“And at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive
where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Kim Ng and I, besides being artists, share an experience. We have both lived abroad and after a lifetime have returned to live and work in the country of our birth. It is through the eyes of a fellow returnee that I have studied his images over these last few years. We live in an age of movement: emigration, immigration, displacement.

Inevitably, change occurs. This country is experiencing great changes in attitudes, a raising of consciousness, a sense of empowerment. Artists, naturally, are busy reflecting this in myriad ways. For Kim Ng it is about losing ‘Place’, but, with his alchemy, rediscovering it in his own deconstructed spaces.

This body of work is about Malaysia. These works include the suggestion of the human form. There are the multicoloured works and the monochromatic.

Kim Ng is a scavenger. He gathers objects and images from everywhere and hoards them for future use. He is a master in the disciplines of printmaking but he follows his instincts throwing the unlikely together and creating an elegant chaos. Kim Ng is a printmaker who is able to use the flexibility of the medium to break the boundaries. Some of the work is painterly and even sculptural. He prefers to be an object maker.

Walking along a wall of ‘Kim Ngs’ is like strolling down a road in the tropical sun. Bright Kubrik light assaults the eyes but the retina registers certain vignettes that etch themselves into the mind. This happens especially with the monochromatic pieces. There is a thread of melancholy running through them. Displacement pervades these images, for the human forms look temporary and unsure of their status in the composition. These shadows could likely vanish as we pass them. Are we intruding in this space? Are human beings objects within that space? In ‘The ground we share’ the figures are between the unknown and a hard place. There is unease and tension in the human texture. Are we able to share?

In a room of Kim Ng’s work one is presented with a compendium of questions and a series of sights full of ambiguity. There is a sense of longing for vanished moments. So he constructs and deconstructs, Kim Ng builds a palimpsest of colour and texture. The ugly and the beautiful try to cancel each other out. The images evolve. Memories are jolted by traces of old architecture, the postures of backstreet denizens. Here is a ‘welcome home’ feast of visual ‘Madeleines’.

Izan Tahir, February 2009