Portrait of young artists
By THO XIN YI
Photos by KIMBERLY YEO
BE gentle when you step into Core Design Gallery. You do not want to interrupt the “man” who is “watching” the television in the living room.
As you tiptoe past him, look up and you will see another “man” attempting to climb up to the first floor. Curiously, there he has no feet.
The spooky setting is further enhanced with fake spider webs draped around the pillars and walls near the kitchen.
Happy couple: Nizam going with his sculpture Guardian Angel.
These are the props used by curator Scarlette Lee in the gallery’s latest exhibition titled Ahmad Scissorhand, a localised adaptation of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorshand.
“Burton’s films are gothic but fun. He uses a lot of imagination to bring his characters to life.
“I wanted to see it in the Malaysian context by having young Malaysian artists exploring the theme,” Lee explained.
Sixteen artists, in their 20s and 30s, were roped in to produce the peculiar yet creative art pieces, including paintings, sculptures, installations, sketches and electronic arts.
Bound by taboos: Syafiq Hariz with his painting, “The Fool.”
Raja Lope Rasydi Raja Rozlan, 39, examined human’s greatest fears in life through his panting Behind My Wall I.
Various creatures peeped through an opening in the white brick wall, signifying the phobias hidden within a person.
He combined the fear of spiders and clowns into a clown-faced spider dangling from a corner, and the fears of height and flying into a half-human, half-hummingbird creature sitting lonely on a brick.
The fear of snakes and worms were depicted through a winged creature which body is made up of wriggling worms.
An alien-looking sprite with a fish skeleton swimming in an inverted bowl on top of its head represented the fears of confined spaces and being trapped underwater.
“I wish to present the ‘fight-or-flight’ theory in this painting. Do we fight — identify and deal with the fears, or flee — ignore them and hide them deep inside us?” Raja Lope Rasydi said.
A collaboration between Hilal Mazlan and Syafiq Ali’am resulted in an artpiece featuring a mechanical hand reaching out and appearing to be controlling the human mind, which was represented by a skull.
LED, pendaflour lamp, bolts and nuts and acrylic sheet were among the materials used.
“Although technology helps us improve our lives, we rely too much on it.
“Handphone is one good example. We don’t memorise phone numbers anymore, so when we lose our phones, we are stuck in a limbo,” Syafiq explained.
The duo sourced their inspirations from Swiss surrealist H. R. Giger, who is well-known for his representation of human bodies and machines in an interconnected relationship dubbed “biomechanical”.
“The message that we want to convey through this artwork is, don’t let the technology control you,” Syafiq, 28, said.
Meanwhile, Raja Azeem Idzham raised eyebrows with the media used to produce his sketches, Lakar Raksasa & Arkologi I (Monster and Arcology Sketches I).
The description next to the painting reads, “Ink, blood and coffee on paper”.
“My gums were bleeding when I was sketching these, so I just dabbed some blood onto the papers.
“I’m a coffee lover and the idea of using coffee in my artwork just came to me randomly,” Azeem, 29, said.
A sketch of a human in a pensive pose was surrounded by eight other A5-sized sketches of monsters.
“The human represents our souls while the monsters are manifestations of our own behaviour,” he explained.
Arcology, according to Raja Azeem, refers to the design of self-contained hypothetical megastructure for humans to live in the future.
“Raksasa is what we are and arkologi is what we need,” he elaborated on the theme of his sketches.
Do take note of the words written on the sketches, for they reflected Raja Azeem’s thoughts.
Syafiq Hariz Mohamad Sakor’s whimsical painting stood out from the rest of the dark, gloomy creations.
It showed a plump man engaging in a tightrope walking act. Tied to his waist were an iPad and a teddy bear.
Flashing his dental braces, the man had a stalk of hibiscus clenched in his teeth. A thin arm wrapped around his neck to hold a masquerade mask for him.
“I name this painting ‘The Fool’ to explain this satirical character, who would be all over the news should he walk on the street like this.
“However, he is a reflection of ourselves - the people who are bound by taboos and limited by boundaries in this multicultural society,” Syafiq Hariz, 26, said.
Meanwhile, Nizam Abdullah’s sculpture, Guardian Angel, showed a happy couple flanked by their guardian angels.
“I believe each artwork contains hints of what’s happening in the artist’s life during the time of creation.
“In my case, I did this when I was preparing my wedding in April, and I felt I have ‘angels’ helping me through,” the 31-year-old said.
The exhibition ends June 17.
Core Design Gallery is located at 87, Jalan SS15/2A, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor. Opening hours are 10am to 7pm daily. For details, call 03-5612 1168.
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