Showing posts from August, 2016

August, or Month of the Hungry Ghost (of Painting)

After the customary festive lull, a profusion of art exhibitions are staged in Klang Valley within the month. The first show I saw was deserted on opening night. Beautiful watercolours by a Shanghai artist, including a superb rendition of a red flower which, looked more like a bombing run photographed from an overhead drone. Painting is supposedly the dominant mode in Malaysian visual art, yet there are none who paint like this. Am I overestimating Malaysian painters? Perhaps, as I glance through upcoming listings. There are fewer painters exhibiting than previously assumed. Gallery chatter include the diminishing sales to local collectors this year, unethical practices of gallerists and curators, and the curious endeavor of selling artworks to fund for a specific cause. I return a few weeks later to watch video documentation of migrant labourers wielding bicycle wheels dipped in paint. The many wheels moving onscreen remain a mesmerising visual… Hings Lim – Pusat Bandar Utara

Pixel GIFs by Shika Corona/ Shieko Reto

“I've been inspired by pixel art and 80s B-grade sci-fi movies during the 80s and during college times in the 80s, playing my housemates computer games like the Lucas Art's 'Full Throttle', 'Day of Tentacle', 'Sam&Max hit the road', 'Street Fighter2', 'Raiden', '1942', 'Prince of Persia' etc, etc, and some other classics pixel games totally inspired me further”, remarks Shika Corona/ Shieko Reto in a blog posting one month ago. The artist has since gone on a roll to post her pixel GIF creations, starting with signature motifs such as the unicorn and the polar bear, to film noir scenes, to superb “DUSH!” and “ TEBABO! ” animated sequences. Miss Shika’s use of pixel GIFs is a wonderful extension to her art repertoire, which complements a vivid and incisive style; it is also an especially relevant medium to comment on current issues. A religious officer bursts into a transgender beauty pageant, only to be award

Convergence of Souls @ Black Box

With ongoing shows of modern/ postmodern Malaysian art presented in other parts of town, Fergana Art’s annual showcase is an impressive collection of works from generations past, also serving as a private sales exhibition targeted at institutions. Syed Ahmad Jamal rightfully headlines this collection – Puncak Purnama controversy or not – with the magnificent painting ‘Sidang Roh’. A dark purple background swirls and envelops the artist’s characteristic twin peaks, where a stream of arching white light touches one green pyramid. Overlapping paint layers represent metaphysical planes, and evokes a spiritual realisation. Interpreted together with Kassim Ahmad’s stirring poem, the painting offers a contained reaction to the brash prose. Syed Ahmad Jamal – Sidang Roh (1970) “…kalau kau percaya kepada manusia sejahtera jangan kau bergembira mengikut hidup/ (karena kemenangan) kalau kau percaya kepada manusia bebas jangan kau berkata mengikut hukum/ (kerena taatsetia) k

Bukan Objek Seni @ Galeri Chandan

‘Apa Yang Kamu Lihat Semasa Ke Pameran?’ ‘Sold Out!!!’ ‘Merakyatkan Seni Dengan Membawa Seni Ke Masyarakat’. ‘Tajuk apa ya nak tulis? UNTITLED aje laaaaa…’ ‘I Create Retinal Art’. ‘Seniman Adalah Seorang Pemikir Bukan Sekadar Tukang Buat Lukisan Cantik…’ These statements are among many printed on title cards, and displayed in a cluster (shape of an Arabic alphabet?), by Amir Amin. Complete with medium description and price tag, the artist points out the significance of a title card, in-forming an artwork’s (and its creator’s) identity. One’s imagination easily runs wild, when informed that a work titled ‘MALAYSIA OH MALAYSIAKU’ is made from “fibre glass, epoxy resin, fabrics & oil paint on MDF board”. Many other titles simply refer to questions about conceptual art.  Installation and detail snapshots of Amir Amin – I Thought the Definition if a Good Artist Is... (2016) Multiple mentions of a “J.A.W.I.” series make reference to the expected mode of being a Malay artist, i.

Fragile @ The Edge Galerie

During my visit, an elderly Caucasian couple strolls from one Umibaizurah Mahir artwork to another, admiring and discussing each piece with the gallery attendant. Ten roughly A3-sized black & white reproductions of classical European paintings, hang high on the rough brick wall, where one can barely see it under glaring spotlights. Another series of wall hangings project a collection of mini ceramic townhouses on oblong plates, recalling a stroll along the river of a Dutch countryside. Black crows that resemble the Eames House Bird perch upon larger sculptures, which are placed upon roman pedestals and dark-coloured plinths. Among the sculpted figures are a pair of sacrificial lambs, queen chess pieces, and a flying elephant. This is an art exhibition targeted at a European audience, or what its aesthetic values inform this visitor. Installation snapshots of The Giver (2015–2016) [foreground]; 2 of 4 pieces for Share Location (2016) [background] In a recent interview, Um