A Decade of Collecting (Part I)
Wei-Ling Gallery celebrates it’s tenth year in September 2012 and to commemorate it’s decade in existence they have lined up an exciting list of exhibitions and will be publishing a book entitled, ‘A Decade of Collecting’, to mark it’s milestone year.
Wei-Ling Gallery, was set up by Lim Wei-Ling and Yohan Rajan in 2002 to showcase the works of Malaysian contemporary artists.
The gallery is located in a pre-war building in the edgy yet distinctive suburb of Brickfields. This area is one of the oldest settlements of Kuala Lumpur and is home to many residences, commercial entities and religious structures of different denominations.
The building is a historical and architectural landmark in itself as after it was razed by a fire in 2004, it was re-constructed by the award-winning architect, Jimmy Lim to house both Jimmy Lim Design (JLD) and the gallery. The refurbishment of the building garnered an architectural award for its innovation in adaptive re-use.
The focus of the gallery is to bring the best of contemporary art with a focus on Malaysian art, to the public and to share with art lovers and collectors alike artworks by some of the country’s most cutting-edge artists. The gallery’s program changes monthly and it has a large stockroom of works by their stable of artists on constant rotation.The gallery also represents foreign artists of international repute and has worked with revered Cuban artist Nelson Dominguez, the renowned Pakistani sculptor Amin Gulgee, celebrated Australian artist Stewart MacFarlane, the ground-breaking photographic works of Michal Macku and most recently hosted Indian maestro Paresh Maity’s first solo exhibition in Malaysia.
To encourage a better understanding of how and what to collect the gallery also places emphasis on educational talks and art investment and consultancy services and has advised on and procured major artworks for both private collectors and public institutions since its inception. The gallery is also the largest publisher of art books in Malaysia with over 80 titles to their name and has worked closely with numerous corporate sponsors, including UOB Bank, HSBC, Hong Leong Bank, Nipponpaint, Absolut Vodka, Bombay Sapphire and Siemens who have supported them in several projects over the years.
From 2006, Wei-Ling Gallery embarked on a bolder approach in bringing Malaysian contemporary art and the works of their represented artists to an international platform and has since taken exhibitions to Pakistan, India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. They have also participated in international art fairs being one of the first Malaysian galleries to do so.
In 2011, the gallery opened Wei-Ling Contemporary, their second space in Kuala Lumpur at The Gardens Mall. The new gallery serves as a satellite space and complements the gallery’s flagship in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
Wei-Ling Contemporary aims to bring down the barriers on art to make it more accessible to the public at large. To this end it has been creating more interactive events and exhibitions which reach out to a broader audience, as well as offer talks by artists and art professionals on topics which range from the thought processes of an artist; “What is contemporary art”? “Is art an Investment”? to “How to start an art collection”.
Wei-Ling Contemporary will be an art space with a difference as it brings real art by serious artists into the consciousness of Malaysians and allows people to see contemporary art from a new perspective.
Over the last ten years Wei-Ling Gallery has held more than 100 exhibitions at both at it’s galleries in Malaysia and at exhibitions spaces abroad.
In September 2012, two major group exhibitions by some of the country’s finest Malaysian artists will take place concurrently at the gallery’s two venues – Wei-Ling Gallery in Brickfields and their second gallery space, Wei-Ling Contemporary at The Gardens Mall.
A Decade of Collecting
To commemorate ten years in the industry the gallery with the support of United Overseas Bank Malaysia will be publishing a book entitled “A Decade of Collecting”.
This is a hard cover 200 page tome that will document some of the most important artworks that have been made over the decade (2002-2012) and highlights the development of the local art scene over the last ten years.
As a gallery in Malaysia, where there has not been much government support for the arts we have taken the initiative to make things happen, to create an environment which is stimulating for artists and collectors alike. In many ways we have taken on the role of a public institution much like a museum or a national gallery to promote art to the people of Malaysia to encourage them to appreciate and understand it.
This book is testament to our commitment to developing art in Malaysia as we want to show Malaysians and the world the spectacular artworks that have been produced by artists in the country.
As Asian Art is taking centre stage now we have invited some of the most influential and important writers and thinkers of Asian art to write essays to accompany the book. This book will serve as an important tool for collectors and people interested in contemporary Malaysian art as it is a comprehensive look at how the Malaysian art scene has developed over the last 10 years and our gallery’s role in that development.
Most importantly, it will provide a thorough overview of the Malaysian art scene-it’s most significant artists, the major artworks that have been created and how contemporary art has developed in Malaysia over the last ten years.
Now is the time for Asian art and the next 100 years will be a great milestone for Asia.”A Decade of Collecting” will be one of the most important books on Malaysian art for decades to come.
Part of the “Decade of Collecting” exhibition showing concurrently at Wei-Ling Gallery and Wei-Ling Contemporary
The first exhibition entitled ‘Timeless’ will feature 10 of the gallery’s represented artists and revolves around a theme which reflects its title. This exhibition challenges each artist to question the idea of what makes an artwork timeless and to look at Art that will withstand the test of time. What artworks have transcended time over the centuries and still appeal to our senses or have some sort of relevance today?
The future is anyone’s to tell, and we only know what has happened already but we are uncertain of what the future holds. This exhibition aims to examine what are the qualities of a timeless work of art.
For the artists, it will be an introspective, almost reflective, time, where they examine where they have come from in their artistic practice and what you think the next decade has in store for them. Essentially, the work they make for this exhibition should be made with the future in mind.
We hope that this project will continue in 10 years time when we collate all these artworks for the next decade exhibition to see which pieces still resonate then.
This excerpt from an interview with the art collector Christian Boros sums it up:-
“The difficult thing in buying contemporary art,” Boros continues, “is to be able tell the difference between works that are only contemporary, that reflect their time just like hip-hop music or fashion does, and those that will have a certain relevance in the future,” he says. “I was looking through a catalogue of Picasso’s late works recently, and although Picasso doesn’t interest me as a collector, I find these works so powerful, so relevant today, more than 30 years after he created them,” Boros continues. “A work of art that is made in 2006 should not only have relevance for 2006, it should have the potential to have relevance for 2016 and beyond,” he says. “And I think that one of the keys in making that distinction is to avoid works that are too slick, too easy.”
The participating artists for ‘Timeless’ are Anurendra Jegadeva, Ivan Lam, Choy Chun Wei, Yau Bee Ling, Chin Kong Yee, Kim Ng, Rajinder Singh, Zulkifli Yusoff, Hamidi Hadi and Chen Wei Meng.