10 October 2013

Young Malaysian Artists: New Object(ion) II @ Galeri Petronas

New Media is repeated across the curatorial statements, which one will do well to ignore terminology and focus on the many interesting works instead. Astrological diagrams and over-saturated pictures attract visitors to monitor screens, yet the most whimsical show on television belongs to Izat Arif. 'Rahsia Menjadi Kurator yang Mengyakinkan' displays a clever video that follows the inquiry where "curating follows art" - its picture, voice-over, and subtitles each projecting a different message. The end result questions phenomenology and its relation to art, less so about curating as an activity. Such intent is however evident in Shahariah Roshdi's room full of bric-a-brac, a presentation less cluttered but also less attractive, than the magnificent graduation project last exhibited at Segaris. The aesthetic of science bridges being and enlightenment, at least in one's individual pursuit.

Louise Low - Fatal Attraction (2013)

Personal demons are exorcised in Shaliza Juanna's 'Monsters in My Closet', where stuffed animals and home interiors recall the shock art of Mike Kelley. Ominous at first sight, Gan Tee Sheng places a large ball of hair on a single-sized bed, locks scattered across the ground. Its surreal projection consistent with the artist's output, there remains the curious question of hair's purpose as a human organ. Occasionally lovely on a woman's head, hair transcends time and corporeal decay, its enduring quality perhaps making it repulsive to view when detached from the human body. Bedroom worries are forgotten after one looks past pink wax warriors, at a floating shark made of colourful brassieres. Attractive and multi-layered, Louise Low presents fatalism in all its connotations - the independent but overexposed woman, the carnivorous but diminishing animal, the invigorating but elastic notion of the feminist

Chong Kim Chiew - Here is His, Here is Yours, Here is Mine. There is His, There is Yours, There is Mine (2013) [Selections stuck on gallery surfaces]

The ambitious and most rewarding work in this exhibition belongs to Tang Yeok Khang, who hangs a steel construct over a gravel pile. Better known for his melancholic paintings, the artist moves on from the fun 'Are You Ready?' installation, to an incisive socio-political commentary post General Elections. A human form is suspended over stagnant water, its drainage blocked by a twisted tube while a larger pipe opening lays bare nearby. Enclosed within a lantern frame are pointed steel joint with bearings and marbles, its literal reference as powerful as the aesthetic contribution. Giving away its interpretation via the title, hope springs alive in the form of budding seeds, nurtured from a bed of moisture-absorbing cotton. Sincere and well-executed, plaudits must be given to Galeri Petronas for staging installation art and promoting budding talent. Allowing visitors to photograph these artworks is also a progressive step towards cultivating public interest.

Tang Yeok Khang - The Balancing Game 2013 (2013); Close-up of budding seeds; Twisted tube

Dominating the gallery space is Chong Kim Chiew's forte, where his ability here to discreetly do so, singles the artist out as a unifying element in this show. Stickers of electrical switches, door handles, peeling cracks, and even drain covers dot the gallery's surface area, denoting not only a transformative art space, but the breakdown of conventions as expounded by the curatorial theme. Hanging at the exit is a light-hearted recreation of a 7-11 store front, renamed The Art Factory by Haris Abadi. A product of modernity that fulfils needs and wants, the appropriation exaggerates the world of possibilities existing in art. Implied conversely, only selected items that fulfil market demand are available at the convenience store / art factory. This intelligent subversion celebrates artists whom bravely object conventional attitudes towards art, a great rallying call that rounds up this superb feature of Malaysia's next generation.

Haris Abadi - The Factory (2013)

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