Through a compelling and daring series of nine new pieces, Lam draws contemplations on the thin line between what is genuine in existence, and what appears no further than an illusion of the absolute reality. In a world driven by multiplying sources, and in a time where fact weaves with fiction, knowledge mélanges with rumours, and truth confounds with hoax, where would you place yourself amidst this turmoil? Where do you want to start believing and how far would you go?
In this series, Lam interestingly engages his contemporary practice with one of the oldest traditions in Western oil painting, that is, the “Nature Morte”, universally known under the term “still life”, in which artists are to copy inanimate subject matters – either natural as of flowers, or man-made such as vases and drinking glasses.
It was once believed that “the creator” of our universe granted artists with talent in the mission to glorify his creations, and that artists are to replicate the beauty and truth of the reality, in order to convey sense of appreciation. Nonetheless, what eventually stopped artists from sustaining this concept and place themselves in the role of “the creators” instead? Since when did artists aspire to go beyond imitating? In this series, Lam challenges himself to return to the roots of what used to define an artist in the classical era. Stepping back and away from his ego, he places himself as an “outsider” of his own work. As he voluntarily self-positions in the “cliché of a painter, Lam questions what it means to lose oneself in the service of others, as what the titles chosen by his mother seem to likewise resonate; Always Waiting, Be Thankful, Looking Up to You, Just for You, Depending On You, At Your Good Service, Tempus Fugit (Time flies), Inspirations and Dedication.
Nine paintings of bouquets and stone are arrayed on the walls of the gallery, amongst them is placed a piece of marble – a metamorphic rock known and valued since the Ancient Greek, that maintains its importance and value until the present. He attempts to immortalize the impermanent flowers, by painting their exact forms and colours into perfection – as if wanting them to last for eternity. All in all, our society has always relied on the romantic vision of holding on to “forever”. As Plato and Aristotle defended, a work of art is a reflection of the nature and is therefore a “mimesis” – an attempt to imitate or reproduce reality. Although the theory may sound distant from what the contemporary art leans on, Lam reapplies this model using his personal modus, as a way to bring up discussions on the concept of “faux” – a phenomenon that projects strong proximities with the flow and reception of information in the contemporary world we live in. When the real and the artificial are displayed next to one another, when we arrive to a condition where we can hardly differ truth and lie, would you stop believing?
Wei-Ling Contemporary is proud to present ‘FAUX’, a solo exhibition by Ivan Lam, one of Malaysia’s most progressive artists, who has played a far-reaching role in bringing the country’s contemporary art scene forward. In 2018, he was part of a group exhibition of leading Malaysian artists, ‘Teh Tarik With The Flag’, curated by Wei-Ling Gallery at the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia. In the same year, he had his solo exhibition entitled ‘HYMEN’. He was featured in the South China Morning Post as part of an international group show named ‘Seen’, organized at Wei-Ling Contemporary. In 2017, he presented a performance work, ‘Curating Human Experiences: Human Experience 66:06:06’ in Kuala Lumpur, and was the only artist from Malaysia invited to create a project for the Karachi Biennale.
‘FAUX’ is featured at Wei-Ling Contemporary from 21st February to 2nd April 2019.
Wei-Ling Contemporary is located at RT01 Sixth Floor, The Gardens Mall, 59200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm.
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