Asian Art Biennial 2015 – Artist Making Movement
Yesterday in a Padded Room
Anurendra Jegadeva

Anurendra Jegadeva’s ‘Yesterday in a Padded Room’ features in its entirety within a four-sided padded room at the Asian Art Biennale at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art in Taichung. The 2015 Asian Art Biennale is curated by Iris Shu Ping Hwang and features 28 selected artists and collectives from 16 Asian countries.
Anurendra Jegadeva represents Malaysia at the Asian Art Biennale 2015.

Yesterday in a Padded Room 2015
Anurendra Jegadeva

Anurendra Jegadeva is one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists who has exhibited actively for over 25 years both locally and internationally. As an artist, writer and independent curator, he is interested in the issues of difference that drives the world around him and has worked consistently to forge effective and fresh narrative approaches to the contemporary and historical themes in his work.

With his work Yesterday, in a Padded Room… Anurendra draws from the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (حكاية مروڠ مهاوڠسا ), also known as The Kedah Annals, a work of Malay literature that chronicles the bloodline off Merong Mahawawangsa and the foundation of the province of Kedah, a state in Malaysia.

This earliest known Malay literary work, is thought to have been written in the late 18th century. While it is written around historical accuracies, there are also many incredible assertions that enrich his aesthetic exploration of particular themes in the epic narrative.

The era covered by the text ranged from the opening of Kedah by Merong Mahawangsa, allegedly a descendant of Alexander the Great of Macedonia till the acceptance and dominance of Islam over an existing Hindu presence.

Using a blend of painted thrones thrones and 204 customized cushions, Anurendra creates a war room, imagining the negotiations between Hindu deity Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu and the Prophet Solomon or Sulayman the Wise recognized in the Quran as a prophet and a divinely appointed monarch.

Through this room installation, Anurendra attempts to convey the duality of tensions and confrontational differences that still dominate the social, political and religious contexts of a world that continues to drift further away from sanity with every passing day.

Anurendra studied Art and Design at Oxford Polytechnic in 1986 before reading law at London University and doing his Masters in Fine Art at Monash University.

The Asian Art Biennale 2015
The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) will present the fifth Asian Art Biennial from September 19, 2015. Under the direction of staff curator Ms. Iris Huang, this exhibition proposes the theme Artist Making Movement. It reflects on the restlessness and instability observed in today’s Asian society, with these anxious movements coming from people’s feelings of discontent with life, dissipation of the so-called small happiness, a sense of comfort zone, and also security mechanism failures. The existing institutions can no longer stand up to the challenges in reality, causing different phenomena that reveal the current state of Asian contemporary culture, which is in the midst of reforming its system of governance for the everyday life, with new order and relationships pursued and attempts exerted at subverting social power allocation.

Facing these extreme changes in Asia, using art to examine today’s system of survival and taking part in the construction of the present history of life in Asia are important discourses explored by artists. As the theme Artist Making Movement suggests, the ability to make (create) and to move symbolizes Asian contemporary art is straying from how it was perceived in the past, as a static noun, and it is transitioning into a verb of assertive actions. This progression denotes Asian contemporary culture’s active function and the stance taken for the actualization of art, with actions exerted for creating a new chapter in Asian history and to break away from stagnant forms and systems. Through their active interventions in reality and also their awareness for life, artists have become more assertive with using art to instigate changes, with the belief that personal creative endeavors can become movements with social effects. Artist Making Movement intends to project these active efforts that are shaping Asia’s future.

The cultural significance with Artist Making Movement involves giving feedbacks and overturning Asia’s current problematic conditions. Looking at the art practices and creative formats observed in the recent years, Asian artists have already broken free from their confining historical identity, and with tangible actions taken in creating a sense of social mission through self-awakening, they devote themselves in raising and reacting to issues in Asia. Asia’s cultural development and art now place more focus on “personal value and cultural identity”, “localized experience and differentiated practice”, “expression and discussion of public issues”, with emphasis placed on new value systems such as individual creativity and self-production. Mechanism subverting qualitative changes are assertively initiated by personal perceptual innovations generated via self-actualization. This signifies the rethinking and making of a new cultural system in Asia, and this is something that is currently happening, with the vision that Asians hold for the future reflected in their active anticipations and actions.

Artist Making Movement: 2015 Asian Art Biennial is scheduled to officially open from September 19 at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and will include artworks by more than 30 contributing artists. This year’s biennial continues to encompass a diversity of genres, including painting, sculpture, installation, sound, video, performance and action-based art, with artworks selected to reflect this year’s theme, Artist Making Movement.

In addition to the exhibition, Asian art and curatorial symposiums will be held on the weekend following the opening, with scholars invited to conduct discussions on the subject of Asia’s cultural diversity.