Weekend for the arts: Steve Wong art collection, 'Forest House' in KL


A view of the 'Not Just In Back And White' exhibition at the GDP Campus in Kuala Lumpur, featuring nearly 80 large scale works from the Steve Wong Art Collection. Photo: The Star/Low Lay Phon

EXHIBITION: 'NOT JUST IN BLACK AND WHITE'

Venue: GDP Campus, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Aug 11

In Malaysia, art collectors are beginning to play a pivotal role in shaping exhibitions, often reflecting their personal tastes and curatorial vision. The Not Just In Black And White exhibition is a prime example, featuring contemporary Malaysian and South-East Asian artwork from the esteemed Steve Wong collection.

This free admission exhibition at the new GDP Campus showcases nearly 80 large-scale artworks (across two floors), reflecting Wong's preference for impactful, provocative, political and also, highly reflective pieces. Curated by Beverly Yong (Rogue Art), this diverse collection spans more than 30 years, weaving a rich narrative of Malaysia's evolving art landscape, with a dash of regional flavour added to the exhibition.

It features works from prominent artists such as Wong Hoy Cheong, Yee I-Lann, Saiful Razman, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Latiff Mohidin, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Chong Siew Ying, Kide Baharudin, Chang Yoong Chia, Justin Lim, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Hasanul Isyraf Idris, Samsudin Wahab, Zelin Seah, Yeoh Choo Kuan, Pangrok Sulap, Yim Yen Sum, Zac Lee, and others, ensuring a captivating experience for visitors.

Exhibition is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

More info here.

A view of Tan Zi Hao's 'Anthropophagic Strategies II' (2024) installation work, which is featured in his new show 'The Tongue Has No Bones' in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: A+ Works of Art  A view of Tan Zi Hao's 'Anthropophagic Strategies II' (2024) installation work, which is featured in his new show 'The Tongue Has No Bones' in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: A+ Works of Art

EXHIBITION: TAN ZI HAO'S 'THE TONGUE HAS NO BONES'

Venue: A+ Works of Art gallery, Sentul, KL

Date: July 6-27

Artist, researcher, and educator Tan Zi Hao’s second solo exhibition at A+ Works of Art is set to spark lively conversations among the discerning art crowd.

Featuring new media installations, installations and typography, Tan explores his preoccupation with language politics, diving into the complexities of multilingualism in Malaysia.

For the artist, the diversity and unpredictability of languages represent both a challenge and an opportunity, shaping cultural dynamics and personal expression.

In The Tongue Has No Bones, Tan creates a public discussion space that navigates the intricate relationship between language and national identity amid escalating ethnic and generational divisions in Malaysia.

The exhibition also includes a programme with talks related to the show, featuring guest speakers such as Weng Choy Lee, David Ho and Louie Lee from Huruf, and Fiona Lee from the Department of English, Universiti Malaya.

More info here.

A view of the 'Forest Fever' exhibition, now showing at the Forest House, Perdana Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur.  Photo: The Star/Art Chen A view of the 'Forest Fever' exhibition, now showing at the Forest House, Perdana Botanical Garden in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Art Chen

EXHIBITION: THE FOREST HOUSE'S 'FOREST FEVER'

Venue: The Forest House, Perdana Botanical Garden

Date: ends July 21

The Forest House, a landscaping company and environmental conservation organisation, has soft-launched the Forest Learning Centre, a project supported by ThinkCity, Perdana Botanical Garden and Kuala Lumpur City Hall that is meant to serve as a hub for environmental education, particularly in forestry.

The centre's first exhibition, Forest Fever, offers an introduction to The Forest House's conservation projects, such as its collaborations with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Forest Fever showcases efforts in saving and preserving forest species, restoring degraded habitats and working with Orang Asli communities, using their intricate ecological knowledge.

Visitors are invited to take a close look at the seed and insect specimen collections on display, discover the botanical treasures that exist in our forests and learn about the initiatives that strive to protect our natural heritage.

More info here.

THEATRE: 'PERHIASAN KACA'

Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac

Date: ends July 7

The Actors Studio Foundation continues its "Kembali Ke Pangkuan" season with a Bahasa Malaysia adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ classic play, The Glass Menagerie. This localised version promises to bring a fresh cultural perspective to the timeless tale of familial bonds and fragile dreams.

