BENCHMARK is a group exhibition comprises the works of five Malaysian contemporary artists; Hamir Soib, Masnoor Ramli Mahmud, Zulkifli Yusoff, Abdullah Jones and Abdullah Hamdan. The exhibition is open for public from 5th of February 2016 until 5th of March 2016 whilst the launching night will be held on the 18th of February on Thursday, 8 PM at Artcube. The Opening of the show will be officiated by our guest of honour, Puan Nori Abdullah.
(visit our facebook page to see the Artworks)
In contemporary societies, the role of the artist is considered crucial for cultural, political and social discourse. Understanding critical contemporary art to act as a mirror of contemporary culture, it offers a rich resource for society to reflect upon, as it considers ideas and rethinks the familiar. Socio-political art in particular has been an important part of the visual landscape for centuries, a way to challenge authority, and rethink social conventions, as has historically been seen in the works of luminaries such as Francisco Goya. Developing this thread of thought with updated and experimental mediums, contemporary artists encourage reflection and analysis, thus promoting intellectualism within society. Indeed, this trait is clearly apparent in the paintings of Hamir Soib. A titan of contemporary Malaysian art, Hamir has witnessed, and encouraged sweeping change in thought and behavior within the contemporary art world, with his large-scale witty observations of events within the rapidly evolving social landscapes of our time.
As a result of the scale and detail of his paintings, Hamir’s works are relatively singular. Accordingly, the opportunity to view a compilation of his paintings within a single exhibition is a rare treat. On the rare occasion he has had a solo exhibition, for example 2005’s Pameran Tunggal, they have gone on to be recognized as key markers within the timeline of Malaysian art history. Not only have Hamir’s solos marked new developments within his portfolio, but also they have acted as an indication of neoteric movements within the contemporary Malaysian art market. This can be attributed to a combination of his astute analytical and innovative abilities, as well as his far-reaching influence over the next generation of artists. These threads are again apparent here in Benchmark, where Hamir presents a selection of five important pieces. Created over the past year and a half, “Al-Fatihah”, “The Gatekeeper”, “Beban”, “Wasted Energy I” and “Wasted Energy II”, span a wide variety of established and inventive techniques, thoughts on culture and politics. As such, viewers are provided with a much-anticipated insight into the creative growth of arguably Malaysia’s favourite contemporary painter.
Centering this compilation are national, economic and political seam lines. Despite being painted within a singular timeframe, this collection appears split between two distinct styles. While four of the paintings are filled with perfectly detailed surreal imagery, “Al-Fatihah” is a monolithic example of the contemporary calligraphy style Hamir has been instrumental in popularizing. These two opposing visuals are bound together however, by the artist’s trademark responses to the socio-political landscape of current times. Consequently, these five paintings come together as a dynamic response to the changes in Malaysian society, raising critical discussions and promoting debate on subjects and histories in real time.
Hamir’s 2014 canvas “The Hot Seat” can be studied as a precursor to these new paintings. Despite the dreamy imagery of a riderless golden horse set against a starry night sky, “The Hot Seat” was a searing insight into Malaysian politics. Linking international events such as America’s pivot to Asia, the war in Gaza and the Russian and Ukrainian crisis with the unprecedented aviation disasters of MH 370 and MH 17, Hamir outlined 2014 as a year that saw Malaysia in a precarious political position. Often, these kinds of local struggles and superpower manoeuvres can lead to external and internal forces inciting unrest, resulting in colour-coded revolutions, as Thailand and Ukraine can testify to. The key to surmounting such issues, and making the choices that will lead the country to greatness lies with the leader, commented Hamir, as he has the final say on governance, diplomatic and economic policies. A cherry-red saddle seat acts as a metaphor for the desirable position of Prime Minister of a country that is literally made of gold, due to its abundant natural resources and a strategic geographical position. In a humorous play on the title and local political stratagems the ‘hot’ seat is twisted and warped from the heat it emanates, acting as a caution to approach the seat of power with care and respect.
Over the last year, Hamir has expanded on the ideas founded in “The Hot Seat”. He observes the split factions within society – political, social, racial and economic – attempting to articulate the cause of their emergence. “Beban”, “Wasted Energy I” and “Wasted Energy II”, are a direct visual response to ongoing socio-political issues the artist observes. Painted in a flawless realist style, these three works feature protective symbolisms, in the form of a metal diving suit, life raft and life vest respectively. However there is a twist in each visual, gently unsettling the canvases and sparking off points of discourse.
In “Beban”, the deep-sea diver is on land, with flames licking the edges of his metallic suit. A freshwater fish is detailed swimming in the diver’s helmet, which jars against the saltwater ocean depths where divers require such suits. There is a sense that the diver is in the wrong place, an idea carried over in “Wasted Energy II”. The perfectly detailed life vest, with long straps and a whistle, looks functioning. However, it is shown submerged underwater, where it is rendered useless, much like the raft in “Wasted Energy I”. At first glance, it appears to be an attractive, realist depiction of an object. Closer inspection reveals the raft has been nailed down at the top. The inclusion of the tiny nail completely transforms the boat’s functionality, explaining the slight sense of unease viewers feel despite the piece’s perfect finish. By achieving his aim to unsettle his audience, Hamir raises the issue of angst swirling around Malaysian society today, gently prompting viewers to reassess preconceived notions of the relationships between the individual, society and government. He questions, if society wants to continue on the paternalistic political path they are used to, where they place heavy expectations on the government, or if citizens are instead ready to begin accepting increased responsibility for themselves and contributing back to society at large for the greater good of all?
