Showing posts from November, 2016

CROSSINGS: Pushing Boundaries @ Galeri Petronas

An exhibition about Malaysian artists who “work internationally” starts off on the wrong foot, by greeting each visitor with a world map overlaid with random historical events. This display, wall texts, and catalogue essay, are equally irrelevant, because the exhibition’s emphasis on pluralism in art practices, is an outmoded symptom of our contemporary situation. Granted, the corporate gallery has no new works from its collection to showcase, but it remains surprising how consistently incoherent are its curatorial efforts. So what if an artist has stayed overseas for a long duration – was it an extended travel time? Staying on for a residency? Migrated and changed nationalities? Where was the work itself produced? Does any of these matter? Ali 'Mabuha' Rahamad - Madusa #2 (1986) A number of artworks exhibit individual merits, but one is compelled to only talk about the 25 minutes spent watching Hayati Mokhtar’s and Dain Iskandar Said’s ‘Near Intervisible Lines’ (the

Dari Langit dan Bumi @ Wei-Ling Contemporary

Snapshot at "Dari Langit dan Bumi " The impulse of creation aligns not with the impulse of reception The refuge of mother nature Contradicts the human impulse to create Line, colour, and texture   Come from nature Yet, imbued with emotions   Come from experience The horizon is mistaken for a simple divide When the space between is a gulf of unimaginable proportion of unbounded memories, remembered or recalled The Almighty is the Sublime   no matter how small is a light particle that travels the Earth From sky to ground, eye to non-sense The presence  is an absence   in the abstract   of the moment Hamidi Hadi - Fragile (2016)

ARTAID 16 @ White Box

At a selling exhibition where proceeds are channelled to an aid organisation, this visitor cannot sidestep the cause which the charity represents. Subtitled ‘Love for Sale’, the event theme offers the interesting prospect for interpretations about social stigma and sexual attitudes, although that is admittedly too much to ask for in a group show. Artists’ neutral approach result in many exhibits with Love in its title, although only a few works can be forced-fit into the theme. Signature-style paintings by two established artists surprise with re-contextualized displays. Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s two-dimensional still-life of fruits and vegetables, suggest an irrepressible human desire; One hanging brassiere used by Chan Kok Hooi to mock a political party, now become a cynical commentary about sex for money, via ideograms painted over used denim. Chan Kok Hooi – Love Me in My LV (2016) Ambiguity is fine until the point it becomes obscure, e.g. Bibi Chew’s “Good Cells”. Animal as s

Era Mahathir @ ILHAM

Is it coincidence that the years which a Malaysian prime minister was in power (1981 – 2003), can be transcribed into an art exhibition? No doubt it is convenient, as organisers like utilising a fixed duration to fix the scope of a gallery exhibition . Since the guy is still regularly in the news, the free publicity is an added bonus, right? On the fifth floor, the visitor is greeted by comic panels that were first published on newsprint in the early 1980s, and a History Channel documentary produced in 2009. On the third floor (the fourth floor boys are absent from this building?), newly commissioned works include coffee-stained photographic collages, and recorded interviews which exhibited form (as a three-channel video installation) undermines its candid content. Is this exhibition capturing a zeitgeist, a legacy , or neither? Detail installation snapshots of Liew Kung Yu – Pasti Boleh (Sure Can One) (1997) The incoherence extends to the exhibits’ nonsensical arrangement,