Kenapamu, Malaysia? (II)

This photographic work is a continuation from the previous 'Kenapamu, Malaysia? (I)' (2014) that was first made for my last solo exhibition in Singapore. I was invited to participate in the exhibition Eagles Fly, Sheep Flock - Biographical Imprints: Artistic Practices in Southeast Asia, curated by Khim Ong for the ARtStage Singapore 2015. An image of this work went viral, and certain groups of people were not very pleased with the work.


Kenapamu, Malaysia? (I)

Kenapamu, Malaysia? (i); 2014.

The last (and only) time I visited the Tugu Negara (National Monument) was when I was brought there on a school bus. I remember my mum packing me sandwiches for this school excursion. Details of its history was not clear, but the message was clear: men suffered and died for the peace you enjoy in this country. It left an impression in me that 'we made it'. We have managed to pull through certain adversities to get us where we are today.

When I decided to visit it again recently, I was surprised to realize that as you approach it from the main entrance, you are greeted by the back of the Tugu. You would have to walk around it in order to face it. I was taken aback by this approach, and the experience made me think of how I feel about living in this country today. I made a few shots from this angle that was eventually used as the exhibition image for my previous solo at Silverlens@Gillman Barracks, Singapore.


Impropaganda (2014)

"A stack of broadsheets emptied of text, it reduces the newspaper medium to its cold reality as space for rent, a form of real estate mapped according to the design of commercial and political interests." 
- by RogueArt.

The idea for Impropaganda (2104) was conceived a couple of years ago, but I was only ready to produce this work for my last solo, "Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah/This Day In History" curated by RogueArt and held at Silverlens@Gillman Barracks, Singapore. Newspaper is only another everyday material. Useful for many reasons, except providing any form of information that is good for you. This work is based entirely on a local newspaper, Utusan Malaysia - known for its pro-government-racial slurs. If these kind of publications are allowed in this country to spread hatred and racism on a national scale, why are our government penalizing individuals who speak out against them.

photographs courtesy of Silverlens Galleries

Roundabout (2014)

Another attempt at drawing circles: Roundabout is made with tire marks from a motorcycle. The act of spinning a motorbike on a single point, made famous by our own notorious motorcycle gangs, locally known as Mat Rempits. In a country where road replaces rivers, trees make way for concrete towers and automobiles behave like animals; this is our landscape now.

photograph courtesy of Silverlens Galleries


One Hundred Years & Pictures of You (in collaboration with Martin Constable)

In 2014, I was invited by artist-curator, Mr Hoo Fan Chon, to participate in a group show entitled "Fall Into The Sea To Become An Island". This exhibition, a mix of local and foreign artists, was held at Run Amok Gallery in Georgetown, Penang.

I took this opportunity to invite Mr Martin Constable to collaborate with me on a new work.

The results are two videos based on the paintings of Captain Robert Smith (1787-1873), that are now housed in the Penang state museum. A Superintending Engineer posted to Penang between 1814-15, Smith made a series of landscape paintings of the Prince of Wales' island (as Penang was known then). Together with my collaborator/s, we managed to relocate the places of which the paintings, The Cascade and View from Convalescent Bungalow, were based on; and captured video footages of how it is today. 

One Hundred Years (2014)

One Hundred Years (2014)
*click on image to be redirected to video on YouTube

Pictures of You (2014)

Pictures of You (2104)
*click on image to be redirected to video on YouTube


Karya Ahmad Bahaya

'The keris, a weapon and spiritual object from Malay culture, has been loaded with political significance as a symbol of Malay rights and power.' (Ms.Eva McGovern)

Casted in silicon rubber, I have kept this idea to myself for quite some time. I have to admit that I have my reservations about making and presenting these kind of works - especially in Malaysia. But it is these kinds of ideas and works that keep gnawing at the back of my mind, insisting to be presented. For my previous solo, YOU ARE HERE@vwfa.kl, it seem fitting for this idea to finally be exhibited. 

This work is dedicated to the likes of Awang Selamat, the 'the collective pen name for the Umno-owned Malay daily’s editors'. Selamat = Safe. Sure its safe hiding behind a pen name jeering at others  thinking no one knows who you are. To you, Mr.Selamat, I dedicate this (eng. translate) Very Dangerous Piece.  

