18 April 2018

KL Biennale (VIII): Second Floor Galleries

For the interested visitor, the second floor KL Biennale exhibition area in the National Art Gallery, presents an incoherent and challenging display. The immersive “Cracks in the Wall” presentation by Leon Leong greets those walking up the stairs. A draped “Under Construction” installation greets one walking up the rotunda, its censored form and state, not made known to the uninformed. Siti Zainon Ismail’s “Rumah Waris Uwan” proposes a visit to one kampung house six kilometres away, that cannot be found on Google Maps, thereby decreasing the prospects of proposed trip. Entering Galeri 2B next, pastel-tone photographs of “Swedish Dads” cuddling their offspring, and other works featuring children are displayed. While Zakaria Awang’s solemn ‘Warkah Buat Anakanda’ is undoubtedly the centrepiece within these small galleries, the remaining presentation is disjointed.

Installation snapshot of Zakaria Awang – Warkah Buat Anakanda (2012)

The cavernous Galeri 2A projects a better first impression, with a presentation of 80-years old paintings by O. Don Peris, along with photographs taken by his son Eric Peris. Unfortunately, Eric’s “Flower Does Not Talk” series is displayed in lightboxes which require the gallery to be dimmed, thus rendering works from the senior Peris illegible (or was this done due to preservation concerns?). The immediate galleries to the left changed its displays between November 2017 and December 2018, revealing the unrealistic timeline curators and artist representatives were working towards. In the final presentation, H.H. Lim’s expressionist painting, surreal cage, and fishing video are displayed, along with two wall hangings that depict human suffering. At this point, it is worth pondering the relevance of exhibits, with regards to the gallery’s biennale sub-theme Belas Insan

Installation snapshot of Amir Zainorin – Tong Tana (2017)

Small photographic portraits by Diana Lui and Jeffrey Lim captivate, while subsequent white & black box galleries include a variety of public engagement evidence. Before a common thread between these exhibits is established, the show veers off to works categorized under the sub-theme Belas Warisan. Three wooden sculptures by Tengku Sabri Ibrahim stand unsure of its positions, its blurry shadows wavering underneath the spotlight. Patterned constructs and paintings of traditional motifs surround a suspended fabric sculpture by Yim Yen Sum, while selected prints from Ilse Noor’s “Warisan Nusa” series are hung around the corner. The short walkway then continues into, a dark room showing Nasir Baharuddin’s large video projection ‘NT Ext Neuro’. This interchange of sub-themes in the middle of the gallery layout, disrupts an already tenuous flow, which implies a tentative exhibition strategy.

Installation snapshots of Mahen Bala – 222KM (2016–2017)

Squinting at Novia Shin’s tiny creations at the corners of the black box gallery, it is apparent that some exhibits are at risk of being a space filler, rather than a space disrupter. The final two gallery spaces, connected by a passage covered in brown paper, attempts to portray Malaysia as a culturally diverse place. Many works are excellent if evaluated standalone, but as a group, the presentation fails and appears contrived. This area is anchored by Ismadi Salehuddin’s collage of a Malaysian flag, made from wooden scraps. The symbol is as broken as its visible gaps, and casts a sinister light on neighbouring works by Sabah & Sarawak-born artists, and a spectral display memorializing Pudu Jail by K. Azril Ismail. In the preceding gallery, heroic sculptures by Raja Shahriman Raja Aziddin, coexist uncomfortably with paintings of indigenous motifs by Kelvin Chap. What was made from loss, and what is lost from made?

Installation snapshots of Galeri 2A, with works by Kelvin Chap, Shia Yih Yiing, Raja Shahriman Raja Aziddin, and Mad Anuar Ismail

14 April 2018

KL Biennale (VII): Belas Alam

Cerita Belas ‘Kanou Moung Hilo Bawang’ greets the visitor into Galeri Tun Razak, which exhibits the biennale sub-theme Belas Alam. I wrote in an older post, “(c)urator Tan Hui Koon also maximized the installation for the subsequent exhibits that feature fish/water/rocks, resulting in a coherent display at the beginning of this gallery.” After appreciating Shamsu Mohamad’s beautifully moulded and glossy ceramic pieces, I turn the corner to admire Jamil Zakaria’s dramatic wire mesh sculpture ‘Lubok’, which references a number of Malay proverbs (‘Ada air, adalah ikan’, ‘Bondong air, bondong ikan’, ‘Bagai ikan pulang ke lubuk’, ‘Lain padang lain belalang, lain lubuk lain ikannya’). Three fishing “Traps” by Anassuwandi Ahmad command one’s full attention, so too the sensory pleasures of virtually touching a large rock, as engineered by J.C. Tan.

