Preview: 5 highlights at Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur 2017

Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur is opening in the Malaysian capital with a packed interdisciplinary programme of events and exhibitions.

The inaugural Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur launches on 8 December 2017. Art Radar picks a few must see events taking place over the three-day celebration.

Faizal Suhif, 'REZEKI HARI INI, ESOK DAN AKAN DATANG...', 2009, Cementcut on Canvas, 74x153cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Faizal Suhif, ‘Rezeki Hari Ini, Esok Dan Akan Datang…’, 2009, cement cut on canvas, 74 x 153 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

The spread of the popular “Gallery Weekend” events coincides with a centralisation of knowledge about a given city’s art happenings (afforded by increased use of smartphones and their geolocation capacities) and a general upturn in the art market following the 2008 crisis. The first Gallery Weekend occurred in Berlin in 2004, but since 2015 there has been a steady increase in the number of cities hosting the event. Now collectors, gallerists and artists join forces to strengthen the visibility of the art scene in Kuala Lumpur during Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur (GWKL).

Art Radar picks a few highlights from this year’s programme.

Pow Ideas, 'COIR Pavilion', 2017. Image courtesy Shalini Ganendra Fine Art.

POW Ideas, ‘COIR Pavilion’, 2017. Image courtesy Shalini Ganendra Fine Art.

1. POW Ideas — Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SGFA)

During the three-day event, POW Ideas’ aptly named work COIR Pavilion (2017) is a large and striking structure that has a bold and intriguing presence in the upper gallery of Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SGFA). The layered blocks that make up the Pavilion create a free-standing, winding jigsaw, which invites the viewer to explore its immersive space and move between the irregular walls. It is precisely this fibrousness which makes the COIR Pavilion such a source of intrigue, being made up of “coir” – artificially extracted coconut husk fibre.

The curious materiality of the Pavilion is central to understanding the work, which uses coir to challenge traditional concepts of space and design. COIR Pavilion is the product of a successful collaboration between Shalini Ganendra Fine Art and the founders of POW Ideas – Kyle E and Jun Ong – and architectural students from Taylor’s University. The work epitomises the ideals of the collective, which seeks to question and challenge the boundaries of design through innovation and explicitly material exploration.

Noor Mahnun Mohamed, ‘FISH HEAD’, 2017, Oil on linen, 30.5cm x 30.5cm (diptych). Image courtesy the artist and the Edge.

Noor Mahnun Mohamed, ‘Fish Head’, 2017, oil on linen, 30.5 x 30.5 cm (diptych). Image courtesy the artist and Edge Gallery.

2. Noor Mahnun — Edge Gallery

Edge Gallery is the arts initiative of what began as a corporate news and media corporation. With the aim of both informing and helping guide prospective collectors on their art investment, The Edge held its inaugural auction of modern and contemporary Malaysian art on 29 June 2013. Total sales amounted to RM2.5 million and in the process, a dozen new records were set for works of local artists. Since then they have held a number of exhibitions by local artists.

During GWKL, Edge Gallery is holding a solo exhibition by Kuala Lumpur-based interdisciplinary artist and illustrator Noor Mahnun Mohamed. The artist’s work traverses video, drawing, installation and performance, recently settling on a drawing practice. The exhibition entitled “Disco Lombok Still Life” comprises of over 50 drawings of intricate geometric patterns, quirky illustrations of squids as well as delicate portraits on paper and oil paintings of still life on linen.

Faizal Suhif, ‘Hijrah ke Tanah’, 2014, Roller Oil Print on Canvas, 152cm x 245cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Faizal Suhif, ‘Hijrah ke Tanah’, 2014, roller oil print on canvas, 152 x 245 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

3. Faizul Suhif — G13

Faizal Suhif graduated with his Master degree in Fine Art in 2013 and has since enjoyed a number of solo exhibitions. A printmaker by training, Faizul Suhif has also dedicated his time to inventing his own modes of printing, using experimental means and materials to make images. The artist has stated in an interview:

I like to wander around my living area with my tool kit, whenever I see an interesting texture, the ground, the cement, I will start doing the transfer print.

Faizal Suhif’s work often revolves around biological life cycles, farming and the process of growing and planting, which has been attributed to his childhood growing up in a farming family. During the gallery weekend, G13 are showing an exhibition of Faizul Suhif’s latest solo work. The show comprises of 20 printmaking works. Catch the artist touring the exhibition himself between 11:00am – 12:00pm at G13 Gallery on Saturday 9 December.

BIBI CHEW, ‘100 Half-boiled Eggs’, 1996/2017, Silk cord, resin, wooden table with light box 100 x 100 x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist. 

Bibi Chew, ‘100 Half-boiled Eggs’, 1996/2017, silk cord, resin, wooden table with light box, 100 x 100 x 50 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

4. Bibi Chew, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Minstrel Kuik and Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi — Richard Koh Fine Art

While this exhibition is not in the official GWKL programme, Art Radar recommends popping in. Bibi Chew, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Minstrel Kuik and Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi are four female artists committed to testing the limits and presumptions of dominant art and aesthetics discourses, both nationally and internationally, while addressing a wide-range of local and personal concerns. Bibi Chew’s incisive cutouts, collages and installations construct a fragmented environment ripe for reordering and inventing new origin stories and composite future identities. Nadiah Bamadhaj’s collage, video and drawing practice emerges from research and reflection around religion, power and governance. Minstrel Kuik’s photograph-collages bring together distinct moments from Malaysian history to create alternative and utopian collective memories. Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi charts human engagement with diverse natural, domestic and industrial settings in installations constituted by sculptures made of household, studio and office objects.

The press release describes the exhibition:

Drawing from a selection of 4 female artists born in Malaysia, the selection of earlier and new works by these artists provide vantages from within a domestic setting and the society at large, encouraging a journey to observe the undercurrents and conditions of a progressing nation. Female artists in Malaysia have long been voicing sound criticisms on complex issues while furthering the development of new media. Their observations on race, religion, gender, identity and nationhood have enhanced insights on the shifting of class and society within their locality.

Ibrahim Hussein, 'Why brown? -Farewell to New York', 1969. Image courtesy Zair Collection.

Ibrahim Hussein, ‘Why Brown? – Farewell to New York’, 1969. Image courtesy Zain Collection.

5. “Story of Collecting” — ZAIN AZAHARI Private Collection

The Zain Azahari Collection is the private art collection associated with Zain & Co. law firm, which was established in 1970. Comprising of over 500 works of modern and contemporary Malaysian art, the collection is the product of half a century’s passion for collecting art and claims to be one of Malaysia’s most significant private art collections. Key is the collection of works by modernist and conceptual painters Latiff Mohidin and Ibrahim Hussein. Between 11:00am – 12:30pm on Saturday 9 December at the Zain Private Collection you can catch a talk on the history of the collection.

Rebecca Close


Related Topics: Southeast Asian artists, gallery shows, business of art, market watch, collectorsevents in Kuala Lumpur

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