19 February 2014

A La Carte @ Maison Francaise

Appreciating artworks by Noor Azizan Rahman Paiman across two floors, the smell of warm bread complements the visual appetite being sated. An unofficial retrospective spanning twenty years, these colourful collection provides a decent representation of Paiman's output on paper and canvas. Studies for the 1994 "Pursuing a Dream" installation display intricate drawings, yet the torn canvas indicates a subversive intent, which eventually unveils itself in the blue flying bird seen in 'Insect Man'. As Rachel Jena observes, "...these imaginary beings have featured heavily in the artist’s oeuvre since..." Such flying creatures are present as Malaysian parliament members in 'Wakil Pilihan Rakyat!', the printed quotes augmenting pictures with biting and incisive political commentaries. A similar approach pervades the 2005-2007 "AP" series, where shiny paper is used as a reflective device within the small works. 

From the "Issue Now and Then" series (1997): Social Escort [left]; Indonesian Worker [right] 

Shadows cast a dim light in 'School Girl' and 'Social Escort' - these two drawings belonging to the "Issue Now and Then" series, which features also a tiresome judge and foreign construction workers. Surprisingly relevant even today, the 1997 series employs interesting horizon lines that lend immediacy to the illustrations. Such clever demarcations are seen in Paiman's recent body of work. Stencilled blue alphabets and painted green form a beautiful background in 'Dasar Pendidikan Negara', whose stern teacher wearing a ridiculous shower cap appears ostracised. A collective of short figures in jail clothes surround the 'Dayang Sulu', which wordplay and composition singles it out as one of the best works on show. Timeless is a strange description for Paiman's works, yet the self proclaimed backdated reporter's brand of dark humour and social satire, is an irresistibly attractive relief from the farce known as Malaysian politics. 

Dayang Sulu (2014)

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