Southeast Asian artists showcase their works in various locations
By Dewi Woo
City of Bawal
Manila-based 1335MABINI Gallery has put together an exhibition featuring a group of thirteen artists, including Brisa Amir, Lesley-Anne Cao, Jose Tong, and Datu Arellano. Curated by Roy Voragen, it is titled the City of Bawal, where “bawal” is a Tagalog word meaning “prohibited”. The title is a reference to the short story ‘Library of Babel’ by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, in which the narrator attempts to find meaning in what appears to be vast randomness. This is the same question posed in the setting of the city of Metro Manila, where the show is located.
1335MABINI, 27 April to 8 June.
Jason Wee: DANCES ON THEIR OWN
Singapore-based artist, writer and photographer Jason Wee’s third solo exhibition in Malaysia showcases a series of 16 chromogenic prints (or C-prints) on cardboard. These photographs feature queer bodies crossing and re-crossing different parts of Singapore in search of one another. The prints appear as jumbled-up puzzle pieces that leave viewers plenty of room to decipher the works for themselves. Wee’s works are reflective of how the queer community has to do certain things in secret.
Richard Koh Fine Art, 2 to 18 May.
Lawrence Lek: AIDOL
In his first exhibition with London-based Sadie Coles HQ, Lawrence Lek, a British artist of Chinese-Malaysian descent, presents ‘AIDOL’, a feature film set nearly 50 years ahead of the present. It follows a former superstar, Diva, and her journey to make a comeback with the help of an artificial intelligence (AI) musician for her performance at the imagined 2065 eSports Olympics. The film takes viewers through the tension between humanity and AI, and the potential impact of AI on mankind. Lek aims to create works that merge memory and fantasy, allowing viewers a temporary disconnection from the present.
Sadie Coles HQ, 18 April to 18 May.
Manuel Ocampo: Ideological Mash-Up/Remix
Filipino painter Manuel Ocampo showcases a series of artworks featuring objects from both the past and the present, such as Angry Birds and Cuzco paintings. These images are then put together through a combination of different art techniques, such as lithography and screenprint, and the artist’s trademark dark sense of humor. The final products resemble a “messy desktop”. A recurring element in Ocampo’s works, which are also seen here, is the vulture, used as metaphors for his life on the road as an outside observer of foreign cultures.
STPI - Creative Workshop and Gallery, 18 May to 22 June.
ON/OUT OF PAPER
Curated by Hermanto Soerjanto, a group exhibition at Mizuma Gallery’s Singapore space features five Southeast Asian artists placing paper back in the spotlight of art-making. Visitors can expect to see intricate hand-cut works by Ashley Yeo of Singapore, cyanotype works by Iswanto Soerjanto of Indonesia, and paper structures by Ryan Villameal of the Philippines, among others.
Mizuma Gallery, 4 May to 2 June.
SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1980s to Now
The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and Mori Art Museum have collaborated on ‘SUNSHOWER’, an exhibition of the best examples of contemporary Southeast Asian art. Previously shown in The National Art Centre, Tokyo, and Mori Art Museum, this is the exhibition’s first run outside of Japan. With artworks by 47 artists from 10 ASEAN member countries, visitors will get to see a large variety of works by artists such as Htein Lin, Mit Jai Inn, Vandy Rattana, and the late Lee Wen.
Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, 4 May to 1 September.
Uthis Haemamool: The Light of Day
Located near the Chao Phraya River, The Jam Factory Bangkok is a creative space, eatery, bookshop and gallery all housed in a former factory. Thai writer-artist Uthis Haemamool, winner of both the S.E.A Write Award in 2009 and the Silpathorn Award in 2018, presents ‘The Light of Day’. This is his second solo exhibition after a two-year hiatus. Through his paintings, Haemamool hopes to convey his well-wishes to viewers by reminding them there will always be light at the end of every tunnel, no matter how bleak the present may appear.
The Jam Factory Bangkok, 1 April to 20 May.