27 Jan Collision Violence
Continuing with our programming for 2019, Artemis Art presents Collision Violence, a group exhibition featuring three young artists from Indonesia and Malaysia, two of the ten countries that make up the Southeast Asia region. One of the things that makes Southeast Asian visual art interesting is the variety of viewpoints and styles that make up the entirety of the region’s artistic practices. This group exhibition presents a small sampling of this diversity.
From the retelling of ordinary experiences purely from memory, to the age-old fascination of the cosmos, and all the way to the deep study of the esoteric, Collision Violence brings together recent works by Amirul Alwi, Radhinal Indra, and Tomi Heri, a forceful meeting of styles underlining Southeast Asia’s vibrant diversity when it comes to art.
Collision Violence kicks off with an opening reception at 8pm on Tuesday, 29 January 2019, following which the exhibition continues its run throughout the month of February, concluding on March 3 2019. The opening reception is open to public, and to find out more click on the Facebook event page for the reception.
To simply state that Southeast Asian art is diverse would truly be an understatement. In fact, the vast difference of practices and aesthetics across the region makes art from this part of the world difficult to concisely define, without considering the cultural and sociopolitical differences from each of the ten nations that make up Southeast Asia.
In an attempt to provide a small sampling of this diversity, Artemis Art presents Collision Violence, featuring three young visual artists from two of the ten nations that make up this diverse region. Within this small body of works exhibited we can already see how distinctive each artist’s practice is. The exhibition features recent works by Amirul Alwi and Tomi Heri from Malaysia, and Radhinal Indra from Indonesia.
There are, however, commonalities that bind the three artists together. The first is youth, with all three artists being below the age of 30. Secondly is how the focus their respective artistic practices somewhat go against the conventional grain of what would be considered “typical” of fine art. Finally, the determination, energy, and commitment each one of the three artists devotes to their artistic practice. What results in combining these three talents is a strong meeting of styles and aesthetics, each significantly different from the other, collectively forming a cohesive voice of strength in diversity.
Amirul Alwi is an artist with an obsessive interest in mathematics and numbers. His body of work exhibits a continuous search for how to numerically depict the natural world around him, both in the physical and metaphysical senses. For Collision Violence the topic of focus for the artist is the metaphysical concept of Chakras, the seven centers of spiritual energy that inhabit the human body, as presented through age-old Tantric philosophies practiced throughout Asia. Collectively, these seven centers drive Prana, the Life Force within us, a conceptual construct that predates modern science, and which modern science has yet to find means of quantifying and explaining.
Two of the seven Chakras , namely the Anahata (Heart Chakra) and Sahaswara (Crown Chakra) have been selected for exhibit, constructed by applying numerical patterns to create geometrically precise circular orbs, seven in each set, representing the seven Chakras in totality. The base colors selected for each set correspond to the colors generally associated with each chakra type, green for Anahata and violet for Sahaswara, each set carefully crafted to provide a visuality of flux, signifying the ever changing balance of these chakras depending on the state of a person at any given time. The seven Chakras – a Sanskrit-origin word meaning sphere – when in balance provides for a balanced physical-spiritual self, the goal of tantric practices involving breathing and movement, most commonly evident in yoga.
Another practice that goes back a very long way in human history is gazing up to the skies, observing the cosmos. Celestial bodies visible to the human eye, such as our Moon, Mars, Venus, and Saturn, to name a few, have for a very long time become objects of human fascination, and in fact have contributed towards the development of human knowledge that persists to this day, most notably in the form of astronomy. It is this fascination that lies at the heart of young Bandung-based Radhinal Indra‘s artistic practice. For the young artist, it is not merely the fascination that interests him, but how this fascination has impacted cultures throughout history, and across the globe.
In Civilization Gaze, Radhinal focuses on “shooting stars”, once regarded as celestial objects in the classical eras predating modern science. Although we know today that shooting stars are merely space debris burning up while making entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the artist observes that many cultures around the world have placed various meaning to these brilliant and fiery objects, both good and bad, ranging from auspicious to catastrophic. The commonality, however, is the wonder associated with them, more often than not ending with the question “What?” – What is the true nature of these objects? What omens might these objects bring? – and so forth. And it is this very common question asked throughout history that has inspired Radhinal to create this wall sculpture.
A common thread that runs through Radhinal’s artworks is the juxtaposition of the observer and the observed. In Selfportrait, Radhinal bases the imagery of his work on the discovery that moon rocks and dust collected from the Apollo missions in the 1970s contain the very same building blocks found in humans, such as Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Zinc, to name a few. Humans are, in the very literal sense, one with the cosmos, a notion that has been translated into the contemporary painting the artist has constructed.
