S.E.A FOCUS 2022
Wei-Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, is pleased to announce its participation in the third edition of S.E.A. FOCUS exhibition, featuring five selected artworks by Malaysian contemporary artist Sean Lean. Lean’s work often deals with the issues of fragmented identities and the contradictions between traditionally Eastern values that he was brought up with, and the lure of Western popular culture that he is exposed to. He traces social, political, and religious tensions, disparities, and engages with stories that have shaped the collective memory of his region. Despite the seriousness of the issue, elements of humour often find their way into his practice.
Through his latest solo exhibition, ‘M2’ in 2020, Sean Lean encapsulated the struggle and tension of his relationship with his cultural identity, considering the vast variety of influences that affects it. Compared to the previous series ‘Motherland’ (2015), ‘M2’ saw Lean dive deeper into the crux of his obsession with his own contradictory cultural past. The works in the series drew references that present us with this exploration into his cultural self, such as typically East Asian iconography, yet adopting an unconventional medium such as automotive paint on steel. It is in these juxtapositions that we see the core of Lean’s exploration into his relationship with culture. It is a struggle that many relate to, particularly in a postcolonial Malaysia, where the idea of a unilaterally Malaysian identity is so vast and varied, and so affected by race, creed and social standing, that the tensions of conflicting cultural identities reveal their urgency.
In 2018, he was one of 6 artists from around the world commissioned by KENZO, in collaboration with Tiger Beer and WWF to work on a project called Rare Stripes – a collection of garments inspired by actual stories of wild tiger. Sean Lean’s design of Kamrita is very apt, as it showcases three sets of paw prints in different colours, signifying the Himalayan tigress with her two cubs walking through the forest floor. For years, Kamrita was “WWF’s adopted tiger and a symbol of hope for her whole species”. The collection was unveiled at the Ginza Six KENZO store in Tokyo, and was available in limited collection. He was also commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar to create a cover specially for Bazaar Art magazine in 2017.
Under S.E.A. FOCUS’ Projector X screening programme, the gallery is pleased to present a curated selection of videos highlighting the works of critical Southeast Asian artists Ivan Lam, Rajinder Singh, and Dadang Christanto.
Inspired by his experience of being under the lockdown, Ivan Lam produced three short black-and-white animations entitled Necessity (2020-2021) that encapsulates his everyday life and the idea of the mundane. Ivan Lam has earned a reputation as one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists for his continuous ability to push the boundaries of his art practice. Dualities and dichotomies abound within his conceptual works, both harmoniously and in tension, underpinning his enquiries on popular culture, current affairs, art history and autobiography.
Rajinder Singh single-channel video works Pilgrimage (2018) and Knot (2019) present his movement-based experimentation, dedicated to the vulnerable body and its pain and the gestures and movements it inspires. Rajinder Singh is a Malaysian artist who holds an enduring interest in South Asian magico-religious belief systems, and the shape and space that they deny us. His art practice is multifaceted, as he explores the variety of ways the human body unfolds at the intersections of the world of the otherworldly and the dynamics of global modernity.
The documentary GRIT (2018), directed by Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade, follows the victims of a heavy mudflow in East Java, believed to have been caused by an irresponsible drilling for natural gas in 2006. This documentary also highlights the making of Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto’s monumental work Survivors (2014), consisting 110 cement sculptures that represent the victims of the mudflow. These figures are silent, nothing is spoken, as if to portray the fact that the voices of these villagers remain unheard. Throughout his career, Christanto has produced a body of works that honours the countless victims of political violence and crimes against humanity.
Vernissage (by invitation only)
13 Jan. 2022 Thursday / 17:00-21:00
VIP Preview (by invitation only)
14 Jan. 2022 Friday / 12:00–20:00
15 Jan. – 22 Jan. 2022 / 13:00-20:00
23 Jan. 2022 / 13:00-17:00
Address: S.E.A. Focus 2022
Tanjong Pagar Distripark
39 Keppel Rd
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