The works presented here are reflective of the skills Hamir has been developing over the last five years. “Beban” is a continued experimentation of his metallurgy paintings, as has been most recently seen in “The Hot Seat”, while “Wasted Energy I” and “Wasted Energy II” are a follow on of the perfect detailing from the Polo series. It is in “The Gatekeeper” however that viewers are shown several of Hamir’s signature styles in a single canvas. A large-scale work, it incorporates several of his most well known elements. Painted in bitumen, a notoriously difficult medium of which Hamir is considered the undisputed master, it involves intensive layering, resulting in the hidden images that emerge throughout, leading to a dreamy, gothic narrative on ideas of cultural gatekeeping.
Conceptually, “The Gatekeeper” mixes personal and wider social undertones. Hamir points out that as one aims for success on any front, there are members of the old guard jealously guarding the established status quo that need to be bypassed. By passing the gatekeeper is next to impossible, and often times they try to press others down in order to retain a dominant position. This can be linked back to the Malaysian art industry and the early years of Hamir’s career. In the 1990’s there was a strong focus on modernist artworks, with a general penchant for abstract pieces in four foot squared dimensions. Hamir broke out of this mould with his monolithic canvases filled with figurative visuals, often underscored by darkly humorous connotations. Despite his unquestionable talent, he struggled for several years within the conventional confines of the art world, which was reluctant to allow for such a dynamic, and drastic new movement. The gatekeeper is not pictured as triumphant however; here he is shown crouched on all fours, clutching a large sack as he slinks along with termites crawling around him. Audiences are left with the impression that no matter how hard he tries, he is unable to stem the march of progress, and is thus left behind in a bitter, twisted position. This parallels the local art industry, which through the emergence of private galleries and collectors, has embraced both Hamir and the critical contemporary movement, leaving archaic institutions far behind.
Rounding off this new collective of works is “Al-Fatihah”, Hamir’s largest in-depth calligraphy painting to date. Spanning an impressive sixteen feet in length, “Al-Fatihah” again deals with dual issues, personal and social. Hamir has spent a large portion of the last few years developing a strong contemporary calligraphy portfolio, commenting that his calligraphic works mark a personal journey into understanding the tenants of his religion and spirituality. At the same time, “Al-Fatihah” continues his commentary on the socio-political landscape of Malaysia today. As the country progresses and becomes richer, so has religion emerged as an increasingly potent force. Due to the advent of social media platforms, the masses are able to witness firsthand the opulent life lived by those who benefitted economically from Malaysia’s rapid development. Naturally this leads into questions of materialism versus spirituality, leading to an increased prominence of the role of religion in society. “Al-Fatihah” is imbibed with a talismanic quality, which neatly ties it in with the iconography present in “Beban”, “Wasted Energy I” and “Wasted Energy II”. The appearance of the phrase “Ihdina’s-sirata’l-mustaqim” (Guide us on the straight path) bisecting the expansive emerald green canvas clearly identifies the prayer. The remaining six lines from the prayer have been painted in layers over the canvas, one at a time, in an amazing display of technical prowess.
It is interesting to note that in an art industry largely dominated by talented and successful multi-disciplinary artists, Hamir has emerged as the favourite talent of a generation, with a portfolio devoted exclusively to painting. This speaks volumes to his mastery over his medium, as well as the experimentations and new developments within painting in Malaysia he has been crucial in developing. Through his immeasurable depth of concept and imagination, coupled with this bold, innovative handling of paint, audiences are able to understand how Hamir single-handedly captures the attention of the entire art industry, while providing a model for artists of later generations. As such, this rare collective of works are certain to go down in the canons of Malaysian art history as an exciting moment in the progression of the local art industry.
Masnoor Ramli Mahmud
Masnoor Ramli’s series Moulding The History is probably best described as a continuous examination on notions of politics, myths and events that personally fascinate the artist himself. By examining such ideas and framing them within a distinctly Malaysian context, Masnoor has demonstrated time and again his position as a key intellectual of our contemporary times. He reinforces this position with his latest piece from this important series, “Moulding The History – Mother Earth Mother Love”.
A long work measuring approximately eight feet by two feet “Moulding The History – Mother Earth Mother Love” is produced in Masnoor’s inventive photo print on aluminium style. The artist first unveiled this new medium in his celebrated 2014 solo Aviation, and has since gone on to rework and refine what is becoming a signature style in his multi-disciplinary practice. Printing images and photographs on a matte finished aluminium, he achieves an almost mythical quality through an experimental process. Usually the printing of images requires four base colours, but Masnoor cuts this down to three. By using the natural grey of the aluminium as a substitute for white, he lessens the intensity of his palette, while retaining the aluminium’s textural quality. As such, “Moulding The History – Mother Earth Mother Love” is imbibed with a dream-like quality that perfectly communicates Masnoor’s melodic, philosophical character.
