Home > Lifestyle > Entertainment > Arts
Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 8:37:57 AM
by rouwen lin
What is this thing called love? Delphine Saira Gomez takes an introspective look at the ‘merging’ of multifaceted ‘love’ in her Journey Beyond The Clouds. — Photos by SAM THAM/The Star
Can you measure something you can’t hold? A group exhibition offers food for thought.
IF one were to take Lai Chan Shiang’s whimsical Free To Love at face value, love is riding a goldfish in the sky towards a puffy white cloud. How fantastical this sounds ... and yet, somehow, it feels like something we can all identify with.
Inspired by cloud-gazing in New Zealand while there on a nine-month working holiday, the Malaysian artist comments that love “acts as a stimulant in our lives” and wields much power in determining whether life is sweet or bitter.
Lai is one of the participating artists in the group show currently on at Wei-Ling Contemporary at The Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur.
The exhibition’s theme, Measuring Love, is as broad as it gets.
For something as intangible and fleeting as this emotion, love has certainly made quite a name for itself. It has been described as the greatest emotion of all, it takes on many guises, and it is said to bring out the best and the worst in people. It is sometimes a mystery, sometimes a validation, and other times an inconvenience.
“What is love” topped the list of most-searched phrase on Google last year. We do seem rather interested in love, or at the very least, what it is!
Gallery director Lim Wei-Ling poses a question when we speak to her about the exhibition’s theme: “How do you measure love?” she asks. “Can you even measure love? I think we are all quite naïve when it comes to love. We assume we know what love is, it is maybe something many of us take for granted, but what is love? I think these are questions that all human beings invariably ask themselves at some point.”
The 11 participating artists – mostly in their 20s and early 30s – might or might not be asking the same questions, but the results on canvas are as varied as the theme is broad.
Cheng Yen Pheng’s Airball No. 14 – The Unbearable Lightness Of Being takes on the form of a balloon. Like love, the risk of the balloon deflating is very real; it is only a matter of time before its life draws to an end.
“I portray love as fleeting, haphazard and perhaps based on endless strings of coincidences, despite holding such significance for humans. The balloon can be so full of air one moment, but it will always end, however beautiful it is,” she says.
While she concedes that love does make life interesting and has the capacity to make her feel “powerful like a big balloon”, it eventually ends, sometimes “with a bang”, other times “very slowly ... and fills me up with sadness”.
A stark contrast to Cheng’s bright and bouncy balloon with its bittersweet undertones is Hoo Kiew Hang’s Two Sages. Depicted in black and white, this artwork is a continuation of his Paradise Of Gods series. It features his take on the Buddha and Jesus Christ, and radiates peace and love – feelings that the artist considers the “most true, good and beautiful”. Winged-creatures soar in Two Sages, lending a carefree feel to the artwork.
Hoo, who shares that he is an atheist, comments that these two sages from different times represent different things to him: “Buddha to me represents ‘big love’ and Jesus, ‘compassion’. I am interested in gaining an understanding of the philosophical thoughts of saints, thus I created this artwork of two saints travelling through space and time together on a spiritual cultivation,” he says.
These works are but the tip of the iceberg. Among others, Ruzzeki Harris presents his child’s nine-month journey in the womb with a series of ultrasound images simply entitled 9 Months; Sean Lean explores the kind of love bound by kinship, one that is “complex, real and ultimately imperfect” with a painting of his father in White Father; Cheong Kiet Cheng’s A Thousand Love shows a couple prancing around amidst animals and blooms; and Delphine Saira Gomez takes an introspective look at the “merging” of multifaceted “love” in Journey Beyond The Clouds.
Lim is ecstatic that the artists have come up with such a range of responses to the subject matter. She shares that it was a deliberate move on the gallery’s part in including young artists in this exhibition.
“I wanted young, emerging artists to be in this group show. I thought it would be really interesting to inspire them with this theme, have them explore it and really get them thinking,” she says.
“You never really know what you are going to get, especially with a group show, and it is nice to see the different ways each artist has approached the subject.
She believes that love is a basic requirement, something that we could all do with in our lives: “To love and be loved, it’s the very essence of who we are as human beings,” Lim concludes.
Measuring Love is showing at Wei-Ling Contemporary, G212 and G213A, Ground Floor, The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur, till Sept 10. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 9pm. For more information, visit weiling-gallery.com, call 017-887 7216 / 016-913 6252, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags / Keywords:
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)