Reviews

DARK, MENACING IMAGES

by Thomas Huong- THE STAR, METRO, 14 July 2003

A three-week-long exhibition of collaborative artworks by talented local artists, Fariza Azlina Isahak, 31, and Chang Yoong Chia, 28, opened on July 3 at Reka Art Space. The exhibition, called Newton's Funfair runs until July 27.

The highlights of the exhibition include two sets of black-and-white collages at RM1,200 each, 11 coloured mixed media at RM450 each and two hand-stitched rag quilts at RM2,000 each.

There are also children's colouring books at RM30 each featuring simple drawings like an apple, baby and animals.

The result of a six-month collaborative process, the artworks represent a convergence of Fariza's bright pop sensibilities with Chang's darker style.

"Chang would start on something and I would continue from where he left off, and pass it back to him and so on until it was completed. There wasn't any discussion between us about the final result as we wanted a free flow of ideas", explained Fariza.

Chang added, "We worked within the Newtonian framework. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Images in a children's colouring book take on a menacing quality while rag quilts for babies' cots are layered with images of voilence and sex, plus themes exploring social degeneration.

Coloured mixed media such as Face the Facts and The Never-Ending Story send out stark political and social messages.

The Hemlock rag quilt displays the various aspects of death, from strangulation, cannibalism, electrocution to suicide, while the Aphrodisiac rag quilt emphasises how sex plays an important role in everything from work to politics to violence.

When asked about the seemingly violent aspects of the artworks, Chang chuckled "Many people have asked us the same thing. I'm not sure but maybe these are the results of what goes on in our subconscious minds."

Fariza added, "This is quite a departure from what I usually do. It's all thanks to my partner in crime that I'm experimenting with the darker side of my nature."

Artist and gallery owner Chee Sek Thim commented, "I met Chang when I was teaching at the Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA) several years ago. Working with him and Fariza has been great as they are young and energetic."

Chang, a fine arts graduate of MIA, has exhibited widely in KL since 1995 and is a founding member of Spacekraft - an artists' collective which organised the Chow Kit Fest last year and the Comics? exhibition at the National Art Gallery in 2000.

Fariza, perhaps better known as "Raising Fink", was responsible for painting the mural in an abandoned house in Jalan Raja Chulan in 2000. She has also published her own fanzine, produced TV programmes for RTM1 and acted in movies such as Hishamuddin Rais' Dari Jemapoh Ke Manchestee and Yee I-Lann's independent movie Nothing.

Her artworks were most recently seen in Touch - WWF Charity Exhibition at Rimbun Dahan last year and Three Young Contemporaries at Valentine Willie Fine Art in 2001.

Reka Art Space is at GL29, Block C, Kelana Square, 17 Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya. Opening hours are 11am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturdays.