CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIAN ARTISTS ART EXHIBITION
Valentine Willie Fine Art, located in Kuala Lumpur, presented “3 Young Contemporaries” in October and November this year. As the title suggests, the exhibition contained the work of three Malaysian contemporary artists: Chi Too, Minstrel Kuik and Poodien. It is part of the gallery’s annual exhibition programme that aims to provide a platform for young and emerging artists from the Southeast Asian region.
In this article we include comments made by indepedent writer and curator of the exhibtion, Eva McGovern on the “focused presentation of three cultural interrogations currently taking place within the Kuala Lumpur art world.” Attention will also be drawn to McGovern’s curatorial essay.
Chi Too gets personal in “3 Young Contemporaries”
Born in 1981 in Kuala Lumpur, conceptual artist Chi Too has a background in film and has recently turned his attention to the field of fine art. His art practice involves video installation, sculpture and public art projects. His work is inspired by the need to share “personal stories”and he denies that his work makes a political statement.
Chi Too’s “Longing” series, created in 2010 and exhibited as part of “3 Young Contemporaries”, depicts personal expressions of loneliness and “emotional struggles” that consider “his needs for love, friendship and professional validation” through repetition, satire and humour.
Click here to view the video installation Longing #3 a.k.a. Longing is a Motherfu***er. It shows Chi Too pulling a never-ending piece of ribbon that falls from a white structure, toppling into a large mound on the gallery floor.
In Longing #6 a.k.a. Main Kejar-Kejar Dengan Rakyat “a highly crafted electronic motor spins incessantly but drives nothing.” McGovern says that “by using repetition and poetic practical jokes [Chi Too] creates multiple paradoxes of emotion and performative conceptual situations.”
Longing #7 a.k.a. I Wish There Was More Green is a white plaster slab that hangs on the gallery wall, coated with a grid formation of red, green, orange and silver crystals. McGovern notes “this glittering display of minimal kitsch obscures more obsessive concerns of unrequited longing.”
Longing #4 a.k.a. A Photo Installation That Was Supposed To Be A Film That’s Really Just A Photo-Essay “manipulates the strategies of art house films to present an ambiguous narrative that fluctuates between film and photography.”
We have posted five of the nine pieces of this photo installation below (all five images courtesy of Valentine Willie Fine Arts):
Minstrel Kuik’s use of photography reveals human fragility
Minstrel Kuik, born in 1976, belongs to the third generation of a Chinese migrant family who settled in the state of Perak. McGovern suggests she “interrogates the status of both her medium and subject matter” to “transform the mode of photography into a more objective experience of art.” She says the artist is continually “inspired by the need to understand, deconstruct and reinvent notions of home, cultural identity and photography itself.”
Radical Chic Collar (2010) consists of a series of textual hand-made collars that are hung from the architectural beams of the gallery which McGovern believes is a “humorous take on the masses and the constraints of social and economic structures that reduce the personal to the public.”
The March (2010) uses photographs taken from her parallel series “Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily”. The photographs were placed next to one another along the gallery wall and display individuals that are not aware that they have been caught on camera. McGovern notes that the photographs convey “a type of anonymous human fragility as well as the artist’s own isolation from her subject and personal loneliness at that time.”
Poodien surrounds himself with images of death
Poodien, born in 1979, is a visual artist based in Kuala Lumpur. He works in painting, drawing, performance, video and installation. Poodien explores “the intensity of death” and “destabilises space and place” in his performance piece Long Live Death: Bury Your First Toy (2010) and his series of paintings that study death. McGovern says that in Poodien’s work death is inferred to be “something political, conceptual, physical, macabre, spiritual and much more.”
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