Art Preview: The Gift of Time at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Jim Morrison once said, “The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” Such is the fatalistic nature of time seen through the eyes of the legendary American singer-songwriter-poet and frontman of rock band The Doors, who remains a source of inspiration for aspiring artists all over the world today.
In a similar vein, American artist-scenographer-filmmaker-poet Hilton McConnico explores the fragility and transient nature of time through his installation-based exhibition The Gift of Time, held at the Tanjong Pagar railway station in collaboration with luxury fashion brand Hermès. “Time is filled with fragments of everyday life. Simple things. Memories. Childhood. And it’s that emotion which is alive in each one of us,” he says. “Time is a circle.”
McConnico’s poetic and dreamy installations, set in different rooms within the unconventional space, charts the history and evolution of the Hermès brand through “a series of sensory discoveries and an imaginary experience because life is that way.
He adds, “Sometimes the room that follows is in harmony with the last one but most of the time I try to make it unexpected. A unity of color or theme might give us a feeling of déjà-vu.”
According to the artist, the connecting thread that brings these rooms together is their differences. A colored room may be followed by its complementary, whereas a dark room followed by a light one can give you a shock when you are in search of a certain harmony. In fact, it’s a series of “intentions that gives the illusion of an unwinding phenomenon.”
This explains some of the more ambiguous and surrealist-inspired pieces such as the two hanging horse heads set in a blood red-drenched room installation or another with a parrot in a cage. The works are displayed alongside some of Hermes’ most coveted bags like the Birkin—making them equally random, beautiful and suitably dark.
Part of the exhibition’s charm also lies in its venue. “We chose the railway station so that visitors can travel into the heart and emotion of Hermès time at a space which itself is embellished by time and movement,” explains Alli Sim, press and communication attachée at Hermès.
That emotion is translated into some of the most defining moments in art and McConnico sums up his philosophically thought-out pieces as an “imaginary trip into the heart of darkness.”
He adds, “With a bit of luck it will take us into a spiral of dreams projecting us into memories of childhood. The path of the exhibition is like a loop starting all over again.”
The Gift of Time is on through August 12 at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.