06 Sep Lamantara – a solo exhibition by Ajim Juxta
In collaboration with, and hosted by, Core Design Gallery, we’re pleased to announce Ajim Juxta‘s latest solo exhibition Lamantara. Comprising recent works created by the artist, Lamantara represents the visualization of a contemplative think-space, located at a crossroad between his earlier focus on the futuristic Arcology collection of works and pondering upon the many potential directions and possibilities he might take as a visual artist.
The exhibition opens today, 6 September, and continues its run until 30 September 2022. Core Design Gallery is located at No. 87, Jalan SS 15/2A, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor.
Lamantara continues Artemis Art’s series of gallery collaborations, something we have been actively doing for the past few years. This is our first collaboration with Core Design Gallery, and our second for 2022 after The Backroom KL, which hosted Kimberley Boudville’s solo exhibition earlier this year.
Visit Core Design’s Lamantara exhibition page to view the complete collection of works exhibited.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a launch event will be held at 3pm on Saturday, 10 September 2022 at Core Design Gallery. Included in the program for the launch will be a short Q & A session with the artist, and a music performance by Ajim himself, a multi-dimensional artist who is also a musician in addition to his work with visual art.
Lamantara: A Contemplative Pause
The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.
In the seven or so years that we’ve worked with the multi-dimensional artist Raja Azeem Idzham – better known as Ajim Juxta – the focus of his visual art has been the Arcology series of works, visual prognostications and predictions of a possible future world based on the artist’s observations of current trajectories and trends. Informed by today’s world increasingly driven by technology, coupled with what can only be described as callous disregard for nature and the environment, the artworks within the Arcology phase of Ajim’s career paints a dystopian tomorrow.
But as happenchance would have it, the world actually experienced another kind of dystopia instead, one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without a doubt, the past two years has been a period of great challenge and strife for everyone. For Ajim it has, in addition, been a period of contemplation and introspection; memories resurfacing co-mingling with angst pondering the days to come, figuring out the many possibilities of what to explore next and where those explorations might take him.
His contemplations and thoughts during this period, when the world was seemingly forced into a dystopian hiatus, also coincided with another realization: that he was approaching 40, a milestone many consider the start of mature adulthood.
All these contributed to the almost two-year period as one necessitating Ajim to pause, reflect, and ponder. That said, for Ajim as an artist, this period was no less productive than pre-pandemic times, but certainly one that brought with it added unease.
Lamantara, a collection of recent works by the artist, is the product of this period of personal unease.
Unlike his earlier series of works, where Ajim plays the role of commentator cum prognosticator, Lamantara delves into the psyche of the artist himself. The two year period of lockdowns and social estrangement gave Ajim pause to ponder about the twists and turns his life has taken thus far. And along the way, the places that have contributed towards shaping the artist we know him as today.
There is a certain poetic depth in this collection of works. Lamantara, essentially a portmanteau of two Malay words, (ha)laman and antara, is a visualization of the in-between realm and state of mind, a crossroads of what has been and what is to come. It is the physical manifestation of the emotions and thoughts that surfaced during the time and space in-betwixt; pre- and post-pandemic, of his career so far and of the possibilities that lie ahead.
In these works, Ajim’s inner self is expressed more unambiguously. Deep personal ruminations are revealed through a broader use of colours in these works compared to what he’s previously produced. There is a seemingly strong connection within the Lamantara works to the physical spaces that Ajim has occupied in the past, hinted by the earthy tones, highlighted with shades of green and yellow, a dreamlike return to some of the places he’s been. No doubt, the memories evoked related to these places are mostly fond ones, times and places that have provided constructive experiences during his growing up years.
Juxtaposing this dreamlike calm is the bold use of red within the Aksara, Meratapi, and Sanubari groupings of work. Red – often associated with emotion, yearning, and burning desire – hints at the angst-filled emotions that emerged during this period. Pure emotion pours out of these works, a sense of displeasure with what has become of the world, but at the same time a yearning for a better world to emerge, and the continued search for what role Ajim would play within it.
By no measure have the many ponderous questions that emerge as emotive visualizations through these works been answered. But that’s okay; it is our strong belief that an artist who strives to continuously question is an artist striving to continually grow.
It is through further contemplation of these arising questions that insights and realizations may be uncovered, which in turn will undoubtedly lead to more questions to unravel. Ajim is well aware of this.
The process of creative contemplation that has produced Lamantara is not about providing any kind of certainty, but of creating more avenues and possibilities for him to explore. And with those, more opportunities to grow.
“Semuanya bercampur-baur. Rasa-rasa yang ada dalam diriku. Imaji dan aksara yang aku lihat sementara aku masih kaget di tengah-tengah kemelut dunia. Sakit jasadnya, dan nyawanya, bergantung pada kesedaran sekelumit manusia yang sedar lalu menongkah dari dalam sanubari.”
It is a mixed up feeling within myself of what lingers for the past few years. they are images and characters that i have seen in the midst of chaos that we are all enduring. the physical pain and the emotional strain, this world thriving in dependence of little amount of sanity pushing through from the core of humanity.
These abstract paintings are expressions of speculative landscapes with obscure traces of broken monuments and mountain-like structures. all these could be related to what is happening now with our country and the world alike, fragile structures of a family and society, the uncertainties and our struggles in getting out of these dystopias. they are landscapes of impermanence and doubts that came from restlessness.
Even with the narrative above, they partly came from another side of me, referring to the mystical experiences of the universe we are in and the words that we use to conjure it. be it speculative or manifestation, i relate them with my memories and nostalgias; of songs and words that i sang. the echoes in my subconscious manifests in these paintings and i call them lamantara or in-betwixt. a place or a phase in between. it represents my state of mind of uncertainties and possibilities.
Some of the prominent pieces from the series are the red paintings and the small studies. the colour red stands out when juxtaposed with black, representing my inner rage and desire. it was no longer about the concern on environment or the architectural related issues like what i did with my arcology and tugu series. it was pure emotion.
I started some of the others with layers of colourful impasto strokes depicting structures only to mute them in monochrome afterwards. it is as though the monument built has been deteriorated and consumed by time thus forming into a landscape of mountains and cliffs. all these happenings were in accordance to how i felt in recent years; in between uncertainties and to thrive and to live. i was hoping time can move faster and let this feeling be nothing but a monument of remembrance.
Ajim Juxta, 2022