Masnoor communicates a fascination between Heaven and Earth, or the tangible and intangible, using a NASA photoprint of the landscape on Mars as a starting point. Born in the 1960’s, Masnoor grew up in a generation where space exploration was a new and exciting phenomenon. The galaxy and other planets held an inexplicable, mysterious quality that has not lessened for the artist through scientific discoveries and new developments. Rather, he feels confronted by ever increasing questions, theories and possibilities. Recognising the photoprint sent by Viking 1, when it first landed on Mars as a milestone in scientific advancement, he investigates the reasons behind mankind’s unending desire to conquer new spaces, linking it to historic discoveries of New Lands by explorers such as Christopher Columbus. In doing so, he uncovers an inherent colonial tendency within mankind, situated alongside a desire for possibility and hope. As such, he blurs the dualities present within humans, much as the dualities between Heaven and Earth are increasingly blurred, in a commentary on the often-oppositional elements within a single existence.
In his essay Fascination From The Beginning Of Mankind, Alexander Soucek theories that astronomy and space travel are crucial cultural achievements, due to its demonstration of technological advancements and ability to feed intangible fascinations inherent in mankind. Certainly, the unknown realms of the universe hold an allure that navigates all cultures and generations. As such, “Moulding The History – Mother Earth Mother Love” can be seen as marrying together, highly current content with a technical finesse to reaffirm Masnoor’s position as a favourite within the Malaysian contemporary art world today.
In art, symbols are incorporated as solid visual representations of ideas or concepts that would otherwise be tricky to characterize. In contemporary art, symbols included from both popular culture as well as traditional icons easily categorize an artist’s heritage, his views and attitude and immediately open up forums for debate on their hypothesis of contemporary society. Noted international artists with this ability include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Keith Haring, while in Malaysia, one of the most popular contemporary artists who incorporate vivid cultural iconography and symbolism, is the celebrated Zulkifli Yusoff.
An eminent artist who successfully works across the mediums of painting, sculpture and installation, Zulkifli has won many major awards. In both 1988 and 1989, he was presented with the Major Award for Young Contemporaries at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, and in 1992 he gathered three prizes at the third Salon, the Grand Minister’s Prize, Major Award and Consolation Prize for sculpture, and also won an Honourable Mention in Painting in 1995 at the Philip Morris Awards. Zulkifli has been invited to participate in several important international exhibitions, most notably at the Venice Biennale in 1997. He has also shown at the Biennale of Visual Arts in Seychelles, the Fukuoka Asian Art Exhibition in Japan, Immunity 11 show at Art Space, Sydney and the First Asia-Pacific Triennale in Brisbane, Australia. Major international institutions, including the Fukuoka Museum of Art, and Hiroshima Art Museum in Japan and the Singapore Museum and Gallery, as well as local institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia and the Kedah State Gallery, collect his work.
Referencing his ever-changing environment and issues, through an intense research-based practice, is the cornerstone of Zulkifli’s practice, as is evident in his Green Book series. This series is a continued exploration on the rhetoric and policies of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Tun Razak, which began with the series Tun Razak Speeches. His new works “Mari Kita Ke Ladang (Buku Hijau Series)” and “Berbakti Kepada Bumi (Buku Hijau Series)” follow on from 2014’s installation “Tun Razak Speech Series – The Green Book” in producing a contemporary narrative on the Green Book policies implemented by Tun Razak in the 1970’s. At the time, Malaysia’s economy was heavily dependent on the rubber industry, which was faced with an international price depression. Tun Razak recognized the need to create new economic avenues, and the agricultural initiative of The Green Book was launched. Zulkifli speaks to this historic precedent of economic diversification, which is a highly relevant conversation today. Under the stewardship of prime minister Najib Razak, Malaysia has again been seeing the implementation of several policies to ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth. As such, these works act as prime example of Zulkifli’s penchant for reinterpreting historical texts and events within a contemporary framework, so as to encourage intellectual discourse within society.
Technically, “Mari Kita Ke Ladang (Buku Hijau Series)” and “Berbakti Kepada Bumi (Buku Hijau Series)” are a refinement of the strip collage technique Zulkifli began developing with his seminal installation “Pendita”. This pair of mixed media triptychs is made up of fiberglass and epoxy resin, laid over fabric and canvas. While monochromatic palettes and neat linear compositions demarcate Zulkifli’s early strip canvas works, “Mari Kita Ke Ladang (Buku Hijau Series)” and “Berbakti Kepada Bumi (Buku Hijau Series)” feature intricate grid-based compositions and increasingly vibrant colours. The central panel of each work features a sculpted resin dome, inset with images of livestock and agriculture, while the borders on each panel, feature further such collaged images and texts such as jagung and ikan. This stark symbolism directly ties the two works in to the policies, texts and visions of The Green Book, seamlessly merging Zulkifli’s concepts and aesthetics.
Zulkifli strives to use his position as an acclaimed artist to propagate the values he holds in high regard such as patriotism and social awareness, as well as awareness on current and historical issues. His practice has evolved over the last two decades from a raw, slightly loose application, to a super-refined and intricately-detailed practice, mirroring his growing confidence and recognition both internationally and locally, as a vital component in Malaysia for the resonance of his creative practice within society, as is demonstrated here in “Mari Kita Ke Ladang (Buku Hijau Series)” and “Berbakti Kepada Bumi (Buku Hijau Series)”.
