Showing posts from May, 2016

Exploration x Expression @ PORT Commune

In a radio interview, Anahita Ghazanfari tells Syahbandi Samat that “…he needs to travel (…) watch, listen and read…”. Both artists-in-residence of the Sembilan program , the form of expression taken by each is distinctly different, and is a measure of the respective artist’s outlook of life. Self-taught Syahbandi draws faceless figures without his characteristic reference to fairy tales, the metaphorical symbols diluted by its self-serving seriousness. Despite the technical mastery displayed with ballpoint pen, all pictures point to inward-looking scenes and are unnecessarily emotionally-charged. Heavy metallic frames contribute to a dour visual experience. Syahbandi Samat – Yang Pernah (Duri Dalam Daging) (2016) Iranian-trained Anahita’s plants, rooms, and dresses, illustrate too an introspective moment, yet her presentation is more invigorating. ‘Harbouring Dreams #2’ depicts the artist standing with her paintings in a background of floral-patterned tiles, the water pip


Now that the ground floor galleries are fit for public display, “MAPPING” promises to be the most exciting initiative undertaken by the art institution in recent times. If all goes well, this progressively amalgamating two-year project will form the basis for a permanent exhibition of the national collection, a maiden achievement for the Balai Seni Lukis Negara. At Galeri Reka, “TANAH MELAYU: Pembentukan Dari Kolonisasi” offers an arbitrary start to local art history, with drawings and watercolours made in the 1880s by British colonial officers. Exploring village settlements via boat, explorers such as Frank Swettenham and George Giles successfully capture a historical landscape, during their terrain mapping efforts. William Samwell – Dyak Campong Kapan Landak River (1890) Timelines and wall texts make the walkthrough an enjoyable one, as careful illustrations of figures and cross-hatched landscapes, are paired with humorous vignettes about inside jokes and local encounters.

Words Become Art @ Wei-Ling Gallery

“道成了肉身,住在我们中间,满有恩典和真理。我们见过他的荣光,正是从父而来的独生子的荣光。” - John 1:14, Chinese New Version (simplified) “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” - Hebrews 11:3, English Standard Version Charity (1Co. 13:4-7) (2003-2015) Transforming verses from holy books into artworks is not new. Islamic calligraphy has a significant representation in Malaysian visual art history, while I recall Indonesian A.D. Pirous’ exhibition at Universiti Malaya last year that still evokes a spiritual resonance. What is new here is the individual artist reconciling his globalised artistic viewpoint, with an adopted religion adapted for a diasporic community. Sun Kang Jye picks out biblical passages from the Chinese translation, and imbues the verses with his sculpture-influenced inverted painting technique. Looking at embossed lines, charred marks, scraped-off paint, and colour fills, the emerging visual eff

Sembelit @ Lostgens'

 “The myriad of characters cramming his paintings are eating each other, smoking, running somewhere, shouting, puking; they drive sputtering motorcycle, Malaysian own Proton Sagas, lorries and buses…Teachers are throwing rubbish on their students’ heads; there are Japanese troops invading Malaysia on their bikes; there are British soldiers and British warplanes from the colonial era attacking heroes from Keh Soon’s childhood; there’s people dressed up as Superman and people with green skin, giant vaginas and porn actresses and actors transformed into everyday objects (…) Exploding heads and severed limbs, giant rabbits, men and women swimming or drowning in pools or at sea…” - Exhibition statement written by Fabrizio Gilardino, co-assisted by Rini Hashim, posted on Facebook event page  pigi mana (2015) As compared to fellow FINDARS artist Tey Beng Tze, Lim Keh Soon ’s illustrated output projects an incisiveness that warrant an impulsive yet sustained reaction. Straightfor

Snippets: Japan, April 2016

Still adjusting to the pace of travelling with a young child, I manage a visit to the Hyōgo Prefectural Museum of Art 兵庫県立美術館 during a trip to the three prefectures of the Keihanshin 京阪神. The Andō Tadao-designed building houses a permanent collection consisting of Japanese and Western artists, while the third floor features a retrospective showcase for the 19th century literati painter Tomioka Tessai 富岡鉄斎. In the lower galleries, paintings of desolate landscapes and large gestural abstractions, are hung near sculptures by Brancusi and Arp. Japanese painted screens and striking contemporary works are exhibited upstairs alongside Stella black drawings and Warhol silkscreen prints, which contribute to an overall eclectic presentation.  Nakanishi Masaru 中西勝 - Landscape with Pigs (1967) Impressionable exhibits include post-war paintings by Katayama Akihiro 片山昭弘, 1960s works by Nakanishi Masaru 中西勝 and Motonaga Sadamasa 元永定正, and a haunting ceramic sculpture titled ‘Devotions of