24 Aug PRIMER FOR A LANGUAGE
Many Malaysian art enthusiasts will likely be familiar with the Titikmerah collective, particularly for those who regularly patronize Publika, arguably the contemporary art and culture heart of Kuala Lumpur. Stepping out of the comfort zone of their collective gallery space, they present PRIMER FOR A LANGUAGE, featuring eight artists from the collective: Adeputra Masri, Ajim Juxta, Aleff Ahmad, BlankMalaysia, Caryn Koh, Elena, Syahbandi Samat, and Tajrin Faruqi.
The exhibition is curated by Minn Alaidin, marking his curatorial debut in this exhibition, which to-date is Artemis Art’s most challenging exhibition in terms of aesthetics and purpose. It is an exhibition that is best appreciated by experiencing it first-hand, and is not a “typical” art exhibition, at least from this gallery’s experience and perspective.
Premised on the notion that artistic practice can be divided into three important spheres – the Artist, the Artwork, and the Audience – PRIMER FOR A LANGUAGE is an effort to renegotiate the space between the Artist and the Artwork. Through this renegotiation, verbalized (in a non-verbal way) and visualized by each artist’s contribution to the exhibition, the foundation of a visual language takes shape, eventually leading to, and allowing for, the more understood interaction between the Artwork and the Audience.
The curatorial approach taken in this exhibition is by no means original, nor unique. What the artists present in this exhibition offer many possibilities as to what their individual contributions might lead to. In renegotiating the space between Artist and Artwork, one may wonder: are these non-verbal conversations revisits, or are they new germination entry points that might flourish into something new in the future? We leave these questions as points to ponder, as the works are examined first-hand.
For the audience, however, it presents a challenge and an opportunity to better understand the artists involved. What’s often seen in a gallery environment is the final form an artwork takes, and undoubtedly there will already be a level of familiarity with some of the artists involved, and their artworks. We think, therefore, PRIMER FOR A LANGUAGE provides a platform to renegotiate not only how we view artists and their individual works, but an opportunity to re-examine how we view and understand visual art itself.
The exhibition commences on Saturday, August 26 2017 with an opening reception beginning at 3pm. Our guest of honor for the event is Mr. Bingley Sim, Art Friend, an individual who is quite well-known within the Malaysian art circles. It certainly is an honor for us to have Bingley graciously accept our invitation to officiate the exhibition. PRIMER FOR A LANGUAGE will complete its run on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Titikmerah was founded in June 2014 by Adeputra Masri, Latif Maulan and Ajim Juxta. Located in a small unassuming lot at Art Row, Publika, Kuala Lumpur, Titikmerah is an artist-initiated space to produce, exhibit, and sell visual art works. The space fast became a friendly beacon for other artists to gather and meet. To talk, observe, exchange, critique, complain, produce, organise, talk shit, make art and make music. Titikmerah-organized exhibitions and activities often include a wider network of artists and other collectives.
Eight artists from the collective are participating in this exhibition, a work-conversation effort, with each of the artists contributing one or two artworks.
Primer For A Language
curatorial essay by Minn Alaidin
The seeds of this exhibition were sown several months ago in a series of conversations about the relationship between making art and reading art, and its impact upon Titikmerah’s practice of painting and drawing. Interwoven in those ongoing conversations were recommendations of exhibitions to look at and books to read. Slowly, it became apparent that something was going on that was more broad and nuanced.
Primer for a Language, a work-conversation exhibition is an attempt to renegotiate the space between the artist and the work of art, where the utilitarian encroaches on the transcendent. This inward-looking conversation sets off from the notion that a work of art – whether it is a poem, painting, or musical sonata – is a form of language in itself1 and in this way, art itself becomes self-aware and analytical. Therefore, underlining the difference between making and creating is imperative.
“Dalam apresiasi sastra, hubungan langsung yang harus yang dijalin adalah antara karya sastra dan pembaca. Hal ini tidak berarti bahwa sastrawan sama sekali tidak mempunyai peran.2”
(In the appreciation of literature, the imperative immediate connection is between the work of literature and the reader. This does not mean, however, that the writer has no role whatsoever)
To ask what the word ‘work’ means in the ‘work of art’ is to understand that it is not merely an extra word that supports or is folded into the word ‘art’. The term here does not refer to a particular object, with the ‘of’ serving both ways; the work of art is the art object produced by work, alongside other considerations, namely:
What is the work of the art object?
What is the work that the ‘art’ accomplishes?
These explorations, which create a baseline of discernment for the artist to build a personal body of work, expand the possibilities in making art. The exhibition does not claim to offer a definitive view or exposition of art-making—rather, it provides a different platform from which to view the relationship between artist and work of art, open the mind to possibilities, and spark the imagination.
1. Eco, Umberto. A Theory of Semiotics, Indiana University Press, 1978
2. Damono, Sapardi Djoko. Bilang Begini, Maksudnya Begitu. Jakarta, 2010