist: Annabelle Ng

Size: 234 cm x 239 cm x 92 cm

Medium: Mixed Media

Year: 2014


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