Keeping Up With The Abdullahs 1 & 2

Also part of my previous solo in vwfa.kl; Keeping Up With The Abdullahs are two photographs of  a chinese and an indian family,  all dressed in traditional Malay costumes posed in front of their kampung baru (new village) house. For the past few years, my thoughts have revolved around Malaysia and Malaysians. This country have been built on the unity of all races; and for the past 55years, we have celebrated our cultural differences freely. But currently, there appears to be a political trend of separating the Malays from the the rest, sometimes even using religion as a desperate scare tactic. I feel that these irresponsible actions of a few can have very dangerous results for the future of Malaysia. So with these photographs, I am presenting a false/forced sense of assimilation in order to highlight this issue...hopefully injected with some humor. :) 

Keeping Up With The Abdullahs 2
Keeping Up With The Abdullahs 1
*Although not visible in these documentations, the final pieces are framed in plastic gilded frames with a brass plate engraving: MALAYSIANS (in Cantonese and Tamil, but written in Jawi). Thank you ePhoto Media for all the fantastic work on the prints - and also for the installation shot below. 


Executive Properties (2012)

These photographs are digitally manipulated to insert iconic buildings of Kuala Lumpur into the view of derelict spaces, also found in the same city. What can i say about these rather self-explanatory photographs? I guess it seems to be somewhat of a 'trend' to imagine a dystopian future of our country. I admit, a rather bleak and passe perception - especially considering this exciting time of change in the current Malaysian political landscape. These photographs were done for my previous solo, YOU ARE HERE @ vwfa.kl in June 2012 (curated by Ms.Eva McGovern). 

Architecturally Designed
Breathtaking City View
24-hours Security
Exquisite Eco Living
Strategic Location


Farewell to Format (2012)

Farewell to Format VI

"The rapid development of technology has led to the abandonment of numerous analogue formats in favour of digital and high definition electronics. Relegated to nostalgia and history, such items act as a metaphor for the passing of time and value systems in today’s fast paced society." - Ms. Eva McGovern (curator)

Farewell to Format V
Farewell to Format IX
Farewell to Format VIII
Farewell to Format IV
Farewell to Format VII
Farewell to Format III

From my June 2012 solo exhibition, You Are Here, held at (the now defunct) vwfa.kl, I've exhibited a new series of light boxes: Farewell to Format. Slick and slim in its production, these aluminium-CCFL light boxes displayed photographed reflections of switched-off tv boxes. The warped distortions are created by the reflections on the curved surface of old box television sets. So it was of no coincidence that the places I find these box tvs are in old-styled environments; electrical repair shops, small town hospitals, salons, old coffeeshops, etc. It was important for me that the audience standing in front of these lightboxes will see their own reflections in the work.

Farewell to Format 1 (installation view)
Farewell to Format I


Executive Property series (KLCC)

This work was initially developed for my upcoming solo show at vwfa.kl this coming June. But during one of our conversations, Eva (McGovern, curator and creative partner) suggested for it to be included in her Wawasan show in vwfa.sg in March 2012. So here is a sort of preview piece from my upcoming show.


Jigsaw Circuit

Last year I made a few of these videos. cutting out different Formula1 circuits with a jigsaw...why? because not all boys turn into old men. :)


Work-in-progress: Kuala Lumpur Map


This is the first time i will be posting a work before its completed, but i NEED YOUR HELP. I am collecting hand drawn maps from anyone and everyone in Kuala Lumpur*. If you are from KL, or have spent some time here, could you please send me your hand drawn maps of the city. focus on any area you want. draw the area around your home, or your workplace, anywhere you are most familiar with. don't worry if its correct, and please feel free to add in any landmarks you wish. ..

if possible, please draw your maps on blank pieces of paper, scan them in (or take a good clear photo of it) and email it to vincent.email@gmail.com

Thank you!

Day 31: After a much needed break away from this city, I return to you with this map. Special thanks to fellow visual artists of kL I met at a recent gallery opening. With over a hundred maps collected, it is really starting to take shape. Especially happy when the roads start to meet between maps; like in the mess of Jalan Duta spaghetti junctions.... Question is; how long more do I have to work on this map until I have explored every corner of the city? Dare I say it is at least 40% done? Tiring, but satisfying, the main reason I am still doing anything at all.....

* in case some of you are not familiar with KL city, its the capital of Malaysia, a country in the South-East region of Asia. It is a relatively small city with the center of about 20-25km in diameter. Covering 11 constitutions: Bukit Bintang, Lembah Pantai, Seputeh, Titiwangsa, Setia Wangsa, Wangsa Maju, Kepong, Segambut, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras and Batu.


Colour, Shape, Quantity, Scale: by Liew Kwai Fei

Following Ise's GHOST show in April 2010 - a social collaboration involving myself, Ms.Eva McGovern, Mr.Bob. Mr.Bullet, and many many more people (as it usually is with parkingproject!) -  COLOUR, SHAPE, QUANTITY, SCALE is a solo exhibition by (then considered) minimalist painter, Mr. Liew Kwai Fei. Invited by the artist to co-curate this solo exhibition with Mr. Simon Soon at the infamous abandoned 15, Jalan Mesui. All works are acrylic on paper. 