“Cakap Pasal Outside” and “Patriot Tak Reti Bahasa” are two new paintings by the Malaysian contemporary painter Abdullah Jones. Measuring five feet by six and a half feet each, these brightly coloured acrylic on canvas pieces are a wonderful mix of solemnity and humor. Worked in the artist’s signature expressive style, they form the basis of a new series for the artist, with sock puppets as a central icon.
Born in April 1964, Abdullah lives and works in Kuantan, Pahang. His place in the critical sphere of Malaysian contemporary is evident through his key involvement in the artist-run space Rajawali Art Studio, as well as his participation in several exhibitions. Abdullah has presented work not only locally, at exhibitions such as Gabung at Pahang State Art Gallery and Saudagar Cinta at Pahang State Art Museum, but also internationally in shows such as Un-Cut at Gallery Shambala in Copenhagen, and The Outsider Art at Octane Photographic Studio/Gallery in Ferndale, Minnesota. The attention Abdullah receives is in large part due to the critically questioning nature behind his paintings, presented in highly attractive, expressive aesthetics, as seen here in “Cakap Pasal Outside” and “Patriot Tak Reti Bahasa”.
With these new works, Abdullah aims to examine a series of current issues he observes affecting contemporary society. It is interesting to note that by living and working in the East Coast, he chooses to base himself in the heartland of Malay culture. In a post-colonialist environment such as Malaysia, he thus demonstrates an awareness of valuing one’s own culture as society re-establishes identity in the post-colonial era. This subject is strongly hinted at in “Patriot Tak Reti Bahasa”, whose title translates into “A patriot not understanding Bahasa (Malay)”. Language is central in uniting a nation and providing national identity, particularly in a multi-ethnic environment. Additionally, establishing Malay as the national language restores a sense of dignity to Malaysian citizens after a long period of being ruled by the British, who used English as a tool in suppressing the indigenous during colonization. In comprehending the role of language to patriotism, Abdullah thus questions the validity of identifying as a Malaysian, should one be unable to communicate in Malaysia’s national language.
Part of Abdullah’s success in establishing a strong rapport with his audience lays in the humorous tone his aesthetic offers. He softens the potentially sharp, stinging message of his paintings by incorporating a playful icon, that of the sock puppet. The inclusion of a childlike element is reminiscent of the works of pioneering Malaysian artist Zulkifli Dahlan. A strong influence on Abdullah, Zulkifli was fond of exploring social issues through cartoons and caricatures in works such as “Kedai-Kedai” (1973). Abdullah recognized the tension that results from merging contrasting whimsical and somber elements as being highly reflective of the issues swirling throughout contemporary society, resulting in these satirical, self-deprecating paintings.
“Cakap Pasal Outside” and “Patriot Tak Reti Bahasa” form the basis of a new series for Abdullah, as the artist continues to explore the state of contemporary society through a highly critical lens. Brightly coloured, thought provoking, expressive and filled with humor, they are an accurate reflection both of Abdullah himself, as well as his inspired artistic practice.
One of the assets of mixed media art is the versatility and beauty that can be achieved through the intense layering necessary in its production. In bringing together several mediums, textures and layers, this genre is a favourite for contemporary artists to visually communicate complex conceptual thoughts, particularly those of a socio-political nature. Pahang-based artist Abdullah Hamdan, who is part of the Rajawali artist collective, beautifully exemplifies this with his latest piece, “Golden Hearts”.A long work that measures three feet by twelve feet, “Golden Hearts” represents a new and experimental technical direction for Abdullah. While the artist is known for his carefully composed realist paintings, this triptych branches out into new territories, with the use of plastic toys, collage, acrylic and aerosol spray on canvas. While there is still a prominent painted element, in the form of the Malaysian flag that covers the centre panel, it differs from his usual practice of painting figures. The flag is flanked on either side by homochromatic white canvases swarming with tiny toy soldiers. Despite the vastly different aesthetic of this new piece, audiences familiar with Abdullah’s work can draw parallels between the artist’s previous painting-based practice and “Golden Hearts”, through his skilled compositional skills. The careful consideration with which Abdullah places the figure in his paintings has resulted in a training of composition, that is vital in mixed media art. As mixed media works are the result of a careful buildup of layers, the decision of each structural element’ placement is key in achieving a successful work. By branching out into this new genre, Abdullah builds on his existing skills to challenge his own creativity, while expanding his repertoire.
