Chin Kong Yee & Volker Hamann

In April 2007, Wei-Ling Gallery brings you “(EYE)-llusions”, an exhibition that came about after two artists from opposite ends of the globe, met and realized that although they came from completely different cultures, they somehow shared similar ideologies and outlooks towards their art. They became friends, and decided to create their own cross-over activities in each other’s respective parts of the world. Chin Kong Yee hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Volker Hamman from Stuttgart, Germany.

In December 2005, Volker Hamann, a photographer, spent two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend the wedding of a friend and in April 2006, Chin Kong Yee, one of Malaysia’s most exciting contemporary artist and photographer spent four weeks on a train traveling through the “Old Continent” – Toulouse, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Vienna.

In this exhibition, we encounter the documentation of two journeys: Chin Kong Yee’s paintings of his second visit to Europe and the photographs of Hamann’s first visit to Malaysia. Continuing on from a two man show held in Stuttgart, Germany in May 2006, this exhibition once again brings together these two artists but this time in Malaysia.

Ricarda Geib the curator of the exhibition in Germany wrote:
“Two artists, two ways of life, and two cultures are brought into dialogue with one another. Both are freed from a logical, argumentative structure but are instead juxtaposed against each other in a bid to see thorough the mundane into the essence of the experience that each encountered on their journeys”.

Volker W. Hamann’s visit to Malaysia in the winter of 2005 did not result in pleasant photographs. His images confront us with another reality, unveil polar tensions, and sensitively capture a fascinating picture of the exotic. We have the tendency to view a journey as a rapid change to a more or less arbitrary place. One gets onto a plane and exchanges one place for another. In former times, traveling was a radical experience that not only demanded a readiness for adventure, but also organizational skill and patient preparation. Even when a journey was sometimes characterized by hardship and privation, the enticement of the fully new and unexpected outweighed the negatives. Travel always serves as a useful comparison of the known with the unknown, the familiar with the strange. A way to journey as a person, to renew one’s body and soul.

Chin Kong Yee’s paintings display his continuous search to capture his own experience of a time and place. The linear structure of his images appears to mock all traditional rules of painting. His compositions testify to a high level of confidence, in which the artist frees himself from his everyday vision. They are photographic montages, he delivers parcels of reality. With a surrealistic spirit, he works with multiple perspectives and superimposes objects and layers (so that the borders between fantasy and reality are blurred). His particular concentration is on the city square and street as anonymous places of constant motion and meeting. His view is that of a distant observer, or he sets himself in the middle of the brightly lit city. In this way, he succeeds in dramatizing and intensifying his subject, aggressive – also in terms of color – and exciting at the same time, just as in the city itself.

Stuttgart with its art museum and Königsbau appears as a place without clear contours, stairs and facades are distorted, passers-by appear out of the blue, are comical figures, who – like on St. Peter’s Square – are interwoven in each other. Bicycles resemble bent lanterns, objects are not subject to gravitational laws. The light gives the pictures a warm climate, a specific aura that fuses the real and the fictional together. Through layering and reflection, a specific type of photography develops that reminds one of the film medium. The computer-assisted editing is not concealed, rather it is used in a virtuosic manner: the images capture everything within the artist’s field of vision, as if he could simultaneously see above, below, right, and left. Comparable to a fish-eye lens, the photos show a spherical perspective that presents everything as bizarre and almost soft, as if it could melt away. Occasionally, someone from the crowd looks directly at the camera, perhaps unnoticed and unintentional, and breaks the illusion of the photographer as the unobserved observer.

A high degree of self-reflection is characteristic of both artists – no clichés, no “typical” pictures. They confront us with changing realities and portrait the image of the stranger in their artworks. But this stranger is never just one image, it is many images, because the image of the stranger is also an image of one’s self.

“(EYE)-llusions” features at Wei-Ling Gallery from 16th April 2007-10th May 2007. Wei-Ling Gallery is located at No.8 Jalan Scott, Brickfields K.L. 50470
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 12 noon – 7pm.
Saturdays 11am – 5pm.
Tel: 03-22601106/0178877216 Fax: 03-22601107
Email: esmelimweiling@yahoo.com
Admission is free.