Showing posts from October, 2014

Art in the Park 2014 @ Perdana Botanical Gardens

While still tackling issues like flash floods and homeless persons, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall demonstrates a recent progressive streak having initiated car-free Sunday mornings and supported the development of a KL bicycle map, then now endorsing a public art event at the former Taman Tasik Perdana. The inaugural Art in the Park festival’s detached objectives include “…to create a new cultural experience (…) and highlight Kuala Lumpur as Asia’s green capital and creative city”. Driving past the ASEAN Sculpture Garden amidst heavy traffic, and braving the drizzle after a hazy afternoon, the serene lake and its surrounding greenery prove immensely refreshing upon my visit. Approaching the park’s beautiful new canopy , aesthetic calm is interrupted by one 25-foot tall tower, and crushed tin cans littered on the grass beside it. Installation view of Tey Beng Tze (FINDARS) - Rat in the Park (2014) The former structure by Multhalib Musa stands as a symbol of solidarity with Pale

12 Years of Visual Disobedience @ Five Arts Centre

Entering the space, an OBEY Giant morphed into the prime minister’s likeness is glanced out of the corner of one’s eyes, outlining Fahmi Reza’s approach and a great teaser to this survey of political posters. Fahmi’s “learn-it-yourself” attitude is detailed in conversation excerpts documented by Mark Teh, where remarks such as “(a) lot of the time I spend on the work is actually research”, and “…my inspiration comes from punk music – recorded in one take”, provide insight into his ways of working. The lack of preparatory sketches is also influenced by the powerful aesthetic, of prints produced by the Atelier Populaire during the 1968 student protests in Paris. Shown under the “Early Experiments” banner is a tutup mulut poster that draws from these references. Black & white illustrations compiled into booklets prove to be great reads, where incisive messages are presented in its most direct form. Snapshots of posters in booklets from "Early Experiments" section

Dulu Kini @ Curate

Henry Butcher moves quickly to secure itself as the pioneer in Malaysian art auctioneering – establishing its own gallery space, championing collecting, and coordinating private sales. Introducing new desirables is imperative in the small local market, which the auction house has done recently by promoting contemporary Malaysian art, well-kept Chinese porcelain and Malay weapons, and now Indonesian art . Exhibited here are pastoral scenes from the modern era – Sudjono Abdullah’s red leaves and Koempoel Sujatno’s busy waterways are easily recognizable, while Balinese landscapes draw a yawn. Two works by Lucien Frits Ohl present skilful painting from a European tradition; Sudjana Kerton’s ‘Fish and Cat’ denotes its influence towards Indonesian artists. Djoko Pekik - Buruh (1998) Basoeki Abdullah’s ‘Gadis’ proves his unparalleled mastery at portraiture, while Djoko Pekik marks a turning point with the socially-conscientious ‘Buruh’, three distorted miners occupying a background

Balam @ Wei-Ling Contemporary

Hamidi Hadi’s previous solo exhibition ignited my interest in the Malaysian visual arts, and each of his subsequent shows figure to be points for self-reflection. The magnificent ‘Garden of Eden’ draws the visitor into a visual feast, although some refined works on display fall into the decorative art category. The sublime is an essential objective in Hamidi’s works, which he achieves via an active process of experimentation and evaluation. If “Alun” was about depicting nature, and “Antara” illustrated relative space, “Balam” records the act of observation from a detached lens. Two ‘Monolog’ pieces feature plain backgrounds with a geometric pattern, covered in coloured droplets and resin. These minimalist works disengage lively emotions, as if one staring at a floor of white tiles, which differ from the equally plain but politically-charged ‘Renungan I’. Garden of Eden (2014) Disencumbering himself from the paintbrush, Hamidi  physically manipulates industrial paints to crea

The City. Becoming and Decaying @ Galeri Petronas

The Goethe-Institut Malaysia continues with its great 2014 program by exhibiting city-themed pictures taken by photographers from the German agency OSTKREUZ . In a time where more people live in cities than in the countryside, this topic is a very relevant one to explore, especially since a burgeoning population is the critical factor that drives human endeavours worldwide. Wall texts describe individual experiences, while faraway places project exotic scenes that immediately attract the public visitor. Despite the different approaches employed, each photographer manages to capture a certain characteristic of cities, which yields deep reflections when the entire exhibition is viewed as a whole. Shown in the gallery at the same time are overestimated artworks for a charity auction, the luxury products jarringly incongruous with these pictures of reality. Jörg Brüggemann - [Mas Austral] Young couple on Calle San Martin, Ushuaia, Argentina (2009) Isolated towers populate the s

Snippets: Q3 2014

As described in the exhibition catalogue, " Crying with Trees attempts to move beyond the confinement of introspection and examine external issues with sights way beyond the realm of human culture." Large landscape paintings make perfect wall hangings in big homes, as Chong Siew Ying's solo exhibition sold out by its opening, no doubt supported by a loyal friend/fan base. The story of one determined rural Hakka woman artist is oft-touted to capture the imagination of the privileged, sometimes masking her alluring use of acrylic emulsion to create a Chinese ink effect. Invoking nostalgia at its best, Siew Ying’s monochrome works unfortunately feel flat when exhibited on white walls with a reflective floor. One external issue the struggling gallery should consider examining , among others. Chong Siew Ying - La Nostalgie (2013) Curator-turned-artist Brian Robinson exhibits his printmaking output at Shalini Ganendra's, which sees stylised motifs derived from