But between the energy within us, and the cosmos that lies beyond the planet’s atmosphere, is our everyday existence, the many experiences that make up our day-to-day lives. It is this very experience that becomes the fertile expanse from which visual artist Tomi Heri draws his inspiration to create his artworks, paintings and objects retelling of his experiences taken directly from his memory. Without the use of notes, photographs, or any other devices, Tomi recreates his personal experience of encounters and travels, through paintings and objects. Combining his street art cred with the precision of his graphic design background, Tomi’s artworks are unique representations of the everyday.ail
His observations pick up on details that are meaningful to him, important highlights that have stuck in his own memory, which he then presents through his unique rendering. In the recent past, this treatment has been given to individuals and events that happened during his journeys to Yogyakarta, where Tomi has visited a number of times, and in the major work shown during the recent Art Expo Malaysia 2018, where he shares with us his fascination and wonder with the unexpected elements of nature he encountered upon moving to his new studio.
For this exhibition, Tomi has selected a recent bikepacking trip from Kuala Lumpur to Pengkalan Balak in Melaka to be the subject of his recollections turned art. These works put that story into physical form, highlighting memorable aspects of the trip from the capital city to a scenic location some 100 km or so south. Equally important about Tomi’s works is that they make the observer ponder and ultimately want to find out more, about the trip and certainly more about what he saw, and why he felt these were memorable snippets of the journey.
We mentioned earlier that despite the different approaches and practices, these three artist did have commonalities. The final one to highlight is their desire to question, and not leaving something found merely at face value, but to delve deeper and to discover what lies beneath the observed veneer. This questioning is, arguably, a critical step in the development process an artist necessarily must go through. And isn’t it always the case that thinking (hence questioning) artists are often the one who produce works that are compelling, not just to the eyes, but to the mind?
Collision Violence brings together 8 artworks by three visual artists from Indonesia and Malaysia. This marks the first time we are exhibiting Radhinal Indra’s artworks, while Amirul Alwi was one of Artemis Art’s proposed artist for Publika Art Show 2018, and Tomi Heri was featured by us in the 2018 edition of Art Expo Malaysia. To view the entire artworks and details in this sneak preview, click on the thumbnails displayed below.
An obsession with math and numbers is the main thrust behind the multi-modal artworks of young artist Amirul Alwi, essentially visualizations of numerical patterns, evident in much of nature and the universe. Amirul believes the universe produces certain energy, manifested in natural patterns, shapes, and movements, all of which can be correlated with numbers and math. These correlations are translated into tangible forms through his art, a mix of materials and colors that connect with us through the physical and spiritual.
For Collision Violence, Amirul has chosen his studies of Chakras, the seven energy centers thought to keep the human life force, Prana, in balance according to Tantric philosophical practices. Using specifically selected numbers, these energy wheels are visually depicted by the artist in colors that represent various states of being, and each chakra type presented as a set of seven spherical shapes, relating to the seven chakras, arranged in equilibrium to one another.
Click here for artist profile
This is the first time we are collaborating with the artist
Celestial objects have held mankind’s fascination, and captured their imagination, for centuries. These jewels of the night sky have been the source of both folklore and scientific knowledge, and some level of fascination exists across a multitude of cultures, across the boundaries of time. This very fascination is the premise upon which Bandung-based Radhinal Indra has built his artistic career thus far. The graphic designer turned visual artist’s focus is not only on the actual celestial objects observable from Earth alone, but more interestingly the impact these objects have had on human culture the world over.
Two artworks selected for this exhibition touch on two aspects of Radhinal’s focus. In Civilization Gaze, the universality of celestial objects is highlighted. Although we know today that shooting stars are actually space debris burning up while transitioning through the Earth’s atmospheric boundaries, cultures the world over have attributed connotative meanings to them, ranging from bringers of good fortune to harbingers of doom. But the fact remains that these objects have been universally observed since the dawn of civilization. Selfportrait touches on how we – mankind – are truly one with the universe, as evidenced by analysis done of moon rocks retrieved during the Apollo missions in the 1970s, revealing many strikingly similar compounds found in the chemical make up of humans.
Tomi Heri is a young Malaysian visual artist with a keen sense of observation, who builds kaleidoscopic stories in his mind, of moments in social interaction between individuals, which he then condenses into multi-layered works using a host of different materials. His background in graphic design and his practice in visual art (both the ‘fine’ and ‘street’ varieties) come together to produce an interesting juxtaposed mix, of fluidity and discipline, of his trained focus melding with the inner traveler in him.
For Collision Violence, Tomi has opted to present a recent bikepacking trip from Kuala Lumpur to Pengkalan Balak in Melaka as the basis of his visual storytelling. Without the aid of photographs or notes of the experience, Tomi recounts the trip purely from memory, unadulterated by any external filters, presenting important aspects of his journey in the purest way possible.