Snapshots of author’s hand on J.C. Tan – “Techure” (2017)

Tourists and new audiences get to appreciate good examples of Malaysian modern art in the subsequent gallery; It is always enjoyable to re-look at Ibrahim Hussein’s venereal painting ‘Genting’, Joseph Tan’s flat rocks in “Memories of Dungun”, Anthony Lau’s upturned metal forks, and the wonderfully droll figures of Zulkifli Dahlan. Inclusion of the latter’s ‘Satu Hari di Bumi Larangan’ denotes an expanded interpretation of the exhibition theme, and extends legitimacy to Toccata Studio’s and Marisa Diyana Shahrir’s urban-themed black box installations nearby. Nevertheless, the unassuming centrepiece of this gallery space, belongs to the superb installation ‘13/∞: Sg. Gombak’ by Saharuddin Supar, which won the juror’s prize at the Bakat Muda Sezaman in 2000.

Installation and detail snapshots of Saharuddin Supar – 13/∞: Sg. Gombak (2000)

Investigating the pollution of water from its source to the urban centre, the artist documents his findings via an arrangement of maps, leaves, photographs, vials, and charts. The careful choice in the relative size of its exhibits, results in a tidy and easy-to-read experience (except for the small images that are stuck too high up on the wall). Looking at pieces of rock and encased liquids in an art gallery, I recall the typical exhibition that intends to highlight environmental concerns, that are cluttered with information; Saharuddin’s installation provides an outstanding example on how to do such installations in an effective manner. The cynical visitor may relate this work as drawing parallels to zero-sum corruption and politics, but I prefer to see it as a straightforward outlay of a research process.  

Fauzan Omar – Fire Gutted Landscape (2009/2010)

The stage is thus set for Bibi Chew’s cut-outs of state boundary lines and riverways, which offer an interactive yet meditative presentation about ground & habitat, and the state of the nation. Multi-faceted works by Lim Kok Yoong and Chris Chong Chan Fui lie in the background of this gallery filled with direct engagements, while technical showcases such as Fauzan Omar’s leaves on burnt plywood, and a lush forest acrylic painting by Johan Marjonid, dazzle visitors. Subsequent exhibits present equally impressive individual output – stunning ceramic bounded seeds by Mohamad Rizal Salleh, Krishna Murthi’s meditative two-channel video about silat practitioners, and the absorbing wall of monochromatic amorphous forms by Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi. These powerful works validate the relatively abstract paintings of Zheng Yuande and Rafiee Ghani, as being representative of the Belas Alam theme.

Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi – Solid Peel Spring Breathe (2017)

Tetriana’s ‘Solid Peel Spring Breathe’ consists of magnified “micro images of seeds, pollen, pistil or stamen from plants and flowers (…) arranged on layers of (semi transparent) industrial or construction related materials.” Her concise presentation contrasts with Atul Bhalla’s installation nearby, which utilizes a typical biennale presentation of filling one large space with objects. ‘To Dvaipayana/ Looking for Dvaipayana (“You always step into the same river”)’ employs an archival approach to depict a personal relationship between the artist (as cultural representative), his home city Delhi, and water. Near-headless portraits and photographs of a funerary procession are visually interesting, but by then I was jaded with the documentary approach in art presentation, which strikes one as superfluous when compared to the preceding single-work exhibits. 

Hamidi Hadi – Tanah, Air, Api, Angin (2016)

A sense of sublimity describes the final group of exhibits in this gallery. Hamidi Hadi’s resin blob and cracked paint, recalls a mid-afternoon observation of water spots on arid ground. Like historical relics, Chang Yoong Chia creates objects which aesthetic and utility functions, are transmuted into narratives and time-bound meaning-making. Behind a wall text inscribed with the words Nature is myth where death create life, lies Nur Hanim Khairuddin’s encased manuscript on a rehal. Exhibited sheets depict English and Jawi script describing illustrated Malay talismans and medicinal plants. Another version of this “Grimoire” series takes the form of an accordion-fold book, which “features colourful abstract drawings painted on copies of an old manuscript of Malay talismanic and medical arts…” Unfortunately, the contents were barely legible behind the Perspex screen. 

