Art KL-itique 2013 Look Back

Following in the tradition of my favourite non-authoritative end of year awards, the 2013 visual art events in Kuala Lumpur that tickled my fancy are…

Favourite solo exhibition: Infinite Canvas, Chin Kong Yee; An obsession to craft visual texture and socio-political narratives is evident in Fauzulyusri’s Coreng and Chang Yoong Chia’s Immortal Beloved, but Kong Yee’s realistic wrap-around vision of Petaling Street and its surrounds, resonated deeply with my growing nostalgia for those places.

Favourite group exhibition: Midterm @ Shalini Ganendra FA; Moving between artworks from 5 non-painter artists was refreshing, where walls hung with Eiffel Chong photographs,  Bibi Chew woodcuts, and A4-sized works on paper by Kim Ng, prove extremely captivating. Jostling for attention are Wei-Ling Contemporary’s narcissistic show and Galeri Chandan’s travelling exhibition, both which contain high quality works by established artists.

Favourite not-so-old exhibition: Tin Mine Landscapes, Eric Peris; The three Hamidi Hadis hung in September led to considerable amounts of reflection, but more significant was the digital reprint of an iconic series of photographic captures, presenting a vivid display where history and place combined into a successful aesthetic.

Wall of Kim Ng's works on paper at Midterm

Favourite its-quite-old exhibition: Favourites from the Zain Azahari Collection; Large wonderful works complemented with inspiring essays generated a load of hope and good will. Amidst poor curating efforts at NVAG, superb series of individual artworks by Latiff Mohidin and Huang Yao, effectively engaged the audience in their respective retrospectives.

Favourite auction preview: Henry Butcher's Malaysian & Southeast Asian Art (3 Nov 2013); Being partial to Hamir Soib’s ‘The Board Game’, this sale also featured Nadiah Bamadhaj, Ahmad Fuad Osman, and a stunning well-preserved piece of handmade paper by Chew Teng Beng.

Favourite use of exhibition space: Barricade @ White Box; Chong Kim Chiew’s papier-mâché wall dominates, while a round ping-pong table and a narrow alley of Yee I-Lann’s paper plates remain memorable. Neighbouring spaces Black Box and Art Row were put to good use by the organisers of Media/Art Kitchen, while special mention goes to The Other Malaysia exhibited across three Bangkung Row restaurants.

Snapshot at Barricade

Favourite Something New: Diary of Madline 驰线手记, Eddie Choo Wen Yi; A raw exhibition with surrealist thought as a starting point, captured the invisible influence of a mechanised modernity. Also enchanting were the expressionist drawings and ornate sculptures by illustrator Shahril Nizam, whose show was organised by former Valentine Willie FA managers whom figure to be a significant art player in coming years.

Biggest regret: 24 Oct 2013; Missed two shows close to each other which I could have attended in a single evening – Tan Chin Kuan's A Family of Artists and Moelyono’s Have a nice dream's Lok Ann 乐安,祝你有个美梦. Lack of publicity kept the former exhibition hidden from my events calendar; Ruing the missed latter opportunity, was the chance to view a live performance art event and perhaps meet Wong Hoy Cheong in person.

Favourite trend: Jalaini Abu Hassan’s use of patterned fabric in his evolving series of social realism paintings; Localised prints serve as a cultural anchor and counterpoint to Jai’s typically provocative portraits, where this approach is already being copied by UiTM students. Another welcome sight was the architectural drawings featured at Kedai Bikin, an unintentionally progressive attempt to exhibit one aesthetic type already popular at international art events.

Eddie Choo - 08072013 Monday Morning: Jalan Panggong - Home (One Way)
P/S: After work in mid night. Drive like zombie.
Traffic: Getting more cars in 7am at KL. Puchong traffic is smooth.
Speed: Slow in KL. Speeding once into Puchong.