This year of the Rooster kicks off with promise of several shows in the
pipeline, writes Sarah NH Vogeler
WE look forward to the seventh installation of Art Stage Singapore, which will begin from Jan 12 to Jan 15 (the Vernissage on Jan 11) along with the second Southeast Asia Forum and local and international galleries bringing their artists from across Asia and the globe.
Art Stage Singapore will gather over 120 galleries from 27 countries, of which three quarters are galleries which have participated in previous editions.
Net Present Value: Art, Capital, Futures is the title for the second Southeast Asia Forum. Focusing on capitalism, the forum addresses interrogations connected to art values, growth and imaginings and the price of conducting business as per normal amid the shifting undercurrents of the international consumerist structure.
We will also witness the debut of Collector’s Stage, a combined effort by Art Stage Singapore and Artling. And just like Art Stage Jakarta which was unveiled last August, Art Stage Singapore 2017 Collectors’ Stage will showcase artworks from the assemblages of six leading Singapore-based collectors. Yes, we would very much love to see Robert Indiana and Yayoi Kusuma again.
As for Malaysia’s entry, there are several. One to look out for is rising star Shafiq Nordin, who is represented by Gallery 13. His admission, Kingdom of Pretender rendered in oil on jute, reflects a universal political situation whereby a chosen government purportedly abuses power for personal advantage.
The artist documented the reactions of the people through multiple subjects that metaphorically evaluate the issue. Just like the story from the Trojan War about the subterfuge of the city of Troy by the Greeks, the illustration of a wooden horse figuratively refers to the deception one uses to gain power through concealed infiltration. The artist reveals the power struggle between autocratic powers and persecution encountered by the masses.
PLENTY OF HIGHLIGHTS
On another high note, G13 gallery brings us Gejolak, a solo exhibition which features 17 fresh works from one of Malaysia’s leading figurative painters, Bayu Utomo Radjikin.
Gejolak marks Bayu’s 11th solo exhibition and his first with G13. We are excited, yes, as Bayu has been away for a long while. And to see this gifted artist’s works to usher in 2017 is very much anticipated.
In the artist’s catalogue essay, writer Ooi Kok Chuen observes: “So, does Gejolak in all its abstract expressionism negate Man? Perhaps, the answer can be gleaned from Herbert Read’s dictum in The Meaning Of Art extolling that all art is primarily abstract. The absence of the human is an acknowledgement of his presence. Abstraction is an attitude, not a style, not the style.”
Another show to watch out for is by Artcube Gallery featuring wood-maven Anniketyni Madian. There’s not much details released as of now, but Anni’s work has always simply exquisite. The lovely ebbs and flows of intensities in every crevice, with each Pua Kumbu inspired-piece just so alive.
The UiTM graduate has exhibited plenty, beginning in 2009 for R.A. Fine Art Gallery. She has completed residencies at the famed Rimbun Dahan and at House of Matahati. Anni will also be a part of HOM Gallery’s January show, Young Guns at White Box, Publika.
YEAR THAT WAS
There’s deep regret for not having covered two of the best shows of 2016: Nadia Bamadhaj’s Descent at Richard Koh, and Pusaka’s sublime This World, Out Here — the KataKatha exhibition at Menara Maybank.
Also, not writing about Ibrahim Hussein’s out-of-this-world Senyum Seorang Monyet because 2016 was the year of the monkey and we simply adore Ibrahim Hussein.
And the list ends with not making it to Melbourne for David Hockney: Current at the National Gallery of Victoria.
But there’s some solace. Jalaini Abu Hassan’s Siang dan Malam (Night and Day) was stirring in very dark ways, Umibaizurah Mahir’s Fragile made many smile, giggle, reflect and generally awed, and Singapore’s Sundaram Tagore’s Kamolpan Chotvichai’s show Fragility Of The Self saw the artist addressing issues of self and gender in photo-based self-portraits. Her ripped, self-mutilated canvases of “bleed-seeing”, of the world gunning for you with Freddy Krueger blades which hum “never sleep again” does one thing — they gut.
2016 has been a difficult year. And filled with much devastating fatalities; David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, Trump as President, Britain leaving the European Union, Japan’s twin earthquakes, the Bastille Day attack in Nice, the Berlin Christmas market tragedy ... and so much more.
The most recent is the passing of singer George Michael on Christmas Day. We hope for better times in 2017, and although hope may be an exercise in futility, there’s always that thing about the power of words that cuts the skin and breathes in the blood.
Here’s a gorgeous one from the late George Michael — Freedom ‘90 , which lifts with a kind of evangelical vehemence:-
Heaven knows I was just a young boy
Didn’t know what I wanted to be
I was every little hungry schoolgirl’s pride and joy
And I guess it was enough for me
To win the race? A prettier face!
Brand new clothes and a big fat place
On your rock and roll TV
But today the way I play the game is not the same
Think I’m gonna get myself happy
I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I told you so
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone else I’ve got to be
Take back your picture in a frame
Take back your singing in the rain
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man
All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me yea yea
You’ve gotta give for what you take
Well it looks like the road to heaven
But it feels like the road to hell
When I knew which side my bread was buttered
I took the knife as well
Posing for another picture
Everybody’s got to sell
But when you shake you’re a**
They notice fast
And some mistakes were built to last
Wishing everyone a blessed 2017, bursting with love and grace, and may this year of the Rooster be a wonderful one for art everywhere; “for last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and this year’s words await another voice.”
When: Jan 7 until 21
Where: G13 Gallery, GL13, Ground Floor, Block B, Kelana Square, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya, Selangor
11am — 5pm (Closed on Sunday and Public Holiday)