Abdullah’s progression into a new medium stems from his observations of the relationship between medium and message in contemporary art. Placing value on both aesthetic as well as content, he has investigated new ways of communicating visually with his audience. As is suggested by the prominence of the Malaysian flag, “Golden Hearts” explores themes of nationalism and patriotism. By placing the flag between swarms of white soldiers, Abdullah speaks about the two key elements he feels are central to the existence of patriotism. The first is the subject that generates such emotion, such as the national flag, and the second is the individuals who respond to the rallying symbol. The staff numbers of Malaysian policemen killed during the Bukit Kepong Incident stamped horizontally across the flag, further represents these patriotic ideals. A confrontation with the Malayan Communist Party during the Malayan Emergency in 1950, the Bukit Kepong Incident was seen as a rallying point that strengthened the resolve of the Malayan government and people in the fight against communist insurgency. It is interesting to note that much as in the style of “Flag” by Jasper Johns, Abdullah seemingly wraps the center canvas in the image of his flag, presenting his audience with the choice to view it as either a flag or a painting. By changing the presentation of such a familiar symbol central to Malaysian identity, Abdullah gently raises the question of patriotism and nationalism within society at large today.
It is interesting to note that the two Rajawali artists presented h
Art Expo starts this Thursday, 10 September 2015, until Sunday, 13 September 2015,
opens from 10.30 am to 7 pm daily Matrade Exhibition & Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
We will be showcasing new artworks from 3 exciting contemporary artists,using 3 different mediums.
Masnoor Ramli Mahmud with his aluminium prints,
Azad Daniel Haris with his fibreglass sculptures
and Anniketyni Madian with her wall sculptures made from wood.
See you there !
The Malaysian contemporary art market is booming as never before. Malaysian contemporary artists have always been quick to achieve fantastic critical success, both locally and internationally, and this has steadily been translating into immense commercial success. Following the laws of economics, the primary market is becoming tighter as works by major bankable artists such as Ahmad Shukri, Husin Hourmain, Tan Chin Kuan, Eng Hwee Chu or Zulkifli Yusoff are scarce due to the increasing clamor from collectors both private and institutional. Currently, collectors are looking to fill the gaps in their collections with key pieces, giving rise to a secondary market. It is here Artcube looks to step in and expertly guide the public via thoroughly researched and documented exhibitions and sales devoted to the development of a strong secondary market for Malaysian contemporary art.
In the short space of time since their 2013 launch, Artcube has been garnering a reputation as the dominant gallery for high end, critically acclaimed contemporary art. Artists they have represented such as Shooshie Sulaiman and Hamir Soib are seeing a dramatic increase in the value of their works, aided by recognition from international galleries, museums and collections. The access Artcube has to both artists and collectors gives them a keen insight into the values and trends dominating the market. Currently, fledgling auction houses cover Malaysia’s secondary art market. Artcube now looks to utilize their knowledge on the artists themselves coupled with a finely honed foresight into bolstering this new branch of the industry. The precise valuations from the gallery’s operational advantage act as a source of comfort for participants of this new market segment.
The insatiable demand for contemporary art presents an interesting dilemma to collectors both new and established. Access to pieces by established artists is difficult, often the works are snapped up shortly after entering the market. Even when new works become available, collectors are faced with the challenge of rounding off their collections with past major works, which are already out of circulation on the primary market. To counter this, Artcube aims to host one to two expertly curated secondary sales a year.
This first sale features several pieces that are deemed museum-quality. Amongst them are Ahmad Shukri’s mixed media work Wasiat For Sale Or Rent Series II. The rarity of this large 2008 piece from one of Shukri’s most acclaimed series, coupled with the artist’s current popularity, mark it out as a great addition to any Shukri collection. Excitingly, the gallery shows two early paintings by Eng Hwee Chu. 1991’s Black Moon 11 is from her game-changing series Black Moon, which has been extensively collected by major art institutions, and 1997’s Christ In My Life is widely regarded as one of Hwee Chu’s most significant paintings. Audiences are treated to Blue Night 7-Reborn by Tan Chin Kuan, whose other pieces from the Blue Night series hang in major institutions in Malaysia, Japan and Singapore. Another important find by Artcube is Layer Series Luminosity – Reproducing by the father of contemporary Malaysian art, Fauzan Omar. Not only are Fauzan’s early works scarce, paintings from the Luminosity series are almost impossible to come by. Considering the influence Fauzan has exerted over the contemporary art scene, not only through his ground breaking efforts in the field of mixed media but also as mentor to successful artists such as Shukri and Mohd Noor Mahmud, the appearance of Layer Series Luminosity – Reproducing is unquestionably attractive for serious collectors and institutions. Other paintings that hold great value to collectors are Husin Hourmain’s calligraphies from his stunning sell-out solo Awal Hurouf, Asal Hurouf, Heavenly Smoker by Ali Nurazmal and Zulkifli Yusoff’s trio of paintings from New Negaraku series. Alongside Wasiat For Sale Or Rent Series II hang works by the three other members of Matahati who have gone on to mass critical and commercial acclaim, the hauntingly beautiful Frozen by Hamir Soib, SCREAM!… and KEEP SCREAMING!! by Masnoor Ramli Mahmud and the audience delighting Leap of Faith by Ahmad Fuad Osman.
