27 November 2013

The Artist chi too Looks At Artworks As He Contemplates the State of the Nation's Institutions a.k.a. How Can You Be Sure @ Art Row

Barring 'Apologies to J. Anu', the 14 photographs exhibited pose a familiar reminder of an unpleasant August memory. Garbed in a Malaysian schoolgirl pinafore, chi too dresses himself in a symbol of racial demarcation, an identity crafted by Yee I-Lann in her recent installation at "Kedai Commemorate". That project was among the secondary exhibits in the embarrassing M50 programme, which the artist theatrically comments on via kawaii or contemplative poses. Consistent with his absurd-yet-intelligent output, the photo captures memorialising "the only event that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the country which unfortunately failed miserably" reveal rudimentary questions. Subtlety, quality, public awareness, and ultimately censorship of the artworks shown then, bring to light an uneven curatorial approach and lack of leadership by the National Visual Arts Gallery.

Apologies to Yee I-Lann (2013)

In 'Apologies to Samsudin Wahab', a great picture emerges that best sums up the artist's thoughts a.k.a. the exhibition title, as the aesthetic construct is preserved in the pursuit of political performance. Such observations of the local art ecosystem echo the broader situation of citizens' general displeasure towards the Malaysian government, as deference becomes ingrained further into our collective psyche. Camp but relevant, chi too's works remain sidelined in the same pop-up space along Publika's Art Row. Having visited a couple shows recently with the artist present, I realised that my reluctance to approach them stem from a deeply manifested insecurity. Neither from the industry, nor having any formal education, is personal passion sufficient to provide constructive criticism? Self-interrogation has been a long time coming, brought about by the sensitive works seen on chi too's portfolio. What is my longing? How can I be sure?

Apologies to Samsudin Wahab (2013)

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