20 February 2013

Infinite Canvas @ Wei-Ling Contemporary

I possess the strange trait of being able to remember feelings during an event in the past, where memories in the form of sight & sound, is less vivid than the memory of feelings experienced.  The fleeting moment rekindles the sensory recall - the message in one's eyes, the assured grip of a hand, the melancholic buzz of nightfall, the juicy flavours in a morsel, the whiff of acidic acridity.

My Father's Noodle Shop (2012)

Chin Kong Yee's "Infinite Canvas" captures the improbable vastness of a prolonged memory, a summation of repetitive exposure to a habitual landscape.  Objects converge on multi-dimensional planes depicted through a fisheye lens; Beings are collectively shown as they are remembered, some with clearly drawn facial features, others blurred or only the colour of their trousers are shown.  Through the distortion of visual reality, Kong Yee's works trigger, distract even, the viewer to recall the timeless in his paintings, evoking the nostalgic that transcends the forms & colours on the canvas.

Raining Day (2012)

If the objective of a heritage museum is to preserve the essence of a city, these paintings of 茨场街 and its surroundings should be kept in the museum of Kuala Lumpur's history.  Time waits for no one, as the buildings erected in Kapitan Yap Ah Loy's time, are now in a steady state of decay. Touts lead tourists into visiting KL's Chinatown, where less than 40% of its occupants are of Chinese descent.  However, Kong Yee's paintings stay above these undercurrents of lost heritage, only retaining the memory of a generic now - migrants wait in the shade as the rain pours, exhaust fumes choke pedestrians waiting to cross the road.

Jalan Cheng Loke / Kedai Kopi Li Fong (2012)

The artist's deeply personal work 'My Father's Noodle Shop' illustrates the interior of a Chinese kopitiam with its blue plastic chairs and alert waiters, a touching tribute to a deceased father.  Another kopitiam drawing 'Kedai Kopi Li Fong' made my mouth water, the awaiting smells of beef tripe soup as I (the viewer) am about to step into the shop.

Timeless (2012)

'Infinite Canvas' is a combination of the 'Jalan Tun HS Lee' drawings, preserving a memory of one walking in these parts of old KL.  The canvases are romanticised, from the beautifully rendered pastel-coloured pavement tiles, to the cerulean skies and gleaming golden bamboo blinds.  Roadside hawkers, pedestrians, and motorists, share the large panorama in a harmoniously non-crowded arrangement.  These drawings can be arranged in multiple permutations, hence the repetition of pictorial motives successfully creates its own infinity, a recollection of memories in a looping format.

Infinite Canvas (2012)

Inclusion of a few older drawings of the Petaling Street area by Kong Yee, complete this stunning exhibition.  From the earliest yellow houses to the awkward composition of 'Infinite', the  artistic progression is apparent, especially in the confident colouring of buildings, and the beautiful fisheye distortion of pedestrians and pavements.  In "Infinite Canvas", fleeting moments culminate into a nostalgic experience, where time stands still in the memory of the beholder.

Infinite (2003)

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