Showing posts from March, 2017

Unveiling The Unseen (1937 – 1971) @ Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Pictorialist or Modernist? An irreverent argument, as what we see is contemporary history. Raja Ihsan Shah unpacks and exhibits more material from the archives containing Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah’s photographic negatives and slides. On display are 58 well-composed pictures of Terengganu and other places around the world, many of which look like it was taken from an upstairs hotel room. Wall statements clarify photographic techniques utilized, including four hand-coloured photographs attributed to the zokinkage technique. One curious example titled ‘Broken gate and bicycle, Singapore’ depicts the subject matter with a blue sky background, yet Raja Ihsan revealed in a talk that the cloud was actually painted on, and not part of the original black & white photo.  Port Swettenham, Klang, Selangor (1957) Images with local context are invariably more interesting to the local visitor, such as the beautiful reflections in ‘Morning. Taiping Lake Garden, Perak’, and people a

Bakat Muda Sezaman 2016 @ NVAG

Despite lowered expectations, I remain perturbed by the disappointment felt each time, when viewing works by relatively young Malaysian artists. Typically, the lacklustre quality can be attributed to three values in judgement: aesthetically not attractive enough (visual cues are derivative), conceptually weak (what can I learn more about this condition being highlighted via art?), and/or poor execution (a good idea is not enough). Walking past grotesque creations, bizarre contraptions, and a trapped Ultraman, one notices only three paintings on show. The increase of competition submissions utilising non-traditional mediums is encouraging on paper, although the final output leaves much to be desired. Technology is utilized to encourage audience interaction; However, a number of animated videos fail miserably with its amateurish presentations.  Installation snapshot of Helmi Azam Tajul Aris – Kepada Sesiapa Yang Berkenaan (2017) Whenever encountering an artwork that hints at M