Showing posts from February, 2017

Of Unlearning and Relearning @ OUR ArtProjects

The introduction to this exhibition states, (i)n recent years, art has taken a back seat as (Wong) Hoy Cheong takes on a more active role in politics and policy-making. This may well be Hoy Cheong's final exhibition of never-before-seen paper-based works. For visitors who are familiar with Hoy Cheong's work, the exhibition can be seen as a mini-survey of his practice.” As the story goes, friends of the esteemed Malaysian artist came to the opening and asked, ‘ where are Hoy Cheong’s works ?’ For one who knows little about his oeuvre, this selling show of drawings and prints provides good insight into the artist’s methods. After a couple rounds of observation, I conclude that Hoy Cheong’s drawn line projects a strong sense of restlessness, which contradicts with the labour-intensive studies for installations also displayed in the gallery.  Exhibition snapshot Two-worded statements demarcate the exhibits nicely into time periods, starting with a landscape painting fro

Rags to Riches: A Story of Kuala Lumpur @ RUANG by Think City

I am intrigued with photography as an art medium. I am also intrigued by art that invokes deep realisations. Some say photography is not art. Some say art only needs to be beautiful. Formal, casual, smart-casual. There is an exhibition in KL now which contextualises one’s photographs as modernist, and not pictorialist. Another KL exhibition explores the stories of migrant workers, as interpreted via individual art approaches. The Kuala Lumpur I know is unfriendly yet dignified, crumbling yet melancholic, dirty yet orderly, ada Bandaraya tapi penghuninya orang se-kampung . Quoting John Berger, “(a)ll photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this – as in other ways – they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers.”  These beliefs, thoughts, and observations, come to a head on a second floor gallery of an old refurbished building near Masjid Jamek. The premise is simple – Kenny Loh displays a number of his photographs, accompanied

Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors, Jan 2017

John McDonald writes , “(e)ven by the absurdist standards of the Biennale circuit, An Atlas of Mirrors is a phrase guaranteed to confound audiences.” The visitor is greeted by a finger to the Singapore Art Museum, where one expects a typical mix of spectacle, crowd-pleasing visual effects, traditional motifs, and jargon-laden texts, accompanying works by notable Asian artists ( Caucasians are excluded?) Ignoring curatorial demarcations , I enjoy the wide range of mediums utilised on show, having come from a painting-saturated art scene. Like H.H. Lim standing atop a basketball, one threads a balance when appreciating works – between wow factor and conventional tropes, between folk tradition and cultural appropriation, between metaphorical mediation and rigid symbols; I stumble when the first work I see is made up of 100 square mirrors. This is as straightforward as it gets. Detail snapshot of work from Pala Pothupitiye – Other Map Series (2016) After being creeped out by

Snippets: Q4 2016

Some artists leave the audience bowled over with sheer technical skill, yet the work’s emotional impact is zero. Hasanul Isyraf Idris’ all-over illustrations belong in this category, where contextual terms such as ‘drawing’, ‘surreal’, and ‘pop’, have failed to register significance in my personal appreciation. Finally, I come across one work which strikes a chord, but I am unsure which observation holds the key in attracting my attention. Is it the unique logos that form the frame? Is it the fantastic waves that set the scene for a mythical narrative? Is it the blocks of ice and yellow jump suits that recall Bruce Lee in The Big Boss ? Is it a necessary violent depiction of bloodletting? Is it the familiar sight of an oil drilling derrick? Is it the caricature of a bubbly climax after oral sex? Is it the ogres, snakes, and faceless characters? Is it the layout of an archaeological excavation site? Is it… Detail snapshots of Hasanul Isyraf Idris – Krishna Tongue (2016) A mov

Art KL-itique 2016 Look Back

Blame it on the economic & political gloom, but 2016 feels like a dour year in visual art highlights. Nevertheless, there are moments to cherish by looking back at... In the city centre, “ MAPPING ” stands out as a significant step for the National Visual Arts Gallery in exhibiting its permanent collection. Only the 1970s iteration Transition was a disappointment, due to a lack of wall texts to justify its curated sections. Nevertheless, the opportunity for the committed visitor to learn about Malaysia’s visual art history, is an invaluable one. Despite my reservations about its incoherent curatorial approaches (and the politics of the exhibition spaces), Galeri Petronas’ “ YMA: New Object(ions) III ” and ILHAM’s “ Love Me in My Batik ” present a number of good artworks. One realization is that an exceptional painting can stand up well against more contemporary expressions, although Malaysian collectors’ preference for framed paintings with obvious brushstrokes remain a troub