Quite

Quite is a group show held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with five Singaporean and three Malaysian artists. The artists are Angela Chong, Ezzam Rahman, Stellah Lim, Nur Ain, Ghazi Alqudcy, Aswad Ameir, Azharr Rudin and Tan Hui Koon.

Aswad Ameir is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with painting, installations and objects. In Quite, Ameir built a white shrine in the style of an old wooden chapel much like the ones you’d see on a farm. Called Small Things, Ameir drew inspiration from Booker prize winner, Arundhati Roy’s fiction novel, God of Small Things. The work deals with childhood memories, safety and security one might feel stepping into a place of worship.

Aswad Ameir, Small Things, Installation, courtesy of Angela Chong

Azharr Ruddin who was originally trained in filmmaking molded a statue of a child complete with detailed facial features. He added a base container and filled it with corn starch, honey and strawberry to obtain a reddish-maroon color similar to the color of blood. In the sculpture, he inserted a tube and attached a motor to allow the water to pass through the body of the child and exit from a small hole which he made on the forehead. One look at the artwork and one will definitely be intrigued by the liquid and child standing atop of it. Looking more like a premature child, the liquid is actually edible and fellow artist, Angela Chong, whose installation-based artwork consist of a game with a prize where a cup of the red liquid is given to the winner. Azhar’s pre-occupation with blood, however sinister this may sound, is inspired by a film script he had written. In this script, a scene where the lead actor is having a seizure and vomiting blood on the floor, had stuck to his mind. His work in actual fact explores re-birth, renewal and death of the past.

Ghazi Alqudcy’s phone booth of interviews with three men of various ethnicities – Indian, Chinese and Malay made me cringe. These three men were recorded talking to the voice of a young woman who is about the age of fourteen. What the men don’t know is that it is Ghazi himself who is mimicking the voice of the young woman on the other end. Much like a phone sex chat service, the men reveal their deepest darkest secrets unknowingly to Ghazi who is recording them. The interviews are then installed into a dark blue phone booth to emphasize the sort of anonymity one wants when making calls to another person in order to hide their mobile numbers.

Ghazi Alqudcy, I am older than I was when we first got together, Installation, courtesy of Angela Chong

Trained as a jeweler, Stellah Lim’s objects are made from hair and objects from friends and close ones. She replicated these objects from people had been an influence on her with hair, and as a part of this installation, framed images of people without facial features. Representing her closest ones without facial features, Stellah’s work is talking about presence and absence. As a child,  Stellah would use hand-me-downs to invent what was happening in the other person’s mind. If she had a used textbook with notes in it, she wondered what the previous owner articulated as if he or she is beside her in class. Interestingly, this habit of owning used objects carried on into her adult life as Stellah had a habit of buying used items from eBay. She feels it is not purely a habit but a way of owning a product with a history in someone else’s life. Just like the frames she bought online to house her painted works, she described them as important objects that once held family portraits but ceased to function like it was before once the person/family member has passed on.

Quite was showing at The Annexe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia till 21st November 2010.

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