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Art Expo Malaysia 2019:
Fair Concepts

SAVE the dates – October 11-13 – for the 13th International Art Expo Malaysia (AEM), the longest-running art fair in South-East Asia. It will be held at the MATRADE Exhibition and Centre (MECC), Kuala Lumpur. It has some of the biggest names in art from leading galleries in Asia and beyond and a significant barometer of trends not only of styles and contemporary idioms but also some of the most outstanding emergent artists. As in recent years which saw the AEM grow and entrench its status as a prestigious benchmark, the focus will be on the 3Cs – Contemporary, Cutting-edge and the Curatorial. The highlights are: South-East Asia Art Lab, South-East Asia Art Now, South-East Asia ‘The Artist’ Room, Art Town, the Japan Pavilion, and Tribute to Living Legend Artist.

1) South-East Asia Art Lab
A+ Works Of Art will project a double-header of installations with Tan Zi Hao (Malaysia) and Mella Jaarsma (Indonesia) in some 100 square metres of prime space occupying the entrance area of the exhibition hall. Tan Zi Hao, one of Malaysia’s most exciting young artists, will reprise his re-creation of the mythical Hindu creature Makara, in fiberglass and metal, with a hybrid head of an elephant and a crocodile, and the tail of a fish. Mella, who was born in the Netherlands, will present her trademark costume concoction, this time a work called DiCabut. Mella co-founded the Cemeti Art House (now known as the Cemeti Institute of Art and Society), the oldest Indonesian art space, in Yogyakarta in 1988.

2) South-East Asia Art Now
This arena will have curated shows by A+ Works Of Art, Segaris Art Center, Core Design Gallery, Richard Koh Fine Art, Singapore’s Linda Gallery and Gajah Gallery, Indonesia’s Kohesive Initiatives and Lawangwangi. Segaris Art Center boasts of some of the finest artists trained at the country’s premier art institution, Universiti ITM, over several generations. Core Design Gallery will be bringing forth a new curated exhibition that looks into the idea of small detailed works in a whole new presentation. Richard Koh Fine Art will array their A-team of Yeoh Choo Kuan, Justin Lim, Faizal Yunus, Joshua Gomes, Hasanul Isyaf Idris and Haffendi Anuar besides the Malaysian-based Taiwanese Liu Hsin-Ying and Cambodian Pen Robin, both born in 1991. Linda Gallery will be showcasing Nyoman Nuarta’s masterpieces. Gajah Gallery with a 24-year provenance, will present its stable of prominent stars. Kohesive Initiatives will have the twin attraction of Indonesian icons Heri Dono and the Swiss-based Eddie Hara. Suroso Isur (born 1983), the 2013 Grand UOB Prize and the Asian Award at the Beppu Biennale in Japan, will also make the list. Bandung-based Lawangwangi will showcase Edwin Pradipta, Mujahidin Nurrahman, Etza Meisyara, Restu Taufik Patriot Mukmin and Rendy Raka.

3) South-East Asia ‘The Artists’ Wall
This is a specially curated show featuring outstanding artists from some selected participating galleries. It will involve Core Design Gallery (Anniketyni Madian and Nor Tijan Firdaus), G13 Gallery (Khairudin Zainudin), Artemis Art (Choo Ai Xin), Linda Gallery (Nyoman Nuarta), and Vietnam’s Vin Gallery (Tran Tuan). Anniketyni is famous for her intricate Sarawakian motifs and shapes in monumental wood, while Nor Tijan recycles electronic waste into mixed media matrix and her piece is a tribute to an iconic work by Pablo Picasso. Khairudin presents startling revelations in his hometown in a changed Kelantan. Choo, the Grand Prize winner in the 2018 Nando’s Art Initiative competition, will present an interactive installation of hanging pillows to project nuanced perceptions. Nyoman is best remembered as the designer of the monumental sculptures, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, in Bali and Jalesveva Jayamahe (Surabaya), and the centerpiece in Linda Gallery is his copper and brass sculpture of bicyclist symbolic of speed, power, movement, agility and grace. Tran Tuan’s installation of textbooks show the fragility and vulnerability of institutions to self-inflicted and natural forces.

4) Art Town
Apart from those featured in the South-East Asian curatorial exhibitions, some of the most reputable galleries will also take centrestage. One, Mazel Galerie, will bring in a Quentin Garel’s work called Orang Utan, specially made for the AEM showcase. French artist Quentin’s (born 1975) works have been exhibited in Venice Biennale, Singapore, New York, Montreal, and the Natural History Museum in Paris. Among the foreign galleries are LSD (Japan); Able Fine Art NY Gallery (United States); ATR Gallery (Spain); Galerie Bruno Massa (France); Artdoor Taipei, and Estyle Art Gallery (Taiwan); L Gallery, and Contemporary Art Gallery Atelier Aki (South Korea); Subashok The Arts Centre, Number 1 Gallery, and La Lanta Fine Art (Thailand); Art Serpong Gallery, and Art Xchange Gallery (Indonesia); J Studio (The Philippines); Gnani Arts, Art Porters, ArtBlue Studio, Asian Art Platform, REDSEA Gallery, and White Space Art Asia (Singapore). The local brigade is headed by the National Art Gallery, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, Taksu, The Art People Gallery, Tiny Rose Gallery, Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery, Gallery Des Artistes, Aureo Gallery (featuring Korean Kim Il Tae’s impressive Gold Art), City Art Gallery, and Li Chi Mao Art Museum.

5) Japan Pavilion
Japan has re-emerged as a major force in art in Asia and the world, and the Japan Pavilion is one of the creative endaka fueling its presence. The vehicle of Japan’s art resurgence in the Super-Flat-And-Post Era, has expanded from 8 to 11 galleries. The pavilion is under the aegis of the Japan Association of Contemporary Art (JACA) with its mantra of ‘Happy Aura’. Galleries (from last year) taking part are Gallery UG (since 2016), Gallery Ishikawa, Gallery Hanakagesho, Smart Ship Gallery, Kinosho Kikaku and Hakkendo Gallery. Prominent among the newcomers is Sankeido Gallery, whose history dates back to 1871, and a gallery located in the Nihonbashi / Kyobashi arts zone. The others are Soei Gallery, Gallery Class, Shukado Gallery, and The Gallery / Tanaka Art Gallery. Expected again will be notable artists such as Akihiro Fujimoto, Hiroki Yoshida, Kunihiko Nohara, Kohei Yamada and Izumi Ohwada.

6) Tribute to Living Legend Artist
The Tribute is an irregular event honouring some of the icons in Asian art. This year, the celebrant is Singapore’s abstract and collage pioneer Goh Beng Kwan (born Indonesia, 1937). Beng Kwan’s family migrated to Singapore from Indonesia in 1946. In Singapore, he was mentored by Chen Wen-hsi and he received formal art tutelage at the Art Students League, New York (1962-1966). It was in New York that he had his first solo exhibition, in 1965 at the Ruth Sherman Gallery. He was introduced to collage by Leo Manso in 1964, when studying at the Princetown Workshop in Massachusetts. He decided to become a fulltime artist in 1982. His major awards were the Singapore Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts in 1989 and the inaugural UOB Painting of the Year competition in 1982. In 1984, he won the Australian Business Council Award and the Australian High Commission (Singapore) Art Award. In 2006, he was chosen for the print collaboration under Singapore’s Tyler Print Institute and which resulted in the solo, Renewal. Among his major exhibitions were Journeys (National Museum Art Gallery) in 1992 and Journeys Revisited (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Singapore) in 2005. Beng Kwan is still actively taking part in exhibitions and art camps / workshops all over Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China.

7) Art Talk
A one-day Art Talk will be held on October 12, featuring 5 professionals with diverse background in the art scene.

Curation of Art Expo Malaysia 2018:

1) 1+9 South East Asia Exhibitions
Art Expo Malaysia 2018 has opened a new flank of special curatorial exhibitions focusing on more contemporary or hot-button issues by more socially and politically engaged artists. Wei-Ling Gallery will frontline the Art Project Room in its 100 square metres of space showcasing Chong Kim Chiew, Chin Kong Yee and Chen Wei Ming. Nine reputable galleries including three from Malaysia will provide cutting-edge works. The Malaysian galleries are A+ Works of Art, Richard Koh Fine Art (Zelin Seah) and Segaris Art Centre (Zulkifli Yusoff, Ramlan Abdullah, Jalaini Abu Hassan and Fauzan Omar). The others are Gajah Gallery (Singapore), S.A.C Gallery Bangkok (Thailand), Srisasanti Gallery (Indonesia), Lawangwangi (Indonesia), Eskinita Art Gallery (Philippines) and CUC Gallery (Vietnam).

2) Gallery Zone
Malaysia exhibitors’ lineup this year includes the usual past exhibitors and supporters such as Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, Masterpiece Auction, National Art Gallery, Artemis Art, Aureo Gallery, G13 Gallery, Gallery Des Artistes, Jeth Art Gallery, NN Gallery, Taksu, The Art People Gallery, V’ Art Space etc. This year we will see the strong presence of 8 galleries from Singapore, forming another large exhibitor group following the Malaysian and Japanese bandwagon. They are Art Porters, Art Xchange Gallery, ArtBlue Studio, Gnani Arts, Redsea Gallery, White Space Art Asia, and first-time participants Asian Art Platform, and Mazel Galerie.

In remembrance of the late Khalil Ibrahim (1934 – 2018) vast contribution to the Malaysian art scene, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HBAA) presents Tribute To Khalil Ibrahim, exhibiting early works from the 1960s to 2000s of diverse medium. HBAA booth will also showcase highlight pieces of its coming art auction on October 28.

The 12th edition will still see two great stalwarts who have been with the AEM from Year 1 in 2007, the greatly revered Hong Kong gallery Chit Fung Art known for its authentic Chinese ink masters, and Spain’s ATR Gallery which has made the hugely talented sculptor Jesus Curia a household name in this region.

Among the 23 new galleries will be Trish Gallery (Myanmar), EStyle Art Gallery (Taiwan), Spence Gallery (Canada), NYICAS (United States), and Space 1326 (South Korea), making up 38% of the participants.

3) Japan Pavilion
On the heels of Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir’s Re-Looking East, the strong show of Japanese participation will see some of the Next Big Names of Nipponserie. The biggest Japanese representation of a total of nearly 40 artists from eight galleries will showcase in a 162 square metres space under the Japan Pavilion. The galleries are Gallery UG, Gallery Hanakagesho, Gallery Ishikawa, Gallery Seek, Gallery Suiha, Hakkendo Gallery, Smart Ship Gallery and Kinosho Kikaku. Notable artists among them following Pop anime and Otaku are Akihiro Fujimoto, Hiroki Yoshida, Yasuhiro Asai, Takeshi Harada, Yoshikazu Hiramatzu, Kunihiko Nohara, Misako Maegaki and Yasuhiro Asai. The Japan Pavilion is sponsored by Warehouse TERRADA, and the official logistic partner is TERRADA ART ASSIST Co., Ltd.

4) Cultural Exchange
Embassy’s Row of cultural exchange will feature works of artists selected from the embassies of Brazil, Croatia, Ecuador, Italy and Russia.

5) Art Talk
A one-day Art Talk will be held on Oct 13, featuring 5 professionals with diverse background in the art scene.