Detail snapshots of Nur Hanim Khairuddin – Grimoire II (1997)

Opposite it, a painting by Thai modernist Thawan Duchanee is given the Bahasa title ‘Tertawan Oleh Tuhan’, its ripping central figure posed in an anguish expression. Do medicinal containers contain a remedy for mental illness? I never figured out Shooshie Sulaiman’s seminal installation ‘Kedai Ubat Jenun’, hence it is always good to look at it some more. Galeri Tun Razak ranks as the second-best display on show at this KL Biennale, after Niranjan Rajah’s installation ‘The Gift of Knowledge’ at Piyadasa Gallery. The selection here features social collaborations, modern masterpieces, interactive zones, spectacular paintings, environmental awareness, multimedia installations, meditative portraits, absorbing works by international artists… If only more galleries in Balai were just as gratifying.

Installation and detail snapshots of Susyilawati Sulaiman – Kedai Ubat Jenun (1997)

10 April 2018

KL Biennale (VI): YouTube Vlogs

While KL Biennale organizers were lackadaisical in managing its website and social media platforms – the person responsible for reviewing (not posting) each post should be held accountable – the web content posted by the public presents more care. A hat tip to each of these YouTube channel users (perhaps offering also an insight into what the public is interested in):

‘KL Biennale at the National art gallery’ by BulanLifestyle, published on 12th December 2017

‘#JujueVlogs 🎥 KL Biennale 2017’ by Zulaika Shamin, published on 16th December 2017

‘KL BIENNALE 2017’ by Nur Izz Damia, published on 29th December 2017

‘KL Biennale 2017 || VLOG - 27/12/2017’ by anis sofea, published on 30th December 2017

‘KL #3 | KL Biennale 17'/18'’ by Liaaa, published on 17th January 2018

‘WeekendVlog: KL Biennale 2017’ by syahira rose, published on 22nd January 2018

‘KL Biennale 2018’ by Han Hanan, published on 2nd February 2018

‘KL Biennale’ by meelasia, published on 9th February 2018

06 April 2018

KL Biennale (V): Cerita BELAS (AHistoric) Stories of Love

When the inaugural KL Biennale’s theme "Belas/ Be Loved” was revealed, cynics deride it as fatuously sanguine and bereft of ideology, as compared to other international biennales. Curator Faizal Sidek remarks in an interview, “(m)ost biennales held around the world revolve around lofty themes that the normal man in the street wouldn’t be able to identify with. We wanted to be different (…) The concept originated from Professor Hasnul Jamal Saidon…” In late 2016, Hasnul (with the National Art Gallery) initiated an outreach program “gemaBELAS”, in which “Belas can contribute in exploring the healing potentials of creative practice.” How much of that noble intention carries over to this biennale is not clear, although Hasnul is in the selection committee. 

Installation snapshot of Siti Zainon Ismail – Rumah Waris Uwan (2013) and Kasih Bonda Kampung Paya Kami (2008/2015)

Single-word non-“lofty” biennale themes are not uncommon, as one looks across the Causeway. For its inaugural event in 2006, C.J.W.-L. Wee wrote that “(t)he challenging nature of the Singapore Biennale’s theme (“Belief”), at one level a seemingly universal and global topic, actually escapes the grasp of (secularist) transnational, postcolonial and contemporary cultural theory…” While I appreciate the intent to engage an imagined public, the organizer’s posturing that we are different is off-putting. This difference manifest in the first exhibit I encountered in this biennale – one red room with the silhouette of a cat framing its entrance. Not an animal lover, the story of a saved street cat told through murals and amateurish videos, left me bewildered of its inclusion into this landmark exhibition of contemporary art. 

Installation snapshots of Ahmad Sanuri Zulkefli – Merah (2017)

‘Merah’ is a segment from "Stories of Love”, a exhibition category that functions as an “entry point for the audience to experience and appreciate the stories about love…” These segments are typically collaborations with non-artists, and highlight acts of empathy. Some are staged poorly, like the room-sized Ismail Hashim tribute within Galeri 3B. Nonetheless, the results are rewarding when done right, an example being ‘A Row of Beautiful Smiles’ in Galeri 2B. The latter is a collection of household items and photographs, which documents livelihood at a Penan community. In the video ‘Thank You Mr. Tan’, a girl narrates the contributions by artist Tan Wei Kheng to her locale. The acknowledgement is heartfelt, and one assumes that Wei Kheng’s committed engagement contributes to his stunning painted portraits of indigenous people, environs, and objects.

