The Star, 10 November 2008
Artists challenge to come up with pieces that depict particular values
by Tan Karr Wei
WHEN Wei-Ling Gallery shifted to its current location at 8, Jalan Scott, Kuala Lumpur, in 2005, the new premises was launched with the 18@8 exhibition.
The exhibition was a showcase of the 18 contemporary Malaysian artists who represented the gallery.
“Since then, it has become an annual show. We took the exhibition to Karachi in 2006 to give the artists some international exposure,” explained gallery director Lim Wei-Ling.
Lim was compiling her list of artists for 2008 and she came up with nine people.
“So I thought of asking each artist to come up with two works. I played around with that idea and came up with the theme ‘Vice & Virtue’,” said Lim.
Each artist had to pick randomly from a list of nine vices and virtues.
In the vice list were the seven deadly sins – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride – with hatred and intolerance thrown in.
On the other list were justice, courage, wisdom, moderation, faith, hope, love, charity and truth.
Lim said the concept was a challenge to the artists and they came up with interesting pieces that captured the essence of the values given to them while maintaining their respective styles.
“Chin Kong Yee had to paint faith and hatred and he presented hatred in his piece Shadows, which has a scenery of a beautiful place. If you have hatred, you can be in the most beautiful place in the world yet that hate follows you,” said Lim.
Chin used the fish-eye technique that is prominent in many of his works.
He produced an engrossing portrayal of faith in his 60cm by 300cm piece titled Batu Caves, which depicts a group of people making their way uniformly to the temple to pray and make offerings.
“If you walk along this painting, you would feel as though you were walking with these people,” said Lim.
In the piece Gaiking Open Face, Ivan Lam painted a robot with its mouth sewn up, while the stomach was replaced with a gigantic mouth.
“People usually eat through their mouths but with greed, the food goes right into the stomach,” said Lim.
Izan Tahir did an interesting twist with her values, hope and pride.
Representing hope was an installation art of a cigarette box with the warning “Too much hope can be bad for your health” on the sides of the box.
“She’s saying that hope is not necessarily a good thing. For pride, she made three war T-shirts, which translates to pride for one’s country, which is a positive thing,” said Lim.
Another interesting piece to look out for is Noise of Passionate Chaos by Choy Chun Wei to symbolise gluttony.
Its mish-mash of fierce colours with splashes of red did shout out chaos.
Look more closely at the art work and you will find tiny cutouts from brochures and menus with names of food on them – a nice echo of what gluttony stands for.
The other artists in the exhibition are Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Anurendra Jegadeva, Umibaizurah Mahir, Yau Bee Ling and Zulkifli Yusoff.
18@8: Vice & Virtue is on display until Nov 13 at Wei-Ling Gallery, 8 Jalan Scott, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur (tel: 03-2260 1106). Opening hours: noon to 7pm (Mondays to Fridays); 10am to 5pm on Saturdays; and Sundays by appointment.