Studying trends it seems art markets operate on economic models that consider factors other than supply and demand. Art is bought and sold for values based on its cultural value, past monetary value and predicted future value. A thorough understanding of where each artist sits in the industry plus in depth knowledge on rapid developments are important for both buyers and sellers to be confident when entering the relatively new secondary market. Artcube’s abilities to identify, source and accurately value paintings such as the ones in this exhibit proves their dedication to developing the portfolios of their client base and affords them the reputation of being the dominant force in the secondary market for acquiring works of true value. Given the impeccable quality and pedigree of this first secondary sale, they are truly the new benchmark for Malaysia’s exploding secondary contemporary art market.
written by Zena Khan
Siri Rasa Bertuhan
Karya seni pelukis Mohd Noor Mahmud berkait rapat dengan tradisi kraf Kelantan. Seni Kelantan memberi pengaruh kuat kepada kebudayaan Malaysia seperti batik, kain songket, pertukangan perak dan ukiran kayu. Pengaruh budaya kraf ini telah menajdi sebati digunakan oleh Mohd Noor dalam kerjayanya. Bermula dengan karya seni pertama beliau iaitu Siri Imaian (1988), Sekebun Bunga III (2013), Alun III (2013) dan karya terbaru, Siri Rasa Bertuhan yang mempersembahkan 99 nama Allah SWT.
Pameran ini dijangka akan diadakan pada Mac nanti di Galeri Artcube, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Jumlah karya yang dihasilkan kali ini adalah sebanyak 99 buah. Mohd Noor menghasilkan setiap satu nama Allah ke atas setiap helaian kanvas yang berukuran 5 x 5 kaki. Karya ini telah dimulakan prosesnya pada 2008 dan kerja yang memakan masa lima tahun ini akhirnya siap sepenuhnya pada tahun lalu.
Mohd Noor telah meneroka penggunaan teknik kraf tradisional unutk membawa satu seni bertema kontemporari. Justeru beliau telah menggunakan campuran akrilik bersama habuk papan yang diletakkan keatas helaian kanvas.
Teknik ini digunakan bertujuan untuk memberi kesan yang lebih lembut ke atas karya serta dapat meggantikan teknik ukiran kayu yang lebih sukar.
Mohd Noor pertama kali menyedari teknik ini dalam karya Siri Gua yang merujuk kepada Gua Cha di Ulu Kelantan. Gua tersebut merupakan tapak arkeologi paling aktif dikaji di Semenanjung Malaysia dan peninggalan bahan-bahan artifak zaman Hoabhonians dan Neolitik telah ditemui di situ.
Tapak arkeologi paling aktif adalah tempat mayat Hoabhonians dan Neolitik ditemui dengan artifak mereka. Objek-objek yang terdapat dalam pengebumian kubur manusia seperti barang kemas, tembikar dan peralatan batu telah memberi ilham kepada artis ini untuk mengkaji bahan-bahan kasar seperti serbuk kayu untuk menjadi sebahagian bahan mentah karyanya.
Serbuk ini dicampur dengan gam untuk mendapat satu tekstur yang kasar dan mencapai kesan lapisan yang cantik.
Keajaiban teknik ini telah memberi satu hasil karya yang berkualiti kepada arca kanvas itu sendiri. Jika dilihat dari sudut tepi, jelas kelihatan beliau betul-betul teliti dalam penghasilan kerjanya kerana kerana helian kanvas diregang kemas dan permukaan elemen tiga dimensi menampakkan karya seni ini seperti bercahaya.
“Andai aku Tuah…”
Merupakan sebuah karya lukisan yang telah dihasilkan oleh seorang pelukis terkenal pada tahun 2013. Lukisan itu telah dipamerkan di Artcube bersempena dengan pembukaan galeri tersebut pada 28 November lalu.
Lukisan tersebut diinspirasikan daripada sebuah pantun melambangkan falsafah melayu dalam mencapai kejayaan tanpa menyinggung perasaan orang lain. Selain itu, ia melambangkan corak keamanan yang infiniti.
Melalui karya tersebut, pelukis telah memaparkan potret seorang pahlawan yang menjadi simbol kebanggaan bangsa Melayu iaitu hang Tuah sebagai watak utama dalam lukisan tersebut. Yang menariknya, pelukis telah menggunakan konsep media campuran yang dihasilkan diatas kertas kanvas.
Pelukis juga telah menggabungkan beberapa elemen seperti kraf tradisional dan teknik-teknik seni akademik dengan unsur-unsur moden dimana beliau menggunakan kedua-dua keping ukiran asli dan cetakan pada kayu sebagai metafora kewujudan realiti dan ilusi. Ia merupakan satu usaha yang mengagumkan kerana bukan senang untuk menghasilkan sekeping naskah kontemporari yang sarat dengan nilai kemelayuan.
Berbicara lagi tentang idea untuk menghasilkan lukisan tersebut, sebelum melukis potret Hang Tuah, pelukis terlebih dahulu mengkaji mengenai sifat dan jati diri yang ada pada pahlawan tersebut.
Sebagaimana yang kita tahu, Hang Tuah memang cukup terkenal dalam dunia Melayu. Ini kerana sifat yang ada pada Hang Tuah itu sendiri telah menjadikan bangsa melayu dipandang tinggi dan dihormati oleh bangsa-bangsa lain.
Antara sifat yang ada pada dirinya adalah setia kepada negara dan pemimpin, bertolak ansur, dalam ketegasan ada santunnya, mempunyai semangat setiakawan yang tinggi serta mempunyai kemahiran berdiplomasi.
