05 March 2014

Jumping Jack Flash @ Morne Art Gallery

U-Wei Hj Saari continues to exhibit his collection graciously, this show featuring only sculptural and installation works. Highlights include two excellent constructs by Tengku Sabri Tengku Ibrahim, first exhibited at "Wayang U-Wei Angkat Saksi" in 2011. ‘Serunai Mentakab’ salutes the film director’s contributions to his hometown, the enlarged and floating Malay instrument made out of five cans of Buai Laju-laju filmstrips. For ‘Kerusi Panggung', two seats from an old-school theatre are wrapped in wire and netting, its elevated platform further binding the nostalgia within. This work proves more evocative than Royston Tan's dancing tribute to Singapore's Capitol, its folding seat and greyish cushion still visually intact, invoking personal memories at theatres like State and Sentosa. Whimsical and out of place, Azli Wahid carves shoes into rock, a clever exploration of everyday items and its historical context.

Tengku Sabri Tengku Ibrahim - Kerusi Panggung (2009)

Also utilising salvaged materials to record history is Nuriman Amri Abdul Manap, whose enthralling sculptures always allow for multiple interpretations. Gigantic and bulky, a briefcase made out of scrap metal from the former National Art Gallery building, can refer to the institution's current stuffy bureaucracy which departs from its former interpretation. 'Bila Paku Akupun Berdiri' supposedly depicts a pain experienced by an ill family member, yet its presentation also successfully comments on an action/reaction dilemma. Fadzil Idris' wall hanging resembles a radiator heater submerged in earth then affixed with a wooden beam, a curious dissection of a Malay idiom by the art director of U-Wei's films. Other visual treats include three imposing metal figures by Raja Shahriman, and a steel totem by Zulkifli Yusoff bearing his signature style of figurative drawing.

Nuriman Amri Abdul Manap - Bila Paku Akupun Berdiri (2006)

This show presents a fantastic opportunity to appreciate works by artists whom feature in the local art history canon, such as Ruzaika Omar Basaree and Zakaria Awang. Another pleasant surprise was appreciating 'Dipulaukan', an installation of a classroom scene with glowing islands outfitted atop tables. Wong Hoy Cheong questions school politics and the local education syllabus, along with its role in/forming geographical distinctions and national identities. For 'Tanggung', Hasnul J Saidon submerges a resin creation of a lady's torso into an oil drum. The meditative presentation veils a biting critique of Western presumptions about Muslim women, where cultural attacks is just another weapon in the global war over limited energy resources. "Jumping Jack Flash" exhibits a delightful mix, from film tributes to binary constructs, exalted warriors to sociopolitical commentaries. It's a gas! Gas! Gas!

Installation views of Wong Hoy Cheong - Dipulaukan (1998)

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