Wills 1975 is a mixed media painting by the celebrated Malaysian artist Zulkifli Yusoff. Measuring 213 cm by 184 cm, this new work further explores Zulkifli’s established fascination with Malaysian history, and acts as a continuation of the artist’s quest to use his high profile platform to propagate the values of patriotism and critical thought which he holds in high regard.

A politically themed piece, Wills 1975 is inspired by the New Year’s Eve message by former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, which was broadcast on December 31st 1975 by Radio & Television Malaysia. Just two weeks after delivering this speech Tun Abdul Razak passed away on January 14th 1976, thus rendering these his last ever-public words to be broadcast. Tun Abdul Razak, as the second prime minister of Malaysia, the founder of ruling coalition party Barisan Nasional and the founder of the Malaysian New Economic Policy, is considered a central figure in the progress of Malaysia. The policies, practices and infrastructures he began during his tenure have had deep rooted and long lasting vibrations through out the rapid development of Malaysia which is now one of the fastest growing countries in South East Asia.

The recordings of Tun Abdul Razak’s New Year’s Eve 1976 speech are detailed in the National Archives, which is where Zulkifli obtained a copy. Zulkifli has a well documented interest in history and politics, as can be seen from his Rukun Negara series, or his recent large scale mixed media work Pahang Warrior. Reflecting on the importance of the last public statements by such a key historical figure, the artist concludes they act as a last will and testament, or wasiat, to future generations of Malaysian citizens and leaders. Zulkifli endeavors to clarify issues related to the peace and prosperity of Malaysia, as there were at the beginning of the speech, via Wills 1975. Particular emphasis in both the late prime minister’s speech as well in Wills 1975 are laid on issues relating to joint responsibilities on national security as well as efforts to further enhance the New Economic Policy.

Wills 1975 carries on technically from recent works in Zulkifli’s Rukun Negara series with the use of printed canvas strips overlaid to form visually full, hyper detailed surfaces. Until the production of Pahang Warrior, Zulkifli’s strip canvas works were in black and white, however these newer pieces show a breakthrough in color, with the usage of a bright palette across a monochromatic background. Large resin shapes decorate the surface of Wills 1975, not only infusing the piece with stronger colors but also creating interesting visual juxtapositions between the linear nature of typography printed canvas and graphic composition and the organic resin forms. The technical developments echo Zulkifli’s determination to constantly push the boundaries of his artistic practice, enabling him to develop new styles, which are a crucial mark of contemporary mixed media art.

Zulkifli is an eminent artist with the ability to successfully work across several mediums including painting, sculpture and installation. This talent has won him many major awards, such as the Major Award for Young Contemporaries at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur in both 1988 and 1989, three prizes at the third Salon in 1992 and an Honourable Mention in Painting in 1995 at the Philip Morris Awards. He has also been invited to participate in several key international exhibitions, predominantly at the Venice Biennale in 1997. Zulkifli has been 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, avidly collect his work. The strength of Zulkifli’s resounding critical acclaim mixed with the incredible beauty of his art clearly communicate his position as a highly respected senior contemporary Malaysian artist today.

 written by Zena Khan


artist              : Zulkifli Yusoff

type                : mixed media

dimension    : 213 x 184 cm

price               : RM 70, 000.00




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