Sebab itu jugalah pelukis memilih Hang Tuah sebagai ikon penyatuan masyarakat di Malaysia. Padanya, semua rakyat Malaysia perlu mempunyai pertalian dan sentimen positif terhadap pahlawan mereka tanpa perlu dibuat-buat dan mengetepikan sentimen-sentimen negatif dalam hidup bermasyarakat.
Tambah pelukis itu lagi, seni seharusnya dapat menyatukan orang ramai. Malah, karyanya ini menunjukkan dengan jelas bahawa beliau tidak secara amnya membawa kearah unsur-unsur kiasan dalam karyanya, tetapi lebih mentakrifkan ajarannya seperti yang ada dalam “Andai Aku Tuah…”
Bagi menghasilkan potret tokoh pahlawan Melayu tersebut, beliau menjadikan arca Hang Tuah yang dipaparkan di Muzium Negara, Kuala Lumpur sebagai sumber rujukan visual. Pada karya yang dihasilkan olehnya, tertulis juga tulisan jawi dengan perkataan ‘Tuah’ dan ‘Jebat’ yang merujuk pada pahlawan, sahabat dan lawan.
Ia juga menjadi lambang metafora bagi memaksudkan unsur-unsur positif dan negataif yang wujud dalam masyarakat. Satu lagi simbol keharmonian yang seimbang boleh didapati pada corak ukiran kayu di sepanjang sempadan atas dan bawah lukisan tersebut.
Anda hendak tahu siapa gerangan pelukis diatas? Pelukis yang dimaksudkan ialah Fauzin Mustafa, 47. Beliau merupakan seorang artis kontemporari yang sangat berpengalaman dan terkenal di Malaysia mahupun dunia. Banyak hasil seninya telah dibeli oleh syarikat-syarikat besar didalam mahupun luar negara. Antaranya ialah syarikat dari Jepun, Amerika Syarikat, Denmark dan banyak lagi.
Beliau juga cukup terkenal dengan hasil lukisannya yang berunsur kemelayuan. Malah setiap hasil seninya mengandungi unsur kemelayuan. Walaupun lukisan tersebut bertaraf universal. Karya “Andai Aku Tuah…” juga merupakan satu lambang kehormatan kepadanya sebagai orang Melayu.
Sepanjang penglibatan beliau dalam dunia lukisan, pelbagai anugerah telah dirangkul. Antaranya ialah memperoleh tempat pertama dalam pertandingan melukis mural 1Malaysia di Balai Seni Negara di Kuala Lumpur pada tahun 2010, mewakili Malaysia dalam pameran-pameran lukisan yang berlangsung di Conpengahen, Denmark, Brunei dan juga Singapura.
Sebenarnya, bakat Fauzin dalam dunia lukisan ini telah dicungkil sejak kecil lagi. Disebabkan minatnya yang mendalam, beliau melanjutkan pelajaran dalam bidang Fine Art dan Design di Universiti Teknologi Mara sehingga ke peringkat Sarjana.
Berbicara tentang dunia lukisan, Fauzin menyatakan bahawa tidak ramai yang berminat untuk menjadikannya sebagai bidang pekerjaan. Ini kerana, ramai yang berpendapat bahawa kerjaya ini sangat susah serta memerlukan bakat dan kemahiran yang tinggi.
Tetapi, mereka tidak sedar sebenarnya hasil lukisan akan meningkat seiring bersama-sama pelukis. Ini kerana, masyarakat kini yang semakin menghargai nilai sebuah lukisan secara tidak langsung memberi penghargaan kepada pelukisnya juga.
Kebiasaanya, pelukis akan menghasilkan satu jenis lukisan sahaja. Disebabkan itu, nilai sesebuah lukisan ada yang mencecah sehingga puluhan ribu. Malah, ada juga mencecah hingga jutaan ringgit.
Ini menyebabkan beratus-ratus peminat lukisan akan berebut satu lukisan tersebut untuk dijadikan koleksi mereka. Mereka akan saling membida harga sehinggalah lukisan tersebut menjadi milik mereka.
Gabungan pelukis hebat
Bagi meluaskan keterbukaan masyarakat terhadap dunia seni Malaysia, Galeri Artcube merevolusikan industri ini menerusi pameran pertama sempena pembukaan galeri itu di The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak.
Pameran ‘Making The Mark’ adalah gabungan hebat pelukis berpengalaman dan muda dalam pelbagai campuran media.
Gabungan dua tenaga kerja pemilik bersama galeri terbabit, Azhar Ahmad dan Fuad Salleh mengetengahkan 17 pelukis terkenal bersama 24 karya.
Pameran itu berlangsung sehingga 20 Disember ini.
Hamir Soib menerusi The Will menggunakan akrilik dan bitumen di atas kanvas membawa frasa ‘Fabi-ayyi ala-i rabbikuma tukaththibani’ yang diambil daripada surah Ar-Rahman.
Kaligrafi Arab mengingatkan diri Hamir pada amanat arwah bapanya.
Shooshie Sulaiman yang popular di peringkat antarabangsa membawa karya tahun ini yang berjudul Purely Love: Leman & Meriam yang dihasilkannya ketika mengadakan siri pameran Sulaiman itu Melayu.
