Monday September 24, 2012
Art galleries’ treasure trove
THE International Art Expo Malaysia (AEM), in its sixth edition, is fast becoming a meeting point for artists from the West and the East.
This year, the AEM has attracted 60 galleries, museums and institutions from 23 countries namely Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The new players for this edition are from Japan (Yodo Jinbocho) and the twin kim chi art wave of Zoom Gallery and Gallery Mun.
Of the exciting newcomers, there are also the self-explanatory Art House Vietnam and Fuman Art (France) with its tripartite showcase of artists from Argentina, France and Japan.
Malaysian galleries making their debut are Artemis Art, Core Design Gallery, Blue Dots Art, MozaKlasik Art Gallery, Purplehouz Fine Arts, Segaris Art Center, The Clay Arts Studio and The Malaysian Art Centre.
A special pavilion will be devoted to the Lingnan master Prof Au Ho-Nien while Taiwan’s national treasure, Prof Li Chi-Mao, will have works drawn from his dedicated museum in Malacca.
The National Visual Arts Gallery (NVAG) and for the first time, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery (BNM MAG), will also give a glimpse of some of its art treasures in their collections.
The event is opening a new flank of art showcase featuring a wide range of art from nations which art lovers would otherwise not get to see because of geography or lack of exposure in these parts.
So, the Embassy Zone will this time feature art from the Magnificent 7, that is, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Switzerland.
The artists include Gustavo Charif (Argentina), Xavier Delory (Belgium), Andre Mendes and Rimon Guimaraes (Brazil), Yolanda Velasquez (Colombia), Angel A. Alfonso (Cuba), Luis Alberto Medina Enriquez (Ecuador) and Nicolas Imhof (Switzerland).
The AEM has over the years come to be known for its exposure of quality artists from Cuba and Ecuador.
Special highlights not to be missed
The exhibition is also known for its slew of specially own-sponsored highlights, unlike others which are just commercial galleries. This is its niche. Besides, it believes not only in the sale and networking aspects of any international art fair, but that education is the best promotion.
It also believes in offering as wide a spectrum of artistic expressions — traditional, modern and contemporary; pioneers and the emerging and the young; media and styles.
Consistent with China’s now hegemony in art as the biggest and No. 1 art market in terms of revenue, the AEM continues its Chinoserie attractions this year being the Year of the Black Water Dragon, with the four celestial “dragons” of art.
Miao Xiaochun — the name alone conjures a new art ethos of animation based on Western art history and now synonymous with the AEM, as its Miao Xiaochun supershow is one of the most greatly anticipated among visitors. Miao’s latest offering, Neo-Cubism Projection, a sequel to his innovative Cubist simultaneous streaming, will be a World Premiere — even before its unveiling in his native China!
Of the other three, the selected professors from the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University in Beijing will be making its debut. Tsinghua University is ranked among the top 50 universities in the world, being ranked 47th.
The Szechuan New Wave of 40-somethings China contemporary artists led by the hotshot Feng Zhengjie will again feature this year, with 13 artists — seven more than last year’s.
Prof Wang Xijing, who is looked upon as one of the great China artists dwelling with the Chinese ink and brush especially after the demise of Wu Guangzhong, returns to the AEM as the chairman of the Shaanxi Artists Association after exhibiting under the Xi’an Chinese Painting Academy banner last year.
As he is a top draw, it is not surprising that Hong Kong’s Chit Fung Art also has him in its distinguished roll of artists with others such as Pan Gongkai, the current president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
A special exhibition to look forward to is the Spanish maestro Joan Miro’s 13 etchings and aquatints from his 1979 portfolio called The Egyptian Women Passes. The prints were done at his workshop in Palma de Mallorca. These will be one of the top attractions from Spain’s ATR Gallery, which has been a stout AEM exhibitor since its inception.
ATR Gallery is, of course, known for its promotion of the great sculptor, Jesus Curia, apart from works of the big names like Pablo Picasso.
The AEM will this year close with a big bang with the first ever The Young Contempo Auction (TYCA) featuring some of the best young with some even already established, in the country — a special project of the Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers.
The auction is scheduled to be held at 4pm on Sept 29 at level 3 of Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC), Kuala Lumpur.
The full proceeds of the sales will go to aid fledgling young artists in furthering their careers.
Through ‘Collective Alternatif’, which is basically a sampling of South-East Asian art from the collection of Hanif Idris, some of the top artists from Indonesia and Thailand apart from the Malaysian-borns such as Nadiah Bamadhaj, Phuan Thai Meng and Samsuddin Wahab.
Big names to look out for
Directly or indirectly through the special highlights, the AEM 2012 has some of the big Asian names outside Malaysia. They include the great M.F. Husain (1915-2011), often dubbed the Picasso of India; Thailand’s A-List contemporary artists Natee Utarit and Myanmar’s ‘Botero of canvas’ Aung Thiha.
The Malaysian artists on show at the AEM 2012 is a nice blend of the young and the old and those in-between, and pioneer artists such as the batik-art founder/doyen Datuk Chuah Thean Teng and Datuk Mohd Hoessein Enas besides the two greatest abstract art titans Datuk Ibrahim Hussein and Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal and Datuk Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir.
The others include Jalaini Abu Hassan, Khalil Ibrahim, Tajuddin Ismail, Jaafar Taib and Cheah Yew Saik. There are also the batik master Chuah Seow Keng, sculptor Raja Shahriman Aziddin, Ng Bee, Zheng Yuande, Foo Yong Kong, Ng Kim Heoh, Ali Nurazmal, R. Jeganathan, Suhaimi Fadzir, Haron Mokhtar and Sivarajah Natarajan.
The better-known Malaysian artists to be featured in The Young Contempo Auction include Gan Chin Lee, Haslin Ismail, Fauzul Yusri, Khairul Azmir Shoib, Mat Ali Mat Som, Raduan Man, Roslisham Ismail, Stephen Menon, Tang Yeok Khang, Zuraimi Rahim and Wong Chee Meng.
The AEM will be held from Sept 27 to 30, at MECC in Menara Matrade, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, off Jalan Duta.
The event is open to the public and admission is free. For details, call 03-7728 3677 or log on to www.artexpomalaysia.com