The 1980s are back at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. A series of computer generated prints featuring Bruce Springsteen, the cast of TV soap Dallas, Linda Evans, Liza Minnelli, a Lamborghini Countach (a hint of Miami Vice?) and Malay pop star Sahara Yaacob have become conversational topics once again among art enthusiasts as they try to understand the playful yet incisive mind of the late Ismail Zain (1930-1991), who created all these works on his Macintosh computer in the late 1980s.
These pioneering digital prints are part of the larger Ismail Zain (Mem) Bayang Maksud Foreboding Purpose exhibition, the National Art Gallery’s new retrospective on Ismail. It is the first major museum exhibition dedicated to him in over 24 years.