Karya ini sebagai penghormatan kepada arwah bapanya yang menjadi inspirasi sepanjang pengamatan Shooshie terhadap dunia sekeliling.
Karya Hello! Obama Speaking… memaparkan dua elemen yang ditonjolkan Ahmad Shukri Mohamed. Panel pertama menggambarkan situasi Obama bercakap di telefon namun dalam keadaan telinganya merah umpama Obama menahan diri daripada memarahi atau dimarahi.
Mohd Noor Mahmud menerusi karya Sekebun Bunga III dan Alun III mendekati seni tradisi kraf Kelantan. Bermula dengan Siri Imajan (1988) dan dua karya terbarunya membabitkan penggunaan habuk kayu.
Iqra’ antara hasil seni teragung Husin Hourmain yang membawa maksud ‘Bacalah!’.
Husin memang terkenal dalam seni kaligrafi Jawi.
Pameran ini turut membawa karya artis Fauzan Omar, Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail, Daud Rahim, Azad Daniel, Azrin Mohd, Mohd Fazli Othman, Dhavinder Singh, Fauzin Mustafa, Haslin Ismail, Masnoor Ramli, Suhaimi Fadzir dan artis patriotik, Zulkifli Yusof.
INFO Lokasi: Artcube Gallery, 3-10 & 3-13, Intermark Mall, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
Tarikh: Sehingga 20 Disember ini
Masa: 11 pagi hingga 7 petang
Telefon: +603-2181 1787
Local Contemporary Art Goes Global
Malaysia’s latest gallery focus on high-value works by criticcaly- acclaimed Malaysian artist.
New gallery Artcube is set to make its mark in the Malaysian art scene by revolutionizing the way it is presented on the global platform. Joint gallery directors Azhar Ahmad and Fuad Salleh who are art enthusiasts themselves believe that Malaysia already has a strong cast of highly conceptual artist whose technical and experimental abilities have set an international benchmark.
“With the global shift towards preference for art that not only possesses intelectuall depth but also crucially involves great artistic skill, Malaysian contemporary art has all the ingredients to take its rightful place as one of the major art industries in the world, “ said Azhar at the gallery opening at Intermark recently
Artcube features artists like expert handler of acrylic and sawdust on canvas mat Nor Mahmud; veteran painter Hamir Soib; and calligraphy expert Husin Hourmain. Also featured Artcube is Ahmad Shukri Mohamed’s ‘Hello! Obama Speaking…’.
The gallery aims to portray a new environment with new collectors and art lovers, completely different from the set of gallery going people. “ To me, it is great that my work will be seen by a new set of people. It is very interesting to see their reaction,” explained Hamir.
Besides showcasing paintings, sculptures, installations, large scale assemblage and experimental mixed media Artcube will also assist collectors in amassing artworks of significance and act as consultants to serious corporate and private collectors of Malaysian arts.
Original and funky was the official opening of the ArtCube Gallery, a new entry in the artistic scene of Kuala Lumpur. Fuad Salleh and Azhar Ahmad, ArtCube’s art dealers, put together some of the most peculiar and unique pieces of Malaysian contemporary art, and created an exclusive gallery that spans 3,000 square feet.
The guest of honour for this elegant event was Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri, Minister of Tourism and Culture, who helped the two art dealers launch the gallery. Some of the artists who brought to life the creations displayed in the gallery also joined in the celebrations, and had the chance to explain their masterpieces.
Guests were seen enjoying the unique and intricate artwork by the many artist, including Tunku Myra, Mi-ki Choong and Tina Fazlita.
Malaysia’s latest Art Gallery, Artcube, that was launched yesterday, is intended to take Malaysian contemporary art to the world stage. It will focus on high-value, investment-grade contemporary art to the world stage.
‘ARTCUBE’ Bawa Seni Kontemporari Malaysia Ke Persada Global
KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Nov (Bernama) — Menteri Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz berkata hasil karya artis kontemporari Malaysia mendapat permintaan tinggi di persada antarabangsa.
Beliau berharap galeri seni terbaharu, Artcube, akan terus memperhebatkan seni kontemporari Malaysia ke arena global dan menjadikannya suatu industri sepenuhnya.
Beliau turut percaya industri berkenaan akan menjana hasil lebih tinggi dan menyumbang kepada ekonomi Malaysia.
Mohamed Nazri berkata demikian ketika melancarkan galeri seni berukuran 278.71 meter persegi itu yang terletak di The Intermark di sini malam ini.
Galeri itu yang mendapat bantuan kewangan daripada MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, sebuah sayap pelaburan kerajaan untuk memacu industri kreatif Malaysia, menampilkan karya 17 artis Malaysia, antaranya Husin Hourmain dan Suhaimi Fadzir.
Sementara itu, pengarah Artcube Azhar Ahmad memberitahu Bernama galeri itu berharap untuk meningkatkan standard dan kesedaran tentang seni kontemporari serta menguruskan dokumentasi dalam kalangan artis Malaysia.
“Masyarakat semakin berubah, malah golongan kelas pertengahan turut menzahirkan penghargaan kepada seni kontemporari. Kita perlu menguar-uarkan dan seterusnya memacu industri ini,” katanya.