MY IDEAL ART SPACE
RAP was invited to take part in the Gallery W/O Walls project in September 2006, the project was feature in the November issue of Off The Edge magazine.
- It is likely that Marshall McLuhan's fame saying, "The Medium is the Message" would appeal highly to a technocratic mind that innovation of communication technology itself would be a deterministic factor of evolution in the way human connects with each other. Technological progress brings the message of advancement, of affluence, and influence.
I can't help but thinking about the concern of accessibility (i.e. the digital divide) and attempt of gate-keeping in the ever enticing electronic and digitized space (the internet for example) - as a place for cultural expression, social activism or mere personal engagement.
- Rumah Air Panas (R.A.P.) began as an artist studio in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur in 1997. It then turned into an art space collectively run by a group of willing artists in 2003, carrying out exhibitions, artist talk and forums. The activities were to explore and bring together visual arts and other cultural practices through collaboration in exhibition and project, documentation and exchange of ideas in discussion. The ideal is about supporting independent, aware and concerted artistic practice in engaging the artistic community and the art public.
Due to many reasons, the venue ceased operating in early 2006. Uncertainty with nearby highway development, organizational fatigue and lacking professional financial advice and administrative skill all came into play. Yet the initiative has moved on to become a registered association in August same year.
- Five artists from R.A.P were invited to examine the notion of art space. Is there a need for physical presence (for cultural practice)? Do we need a visible brick and mortar gallery, be it mobile (an art van?) or static as the one R.A.P used to have?
If we would toy with the idea a physical space as 'medium', in McLuhan sense or word, what message could it be? Take a cursory look of the available cultural spaces in our environment - or the lack thereof, some might differ - what message does it bring in regards the condition of our art spaces, activities, ecology?
To me, physical presence, visibility and real world engagement still appeals. There should be places of convergence, of human connecting with each other. A materialist romance maybe; but not in the technocrat's sense of mere announcing one's presence with physical edifice.
Hence, I ask my fellow artists once again "What is your ideal art space?"
What is my ideal art space? My ideal space for art? An ideal art space?
What is our ideal art space?
Yap Sau Bin
October 19th 2006 KL
CHONG KIM CHIEW
'SIGNAL (AT MRRII KEPONG JUNCTION)'
LIM KOK YOONG
'SPACE AS A PRACTICED SPACE'
ARTISTS BIO+STATEMENTS FOR 'MY IDEAL ART SPACE'
1. CHONG KIM CHIEW (b. 1975)
Chong graduated in 2001 from the Guongzhou Academy of Fine Art in China, majoring in Oil Painting. He focuses mainly in his art making, art critic practice and teaching. He has exhibited actively since 1994 and held his first solo show- Isolation House, at RAP in July 2005.
Title: 'SIGNAL (AT MRRII KEPONG JUNCTION)'
Art spaces should explore larger possibilities working with the corporate world, state institutions to propose project, idea, or even issue. The need for and emergence of art spaces, answer to artists' pursuit for new ways of working, of artistic language and mode of learning.
CHUAH CHONG YONG
2. CHUAH CHONG YONG (b. 1972)
Chuah received his art training from the Malaysia Institute of Art in year 1991-1993.
Chuah's initial subject was related to pre-war buildings, and preservation of cultural values and identity. He explores different art forms, and also collaborates with art practitioners of different disciplines.
Artists who complain about opportunity are those who don't understand the art ecology now. This is an announcement for an art-bridging project.
3. LIEW TECK LEONG (b. 1970)
Liew was trained in painting at the Malaysia Institute of Art. Besides practicing art, he is also a college art instructor, and writes as guest-reviewer occasionally. Liew's arts are mainly comments on social, cultural and political issues. His debut solo Anxiety Landscape was held at RAP in September 2004.
Title: 'SWALLOW (THE RE-ENCHANTMENT OF ART)'
Swallowing talisman in the Taoist practice brings spiritual strength.
So is the presence of art spaces a spiritual power to our social environment. The continuous ingestion of talisman, much like the relentless push for and realisation of art spaces is where the enchanting art spirits endure.
The series 'Do As I command' (Jit Jit Luet Ling) takes on the issue of cultural hegemony, of finding a place for the marginal in this multicultural country. The meanings work in two fold:
1. As "cultural symbol" which suggests continuation and extensions.
2. As spiritual power in "religious symbol", like the spirits of art, through repetitive summon brings forth spiritual strengthening.
LIM KOK YOONG
4. LIM KOK YOONG (b.1980)
AKA Wing, Lim received his Master degree in Fine Arts from Norwich School of Art and Design, in the UK in 2005. He lectures on New Media subjects at the Multimedia University, but with art practice ranges from painting to more critically, conceptual work in form of installation and performance.
Title: 'TRUE NORTH' and 'SPACE AS A PRACTICED SPACE'
We don't have a home but a 'home'page.
Remember, if you're really going to surf, you need to know which way is up!
True North is a universal abstraction. True North is an imaginary straight line between you and the geographic North Pole, that theoretical dot at the top of the globe. Even perceptual device like compass cannot provide you your true bearing if you do not work out the angular variation between the True North and the Magnetic North. Having said that, for the changing nature of Earth's magnetic field, it is impossible to accurately predict what the field will be at any point in the very distant future. Even compass needs correction as you travel through space & time. This bizarre phenomenon further advocates the transient existence and location of beings. I wonder where we are at this point of time?
In electronic space, you are given a great freedom of movement; navigation through the sea of information can get really far. But we are all being confined in space & time when system crashes, device malfunctions, power goes down, unstable bandwidth and other unpredictable failures. This mobile phone-turned-compass is merely a metaphor of freedom and confinement.
Orientation is perhaps the answer to this dilemma of direction. An ideal space is a practiced space! Same goes to cyberspace. Faith will bring us home/ North.
With a slight wit, this work somehow illustrates the current predicament of RAP members looking for home! :
5. PHUAN THAI MENG ((b. 1974)
A painting graduate from the Malaysia Institute of Art in 1996, Phuan has won numerous awards including Juror's Choice in 2000 and Honorable Mention in 2003 for the Philip Morris Malaysian - Asean Art Awards. Active in organizing events and projects, he has also involved in theatre installation design and production.
Statement:It is a phenomenon common to independent art spaces
It is an embodiment of artistic thinking
It is a principle of growth/development
It is an artistic mind-set
It is my hope towards these independent art spaces
Without destruction there can be no construction
From dissolving to restructuring
(One cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs)
PHUAN THAI MENG
LIEW TECK LEONG
'SWALLOW (THE RE-ENCHANTMENT OF ART)'