25 April 2014

Agresif, Naked Flower Does Not Talk

Malaysians are stuck in a state of limbo, as news that challenge nationalist definitions and moral crisis persist one year after the General Elections. This uncertainty manifests in our art. At Segaris, established artists employ familiar and tiresome approaches, seen in Kow Leong Kiang's selective blurring, and Ahmad Zakii Anwar's larger-than-life head. Wax-encased flags by Ahmad Shukri pay respect to missing plane(s), while Ramlan Abdullah's sketches are the only works befitting an exhibition titled "Naked Drawing". Attempts at contemporary innovation include veteran Tajuddin Ismail, who shows off expressive Franz Kline strokes, that pair well with dark-coloured blocks and printed objects. Jalaini Abu Hassan's protagonist 'Dollah Rimau' towers over cut-out tigers like cats in the compound, his turned back signifying an imagined menace. Intimate watercolours by Noor Mahnun are enchanting, but ultimately inconsequential.

Jalaini Abu Hassan - Dollah Rimau (2014)

Accompanying RA Fine Art's sculpture exhibition is an essay by Fuad Arif, whose writing discloses a solemn anxiety behind his train-of-thought composition. Displays of a metal rat and a cow skull, are diffident at best. Row, row, row your boat emits from a vintage portable television, its cartoon character presenting the alphabet with an adult twist. This pleasant surprise by Fadly Sabran packs contemporary concerns into a riveting sequence, as streams of consciousness are spelled out utilising flashing pictures and nostalgic visual cues. Hidden meanings in children's songs go unnoticed when one first learnt it; When one listens to a nursery rhyme that ends with Life is but a dream, harsh reality sets in. Such reverie is necessary, in a country where screening a documentary leads one to be charged in court.

Fadly Sabran - Neo Artifak – Indah Khabarovsk Dari Rupa (2014) [Installation view, snapshots of video]

Inside a serene gallery hung with 15 photographs of flowers in various stages of bloom, the everyday image of yellow flowers strewn along a road curb strikes me as poetic. Perhaps, just like Eric Peris' captures, there is nothing wrong that the cycle of life traps us all.
"Silently a flower blooms, in silence it falls away. Yet here, 
now, at this moment, at this place,
the whole of the flower, the whole of the world, is blooming."
- A Flower Does Not Talk, Zenkei Shibayama

Eric Peris - "Fallen flowers, Decorate the ground, Seeds, Job done" (2014)

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