|"Voice Without a Sound - Superpower 1' by Muhd Faizal Sidik|
By Victor Chin
Victor Chin , "Exploring Limit in Art", article of Young Contemporary 2003, Published by The Star , 26 January 2003
The visual art scene in KualaLumpur starting this year with the National Art Gallery, until Feb 16 . This biannual event is for Malaysian artista under 35 years old. Since 1974, this has been one og NAG's ways of grooming nurturing younger artists. This year's winners will receive their prizes tomorrow.But why is it still necessary to give this gathering a ranking order and make it an awards show? Is it not time we downplay the supremacy game?
There are 26 artists in this selection. These work were conceived after discussions between the finalist and the five judges. The young talents were compelled to use their artistic energies "to voice issues, to record idiosyncrasies, to tease ambition and to shape revelation". How do these contestants meet such a high calling for art and artists, especially as they have only just started their art career?
Walking into the exhibition, the dim and focused lighting creates a pseudo-religious setting, like you are entering some sacred sanctuary. What do you see? In today's expanded field of the arts, where anything can be art, what you see in these theatre like set-ups depends on the "light" you yourself throw on them.
Let us look at Yap Sau Bin's presentation entitled...who give birth to the Great White One... Red carpet material is fixed to the floor and runs up the wall. On the wall is ablank white canvas . A stand on castors holds up an empty white frame. Labels on both sides are deliberately illegible and, like most conceptual art, asks playful questions such as, :Who, exactly, is the Great White One? The art,the canvas, the frame, the walls?...those who judgehold it to ransom..."There are many practitioners in the show who ,like Yap, intend to replace passion in art with reason . I feel their works area often dry and remote, as in this piece.
Muhd Faizal Sidik's piece, entitled Voice Without A Sound: Superpower I, is a metal skeleton "vehicle" that has three "passengers"with small caged TV monitors for heads. The three screens show a silent looped video of close-ups of mouth opening and shutting. The word "IRAQ" is printed in the middle of a target sign on the driver's seat. A colour mask sits on the driver's seat. Of course , the caged heads and the word "IRAQ" may suggest the currentsituation at one of the world's many hot spots. But the tragicomedic events of this planet are usually beyond the capacity of this type of art objects to adequately address, aren't they?.
Perhaps artists ought to place their skill more within their own limits as well as that of arts' potential. This is what Abdul Multhalib Musa has done with his laser-cut mild steel hanging entitled By Default. This design is made up of thousands of piece of kris-shaped symbols. The largest kris is at the centre of this weave and is clearly made up of the smallest knives. This piece tome represent what is artistically vital, in term of design and production , in this exhibition . I do, however wonder what he means by his title.