Showing posts from December, 2017

Snippets: Q4 2017

Organized by the artist’s family, a collection of 100+ sketches and paintings by Chia Yu Chian are cramped into a first-floor room at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Among figure studies, still life oil paintings, city scenes, and commissioned works tagged onto billboards in the narrow aisles, the quality on show is mixed. For every derivative impression, there is a delightful element, be it a forceful figurative gesture or a swirling impasto. His son reveals , “(e)ven during the times he was admitted to hospital, he would go around and sketch scenes of life in the hospital…” These paintings are incidentally the best works on show, as Yu Chian documents moments of human empathy and humdrum companionship. The older accompanying sketch indicates his strong composition skills, while suggesting also the artist’s painting method and its prominent use of outlines. Chia Yu Chian – Attended to the Patient [left sketch 1977; right oil painting 1980] Malaysian Art

December 2017: R&G Body Template in A Room

The human body, is the focus of three exhibitions held in the same month, at three independent art spaces. Organized by The F Klub, “Figure in the Room” at HOM Art Trans features a younger line-up of figurative painters, whose tiresome works flaunt individual styles and offer little unique perspectives in depicting/viewing the figure. The collective’s original members, however, do better – Shia Yih Yiing’s literal play on figure-ground relationship draws this viewer to note the size differences in perceived body parts, while one lounging body illustrated by Kow Leong Kiang resembles a copper sculpture in colour tone, yet its figure is soften by the brushy oil paint of the bed sheets. How many of these realistic figures , were depicted based on photographic portraits? Shia Yih Yiing - Good afternoon! (2017) At Minut Init Art Social, life drawing is the starting point for the exhibits at “The Enactivist Body Template” . Nudity prevails, but most depictions of the human figure

Dash @ Five Arts Centre, 22 September 2017

With beads of sweat covering his forehead roughly two-thirds into his 55-minutes performance, Ho Rui An’s voice starts to quiver. Despite taking sips of water throughout his narration, sitting in front of a projector screen underneath bright lights, is obviously an onerous act. Signs of physical toll provide the finishing touch to a coruscating account that started with a car crash, then zooming past topics such as the rich foreigner, moving at speed, horizon scanning, the Kobayashi Maru , scenario planning, Centre for Strategic Futures, the Black Swan , shamanistic symbols, Marina Bay Sands, economic development, sentiment analysis, luck & trauma, weak signals , then settling back to the dashcam video recording one sitting behind a car’s dashboard. “Horizon Scanners”, talk by Ho Rui An where a number of topics are also covered in ‘Dash’ [video from Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) YouTube channel] Donned in black with a wireless headset, Rui An adopts the presentatio

KL Biennale (II): The Gift of Knowledge

“What's so interesting about Durai Singam? Durai Singam (1904 – 1995) was no ordinary secondary school teacher who once taught in Kuantan. He also became one of the world's most obsessive bibliographers and collectors of memorabilia related to the world prominent philosopher and historian of Indian art, the late Ananda Kentish Muthu Coomaraswamy (1877 – 1947). (…) A selection of his editorial layouts using collage as a compositional technique are on display in this exhibition. This selection provides the viewer with a sense of the hands-on DIY nature of Durai Singam's by turns whimsical, high-minded, and idiosyncratic approach to publishing. In a sense, Durai Singam pursued this work as if it were his karma or sacred duty to disseminate this knowledge for posterity.” – Snippets from Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya Facebook page, in a post dated 17th November 2017 Installation snapshot At the end of these long introductory paragraphs, i

Snippets: September 2017

Museum hopping in Singapore might become an annual family affair, given the international superstars the nation-state draws to their pristine shores. While the kid runs wild at teamLab’s interactive “Future World” exhibition at ArtScience Museum, I appreciate the fascinating collection of technology-meet-real world exhibits in “HUMAN+”. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the long queues to get into the galleries and infinity rooms for Yayoi Kusama’s “Life Is the Heart of A Rainbow”. Visual gimmicks and the solace/trauma of repetition aside, Yayoi’s fabric phalli constructs and large black-and-white drawings stand out to this visitor, for its concerted effort in failing to figuratively depict a representation. As a visitor sums up at the start of her review , “Kusama’s art is far from happy, despite its bright hues.” Indeed, “she’s way more than just a photo op.”  Snapshot of Yayoi Kusama – Love Forever series After attending the gut-wrenching “Art AIDS America” exhib