Please click on this link for catalogue text

Since then Mr. Liew have been persistently challenging his thoughts about his work, whilst fighting with health issues of his own. Mr. Liew's endearing thought process and poetic rationalisation as an artist will continue to surprise his viewer with his varied approach to his work, and life in general. A painter that does not search for a signature style. An artist that is not comfortable with a label.  


GHOST: by Roslisham Ismail @ Ise

In April 2010, I was involved in a very interesting project initiated by visual artist, Roslisham Ismail @ Ise. Like many of Ise's previous endeavors, this sound installation involved quite a bit of people - from within and outside the art scene here in Kuala Lumpur. I was co-curating this project with (now regional curator for VWFA) Eva McGovern; and the installation was housed in an abandoned double-story terrace house in the city center.

A little background on this project: Ise produced a number of collages during a period of insomnia, 10 of which were selected as a starting point for this project. These collages were presented to various groups of people (artists, curators, bloggers, musicians, art educators and nursery children) in private viewing sessions where discussions of the works were held (and recorded). The audio recordings of these discussions were then edited into soundscapes that were presented to the public, to replace the collages.

The week long exhibition was punctuated by musical performances by DJ Asung (Jakarta), DJ Dan MacKinlay (Sydney) and a special performance by local post-rock band, Deepset. In hindsight, this project was a successful social collaboration. Special credit have to be given to Mr Bullet - for his generous creative and technical contribution; Mr Bob** - for all the great photo-documentation throughout the entire process; and Ms Jiji - for her smile and people skill, especially little people :)

next up; Shape, Colours, Quantity, Scale, a solo-exhibition by Liew Kwai Fei.

**all photos by MagnusCaleb


meLayu (to wither)

*please click on image to be redirected to YouTube post.

This was an old idea that I kept in the sketchbook for ages; but when VWFA curator, Eva McGovern, invited me to be part of Tanah Ayer: Malaysian Stories from the Land, a group exhibition at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space in Bandung, I thought that it was time to finally produce this work. In the exhibition, this work was presented as 2 lightboxes and a 26" LCD monitor. The video presented in the center was an animated sequence of time-lapse shots of the withering hibiscus (or bunga raya, Malaysia's national flower); looped back and fourth, and overdubbed with breathing sound.

Unfortunately, I can't claim credit for this ingenious title, that came from Roslisham Ismail@ Ise. I couldn't think of a better title than this, so terima kasih, Ise! Other people I want to thank for helping me with the production of this work: Perez OlSkool, Nazim Esa and Sharil (Rythmatix).


The Future of Exhibitions: It Feels Like I've Beem Here Before

This was a fun project of 3 artists (Jason Wee from Singapore, Roslisham Ismail@Ise and myself from KL) and 2 curators (June Yap from Singapore and Eva McGovern from KL). The exhibition was held at Earl Lu Gallery@ LaSalle School, in collaboration with the Insititute of Contemporary Arts and Singapore Arts Council.

For this show, Ise and myself collaborated to create You're Late!, an installation with video projections, karaoke sessions, disco lighting, and performances by funky-retro band, The Pinholes; followed by the ever-crowd-pleasing band, The Great Spy Experiment. Oh, and lots and lots of beer. In short, we blew our budget on one wild party and thrashed the gallery - a day before the official opening.

A week prior to the opening, we collected/created daily CCTV-footage of the installation process happening in the gallery. These footages - including the private party - were later compiled and exhibited in a video piece entitled The 7-Days of Creation*, edited by PerezOlSkool.

*i will be posting the video up as soon as possible..


Hair piece for Milcah

Made out of human hair and framed in double panel glass, this work from way back was made for my hair-stylist/friend, Milcah. I am only posting up 2 of 4 panels because I am not completely pleased with the other half. But before I could complete it, Milcah disappeared (to NY, apparently). *where are you?! :)

Rarely Romantic aka. Uzumaki (2012)

A small work that I have kept under dust for awhile. I made it because it reminds me of white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, hammocks, banana pancakes, bikinis and wooden shacks they call a hotel...

..........a couple of years later, I sort of expanded this piece and remade them in wood, parquet (framed in concrete) and polystyrene. In 2012, this was exhibited at VWFA.kl for a preview show entitled, Headlights. I then decided to rename it Uzumaki (Spiral). 

*someone suggested that this work should have been left alone from the beginning...maybe so.