Installation snapshots of ‘A Row of Beautiful Smiles’

Another enriching exhibit is ‘Kanou Moung Hilo Bawang’ (‘Let’s Go to The River’ in Dusun), which greets visitors into Galeri Tun Razak. The installation depicts “(t)he efforts to improve the condition of Sungai Moroli (that) were initiated by the late Jefferin Majangki. Known as the father of tagal, he introduced the tagal system to the Department of Fisheries in Sabah.” I learn that Tagal is a practice to stop fishing activities and promote marine biodiversity, which has since contributed to new eco-tourism activities along river streams in Ranau. Bubble-shaped depictions by Jerome Manjat, overlay a background of sinuous forms by Long Thien Shih, who facilitated the creation (together with Lai Chan Shiang) of two woodcut prints relating to this topic, together with the students and teachers from SMK Bandar Baru Sentul.

Snapshot of Tan Hui Koon speaking in front of: Jerome Manjat – Okon Nopo Itikou Isai Po’Di (Kalau Bukan Kita, Siapa Lagi) (2017); and Long Thien Shih – Water: The Source of Life (2017) [picture from klbiennale Instagram page, in post dated 10th November 2017]

This is the same school where “Gerakan Seni” happened, and one can imagine only positive exposure for schoolchildren, who worked with local artists to create visual entry points for meaningful initiatives. Curator Tan Hui Koon also maximized the installation for the subsequent exhibits that feature fish/water/rocks, resulting in a coherent display at the beginning of this gallery. While not all “Stories of Love” were presented successfully – and wall texts describing love and hope made me cringe – the collaboration with non-artists is a commendable effort. It is unfortunate that these segments do not strike me as obviously demarcated within exhibition spaces (I cannot recall whether “Cracks in the Wall” qualifies as a Cerita Belas, for example), which otherwise would help sceptics look harder beyond the potentially inane biennale theme. Gema Belas!

Installation snapshots of “Kanou Moung Hilo Bawang’”

“Cakap terus-terang je la ya. Sebab kita ni sakit! dan selalunya suka sgt 'cari penyakit' (termasuk yg tulis ni). Ya, sebab tahap kesihatan mental kita kritikal walaupun ramai taknak mengaku. Ada yg suka tunding pd org lain, atau hanya pandai komen, ulas, membahan, men'spin' dan viralkan kes2 mental tak sihat ni saja, selalunya dari satu sumber saja dan tanpa usul periksa. Masalah kesihatan mental menyerang semua org tanpa mengira label di dahi - budak2, org2 muda, tua, org seni, org sains, ahli2 politik, org2 yg mengaku alim, pemimpin, pendidik, pelajar universiti, dll. 
Kita semua amat perlu 'saling-menyembuh', sekarang, setiap sekarang. Belas itu menyembuh. Belasah itu membunuh. Ihsan dan memaafkan itu menyembuh. Jomla gemakan belas, bukan belasah. Moga kita semua sejahtera dlm dakapan kasih dan belas. Sentiasa osem, anda semua!”
Blog post addressing “Kenapa #gemabelas2017?” by Hasnul Jamal Saidon, dated 4th June 2017

Installation and detail snapshots of Shamsu Mohamad – Earth Story (2017)

02 April 2018

KL Biennale (IV): Belas Kerohanian

The cavernous Galeri 3A houses a collection of artworks, that purports to be an exhibition titled “Malaysian Geometric Abstracts, and a couple pieces that don’t fit into the other Biennale galleries”. Greeting the visitor is the magnificent acrylic painting ‘Semangat Ledang’ by Syed Ahmad Jamal, and the walls flanking it showcase equally colourful and solemn works dedicated to one’s religious beliefs. Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir’s “Mihrab” series features textured collages arranged in sublime compositions; Mohd Noor Mahmud’s creations are caked in layers of pigment-based colours. Along with large creations by Sulaiman Esa and Anuar Rashid, the collection of works in this area invokes a deep conviction that seeing is not knowing, but seeing does help in knowing. 

