Two of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists, Ivan Lam and Chen Wei Meng, will hold concurrent exhibitions at the Wei-Ling Gallery in Kuala Lumpur from 20th April to 27th May 2023.
The first of the exhibitions, titled ‘Blind Side’, is by Ivan Lam (above), one of Malaysia’s most innovative and important artists in the contemporary sphere. Fearless and boundary-breaking, Lam has evolved as an artist by constantly challenging himself vis experimentation with techniques and mediums to much critical acclaim.
In his solo exhibition, ‘Blind Side, ‘ Lam says he was inspired by the lack of ability to empathise with disabled people, which he wanted to change. To that end, he has more than made his promise by giving the visually impaired a chance to interact with and experience his artworks – the paintings in this series feature braille inscriptions, welcoming any blind person to run their hands and “read” the message Lam has incorporated into his paintings.
Fascinated by the blindness – no doubt any artist would affirm that sight and visual dexterity plays a crucial role in any art form – Lam goes a step or two further, and scratches beneath the surface of this disability with personal research with the blind and as a result channels a different perspective and meaning into this exhibition.
As the first and only Malaysian artist to present a one-person project at the inaugural Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013 and the first Malaysian artist commissioned by Louis Vuitton for their collection in 2014, Lam has exhibited widely in both Malaysian and international exhibitions as well as collected numerous awards.
He was also one of four Malaysian artists to represent Malaysia at the country’s first-ever National Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale de Venezia in 2019.
The second exhibition at Wei-Ling Gallery is by another resident artist, Chen Wei Meng, titled ‘SMS to Song.’ Known for his wide-angled and realist landscape paintings, this former interior designer turned artist imbues a sense of serenity, some might even say spirituality, into his atmospheric and transcendent paintings.
In SMS to Song, Chen pays homage to the stunning landscape paintings of the Song Dynasty, with the exhibition name being an acronym for “Shan Met Shui to Song Dynasty. Influenced by Eastern and Chinese philosophy, this exhibition, according to the artist, represents a crystallisation of his subconscious and depicts the harmony between mountains and water, with Chen’s attempt at uniting rather than separating these two perennially popular elements in Chinese ink paintings.
Visually stunning and almost abstract at first glance, it is no surprise that this new series is monochromatic, using Chinese ink on canvas or xuan paper as a medium as the artist has all but abandoned the use of colour in his quest to express himself more eloquently and succinctly.
Chen’s idea of flow – a concept which makes up a common thread in his previous work is certainly evident in the paintings in this current exhibition. With contours and lines, shapes and forms all converging and harmonising into one singular rhythmic and amorphous image.
Embodying the concepts of yin and yang, heaven and earth, black and white expanding and contracting, SMS to Song conveys the oft-repeated theme of nature coexisting in harmony and delves deeper into human commonality and experience.
Founded in 2002 by Lim Wei-Ling, Wei-Ling Gallery has established itself as a premier art gallery with a singular vision to nurture contemporary Malaysian art and artists, representing them to an international audience. Committed to art accessibility, engagement and art education, the gallery also publishes art books and organises webinars and workshops with a podcast, providing discourse with artists and curators.
- Ivan Lam’ Blind Side’ Exhibition is from the 20th of April to the 3rd of May 2023.
- Chen Wei Meng’s ‘SMS to Song’ Exhibition is from 25th April to 27th May 2023.
- Visits to these exhibitions are by appointment.
For further information on Ivan Lam or Chen Wei Meng’s exhibition, please visit www.weiling-gallery.com.
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