Showing posts from September, 2015

Totem @ Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur

“Clothing, in (Gaëtan Gatian de) Clérambault’s world, is considered a costume in the sense of a disguise, much in the same way as in folk traditions. (Diana Lui) transcends that exotic aspect staged by Clérambault. She spins around the codes and archetypes traditionally associated with such clothing by enhancing their symbolic value in a very lucid manner. This time, the photographer’s models, far from being instrumentalised, are given the full liberty to express their own story and their own interpretation of history in evolution through the traditional clothing they choose to wear.” - Anne Biroleau-Lemagny, Curator in Photography Department at Bibliothèque Nationale de France Totem #10 (2015) Strolling around a spacious bungalow, one is drawn deeply to the exacting details in photographic portraits of women donned in ritual costume. In her insightful essay, Laura Fan describes the exhibited captures perfectly, “Diana Lui’s photographs of each subject strike an unusual ba

Haremeyn @ NVAG

What makes a holy site, holy? Looking at digital prints of 130-years old photographs taken at Makka al-Mukarrama and al-Madina al-Munawwara, it is difficult to reach a visual conclusion. As described in the catalogue preface , these two locations “…are specifically safeguarded by the Islamic jurisprudence and considered to be “harem” and are called “Haramayn” or “haremân” meaning two sacred territories.” Curiously exhibited at the National Visual Arts Gallery and not at the more prestigious Islamic Arts Museum, these historical captures are taken from the collection of Ömer Fahrettin Türkkan, an Ottoman commander and former governor of Madina. Astonishingly modern and beautifully shot, curator Mohamad Majidi Amir rightfully states, that “…a range of photographic techniques were seemingly used in an effective and scrupulous manner.” Plan of Masjid Quba An incredible panorama of Makka greets the visitor, where a mountainous terrain surrounds a city with a grand square, the maje

馳續徑行 Madline 2.0 @ Lostgens'

The journey continues for Eddie Choo Wen Yi , now studying at Taipei National University of the Arts, as she records the island round trip 环岛 utilising her “Madline” apparatus on a motorcycle. Long haul rides result in oval-shaped doodles, while coloured inks mark in-town travel. Looking at the wall tracing of Formosa island and round shapes in the exhibited works, circular references denote a starting point that ends at the same spot. A trolley with the artist’s apparatus allows visitors to make their own mad lines on postcards, an enjoyable activity for one unable to draw a straight line. This contrivance is like an art-making pedometer, and exposes the banal nature of gestural expressionism, a popular mode in Malaysian paintings.  Installation snapshot Furthering the Automatism concept is a cardboard box affixed with the recording compass, which Eddie handheld from Taoyuan airport, back to her home in Puchong. Accompanying this box is a stop motion video which documents

The Flower @ Wei-Ling Gallery

What perhaps started out as a casual experiment, has evolved into something thoroughly engrossing. The fisheye lens effect is an obvious characteristic in Chin Kong Yee’s paintings, and its curvilinear lines inform human experience beyond the typical panorama. To the modern eye more accustomed at interpreting two-dimensional pictures than a real-time urban environment, a standard wide-angled capture is visually pleasing only because the horizontal plane is flat. Resigning ourselves to the static nature of a camera snapshot, the panoramic view captures more data but also less information. Changes in light and movement are typical painterly issues with depicting live sceneries, and the artist has settled into his solution by utilising the fisheye lens perspective. Duomo Florence (2012) Modern life demands a focus on foreground objects over background subjects, thus the vanishing point in Kong Yee’s paintings can be disconcerting initially, where the eye is drawn to the furthest

Logging In 記錄·登入 @ Nando’s LOT 123

Eight young artists register semantic interpretations of the domain , where visitors are guided upstairs a fast food restaurant via stickers, into a gallery space with three metal constructs. De Ming Wei’s enlarged ideograms probably looked better on a computer screen, as other less successful visual expressions include documentations of people traversing within Singapore MRT stations, and a bizarre container of test tubes with a dangling 10 ringgit note inside. Strong emotional attachments either make or break an artwork, Krystie Ng’s hand-sewn “Love and Hurt” series having displayed both sides of the spectrum, albeit the exhibited ones here are less alluring.  Installation view of “Logging In” Yau Sir Meng continues to take apart her favourite topic – the Malaysian education system – as an endurance performance, the repetitive write-and-erase actions turning personal reflections into a nihilistic act. An opposing approach is Chua Hui Ming’s ‘Fun’, two tables with iron powd

Facets of Art Show Platforms

Gallery hopping in the Mont Kiara / Solaris area on a weekend afternoon, it is interesting to note the differing approaches of private galleries at this upmarket locale, in the absence of memorable art. Isolated destinations are the norm, and public walk-ins are rare. An exception is “Facets” showing works from an all-women collective at White Box. Lisa Foo’s leafy installations are typically great to interact with, but ill-suited in a white box environment, although ‘Grooving with the Wind’ is a charming welcome sight. Multi-media creations by Jasmine Kok feature sinuous lines and attractive colours, her best works being stone and ceramic sculptures that recall a primitive celebration of the female form. In a society eager to proclaim man as god, this contested shape is beautifully represented in the V-shaped “Sensuality Dress” series, and ‘A Cut’ cut from Ipoh marble. Jasmine Kok - [l] A Cut (2009); [r] Sprout (2010) In the exhibited paintings, nude figures dissolve into