[l] Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir – Mihrab Nusantara (Tribute to Sharif Hussein) (2006); [r] Detail snapshots

From the spatial displacement between protruding pyramids in ‘Dinding’, to the woven gold textile patterns in ‘Mihrab III’, to the calculated distances between sunlight/peak/stars in Syed Ahmad’s painting, internalised space is preserved as the space where one encounters the Almighty. Amidst enjoying these displays, I notice a famous acrylic painting by Ismail Zain hanging in the same area, at which point one is compelled to ponder upon the rationale behind such arrangements. As stated in the wall text, ‘Ku Bunoh Cintaku’ is “aiming for artistic detachment” while its ornate patterns highlight “decorative sensibilities”. Is the curator intentionally conflating a Malay-Nusantara aesthetic, with expressions of the Islamic faith, despite the weak religious connotations in Ismail’s work? 

[l] Mohd Noor Mahmud – Dinding (2009–2011); [r] Detail snapshot

Subsequent exhibits fall into the general category of “geometric abstracts”. Saiful Razman’s sterile ode to Syed Ahmad, presents toilet paper and medical gauze in triangular and rectangular shapes. Optical illusions and gestural expressions fascinate the uninitiated, while Tan Tong’s sensual triptych ‘Yin Yang Symphony’ is hung far apart for reasons unknown. Tripping over a floor-to-ceiling batik painting by Fatimah Chik, the visitor then encounters a series of sparse and abstruse illustrations by Fuad Arif. Walking past some unattractive tondos, K. Thangarajoo’s paintings attract via its floating orbs, snake-like spirals, and well-spaced compositions. As the artist states in the wall text, these works “encourage viewers to appreciate the diversity of patterns and the underlying philosophies of abstract art…”

K. Thangarajoo – Atomic Dance (2017)

The walkthrough follows into a room-sized installation by Hayati Mokhtar. A blown-up text reproduction is plastered onto the feature wall, its contents about the Malayan Union taken from history textbooks. Monotonous photographs of schoolchildren, with disconnected speakers embedded within the photo frames, line the other two walls. The silence is deafening, as one wonders how this untitled work relates to the exhibition theme Belas Kerohanian (‘Be Loved Spirituality’), an observation applicable to many other exhibits. One’s expectation is tempered, after I read the wall statement: “(i)n interpreting art, we normally ignore spiritual values and scientific approaches.” In appreciating art, one should ignore the wall text, and enjoy the colours, shapes, and spatial projections, on show. 

Syed Ahmad Jamal – Semangat Ledang (1999)

29 March 2018

Snippets: Accelerated Intimacy @ Yeo Workshop, Singapore

The lack of electronic security, feels like an aberration, in this city-state. Having stayed in different hotel rooms for four consecutive nights, turning a door knob becomes an unfamiliar act, before stepping into another room with view(s). Spotlights illuminate a floor plan and dark azure walls, while the glow from five video projections irradiate acrylic constructs resembling furniture. Seductive neon colours disperse across the room, creating a mysterious enclosure that describes Sarah Choo Jing’s installation “Accelerated Intimacy”. Each video is 5:55 minutes long and runs simultaneously, where one first hears a line from The Godfather, then a violin composition (played by a boy in concert getup), and ends with a cacophony, then a synchronized door knock.

Installation snapshot

Listening in for a while, it becomes apparent that the dialogue is spliced from famous films. Quotes from Tootsie, Lost in Translation, The Conversation, Skyfall, Leon the Professional, Avatar, are interwoven with one-liners from Taxi Driver, Jaws, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, etc. In ‘Gerald’, a rotund man sits slouched in front of a flickering television, a black suit and a large trunk lying on the bed (are those pills on the bedside table?) The protagonist picks up the telephone and speaks in a soft, barely audible voice, declaiming screen dialogue from Dead Poet’s Society, In the Mood for Love, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, As Good as It Gets, monologues from Citizen Kane and Her, then rambling on with lines from Inception, Schindler’s List, Fury, Back to the Future, and Macbeth.

Snapshot from Accelerated Intimacy: Veronica Foo [picture from exhibition catalogue]

The audio hotchpotch draws attention, to the images portrayed. Besides ‘Gerald’ and boy-with-violin ‘Joshua’, the other characters consist of sexy ‘Brenda’ in shorts and stilettos, typical jeans-and-t-shirt dude ‘Matthew’, and the elegant ‘Veronica’ clad in laced dress standing in a luxurious bathtub. One pentagon-shaped window in ‘Veronica’ identifies the backdrop as The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore; Other room features contribute to stereotypical perceptions of each character. The artist relays in an interview her fascination with hotel rooms – “(t)he anonymity of strangers living next to each other, and that intimate moment of being in the same hotel and different rooms, and wondering about the narratives and the people you’re sharing the space with.”