Christopher Ling directs Perhiasan Kaca, a poignant semi-autobiographical drama focusing on a family of three. The story, translated into Bahasa Malaysia by Marlenny Deenerwan, delves into the lives of a mother (Tria Aziz) lost in nostalgia, a reclusive daughter (Cahaya Jais) absorbed in her collection of glass animals, and a son (Aidil Rosli) aspiring to be a poet. Despite their yearning for a brighter future, each character retreats into their own personal "glass menagerie," seeking refuge from their inner turmoil and pain. Azwan Ahmadi completes the cast.

This year, the Actors Studio Foundation (established in 2021) is presenting the inaugural season of "Kembali Ke Pangkuan", which is curated by Ling, its new associate artistic director.

More info here.

In his new show. Fitton transforms existing ceramic illustrations into imaginative worlds, drawing inspiration from his personal memories and experiences. Photo: The Back RoomIn his new show. Fitton transforms existing ceramic illustrations into imaginative worlds, drawing inspiration from his personal memories and experiences. Photo: The Back Room

EXHIBITION: JOSHUA FITTON’S ‘SHADOWS IN TIME’

Venue: The Back Room, Zhongshan building, KL

Date: ends July 28

Artist/fashion designer Joshua Fitton returns to The Back Room gallery with his second solo exhibition, Shadows In Time, featuring 13 new ink drawings made with pieces of broken ceramic plates from his own personal collection.

From the existing illustrations on the ceramic fragments, Fitton uses a pen to create imaginary worlds inspired by his own memories and experiences.

Look closely at the pieces and you’ll encounter anachronisms of architectural styles from different periods and nations sitting alongside each other in a single composition, such as the ruins of classical Greek structures next to stately English country houses, or the curved eaves of Chinese temples adorning a modern shophouse, or a 19th-century German castle that’s the stuff of fairy tales appearing in a tropical jungle scene.

Through these works, Fitton also explores questions of storytelling and identity that perhaps trail anyone who has any serious interest in history, attempting in the process not to arrive at any hard truths but instead to make sense of one’s own life and times, as faithfully as one is able to.

More info here.

Ho is premiering his lecture-performance 'Figures Of History And The Grounds Of Intelligence' at Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur on July 14 and 15. Photo: Eike Walkenhorst  Ho is premiering his lecture-performance 'Figures Of History And The Grounds Of Intelligence' at Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur on July 14 and 15. Photo: Eike Walkenhorst

THEATRE: 'FIGURES OF HISTORY AND THE GROUNDS OF INTELLIGENCE'

Venue: Five Arts Centre, GMBB mall, KL

Date: July 14 and 15

Time to plan ahead if you appreciate theatre with a difference. Singaporean artist and writer Ho Rui An, known for weaving contemporary art, cinema, performance, and theory, is set to return to Kuala Lumpur to debut his new work, Figures Of History And The Grounds Of Intelligence, at Five Arts Centre next week.

This lecture performance, incorporating generative AI, is part of Five Arts Centre’s 40th anniversary programme. It promises to be a treat for arts enthusiasts, as Ho is premiering this work in KL ahead of a run at the Centre Pompidou in Paris later this year.

In this lecture-performance, Ho examines how historical figurations shape the "intelligence" behind today's generative AI models. The performance will reflect on AI drawing from "memory" not to narrate history but to endlessly generate and regenerate patterns.

Figures Of History And The Grounds Of Intelligence is co-commissioned by Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Kadist, San Francisco and Paris.

More info here.

Indonesian artist FX Harsono is showing his installation work 'The Shadow Of identity' at Wei-Ling Gallery's new exhibition, which opens on July 9. Photo: Wei-Ling Gallery Indonesian artist FX Harsono is showing his installation work 'The Shadow Of identity' at Wei-Ling Gallery's new exhibition, which opens on July 9. Photo: Wei-Ling Gallery

EXHIBITION: 'AND THE INVADER'S FEAR OF MEMORIES'

Venue: Wei-Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Date: July 9 to Aug 10

Wei-Ling Gallery's new group show, titled And The Invader's Fear Of Memories, looks to be the buzz exhibition of the month.

Opening next Tuesday, this exhibition, curated by Line Dalile, brings together seven internationally acclaimed contemporary artists: Dadang Christanto, FX Harsono, Ken Matsubara, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sean Lean, Suzann Victor, and Wei Leng Tay.

Inspired by Mahmoud Darwish's poem, On This Land, the show will see each artist presenting works that examine personal memory as a powerful tool in resistance against oppressive forces.

The month-long exhibition features multimedia installations, photography, and sculptures that offer diverse perspectives, prompting introspection and confronting suppressed narratives.

And The Invader's Fear Of Memories welcomes public viewing by appointment.

More info here.

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