Installation snapshot

This exhibition features a pop-up bar and a vinyl record player, yet I unexpectedly stumble upon Sarah on a Sunday afternoon, at the gallery counter. The artist recounted about her painting training, how she used watercolours to create a distinct atmosphere, and confirmed the use of emotive movie quotes in her videos. I passed on the thought, of asking the artist for a drink at the bar. My busy Chinese New Year schedule had displaced me sufficiently from the familiar, and I needed to return to my hotel room soon. From the static wide-angle perspective, to an active engaged view. From scripted dialogue, to colloquial language. From painted-over set pieces, to peeling and chipped furniture. From closed distance, to open proximity. From digital, to analogue.

Snapshot from Artist talk on 22 February 2018 at Pop Up Art x Whiskey Bar (with Louis Ho) [picture from astromelian Instagram page] 

As implied by its exhibition title, “Accelerated Intimacy” immerses the visitor into a virtual experience, yet the simulacra amplify questions about perception and reality. Is mystery invoked and perpetuated by oneself, worth deliberating upon? Will witnessing gestures and expressions, fill the hollowness of the onlooker? The hotel room becomes a container for experience; Are art galleries not the same? A generic enclosed space thrusts people in it, to seek for a familiar sense. Without shifting, the intimate is found, then lost when one moves again. Watching what is imagined, in a society watched by the imagined. As ‘Brenda’ quotes, with reference to The Prestige, “are you watching closely?”

Installation snapshot

25 March 2018

KL Biennale (III): Cracks in the Wall

Among art projects that memorialize the now-demolished Razak Mansion, both Dhavinder Singh’s “Recollēctus”, and the collaborative display “Framing the Common”, sustained my interest more than Leon Leong’s paintings. Dhavinder, who grew up in Razak Mansion, recorded visual fragments from his recollection via found objects and geometric forms, the scale and distance between things translating into intriguing collages. At the architects’ exhibition in Port Commune, the attention to build detail and living spaces, are drawn out and presented in a well-designed set up. While Leon’s works are not any less significant than the two collections of exhibits, his approach is elaborate yet contrived, where emotional response trumps thought-out expression.

Taukeh by Day, Undertaker by Night (2017) [link to artist's texts 'Mixed Rice Uncle']

Leon’s approach started with renting a place at Razak Mansion, six months before the scheduled demolition. The artist subsequently socialized with several inhabitants, then painted these individuals and their lived environs. Despite a realistic impression, most works are visually inert, the straightforward depictions seemingly rushed in its execution. Pictures with clearly portrayed faces – such as ‘Taukeh By Day, Undertaker By Night’ and ‘Aunt With Nephew and Niece’ – project empathy, yet one encounters too detachment in the blank eyes of ‘Boy Returned From Quran Study’. The emptiness is due to the artist’s use of perforated pegboards, which corroborates the installation’s title “Cracks in the Wall”, and draws attention to other exhibits in the same installation.

Boy Returned From Quran Study (2017)

“Revealing Naga” is a series of transferred images, from murals done onsite based on Leon’s perception of the brick structures, that functioned as brise soleil for the Razak Mansion apartments. Along with one block of debris, two video screens, and 21 charcoal sketches, the entire setup is exhibited in an open-top gallery with striking turquoise walls. Easily the most Instagram-friendly among KL Biennale exhibition spaces, I observed that visitors were preoccupied taking selfies, and ignoring the wall texts which introduced Razak Mansion and stated the artist’s intention. I noticed substantial engagements only on the third visit, where the addition of booklets with stories of the painted individuals, offered interested visitors a brief insight about the displays.

Installation snapshot of Revealing Naga series

‘The Departure’ was not up during my last visit, a painting mentioned in a March 2018 article, which supposedly is the final work included in “Cracks in the Wall”. This evolving exhibit contrasts starkly with the still-under-police-investigation “Under Construction”, showing/un-shown behind the wall. In addition, is it not ironic – that an art project memorializing demolished public housing, is displayed in the KL Biennale under the sub-theme Belas Warisan (‘Love for Heritage’)? That the artist, who recounts the “collaboration” with residents, is showing imagined dragon scales on paper parchments in golden frames? Perhaps, these are the cracks in the wall, that one should be looking at.

[l] Evening Routine Of A Bank Programmer (2017); [r] Detail