Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics vs Chin Chai

Written (half-seriously) after some opted to watch the Olympics on the telly instead of attending Chin Chai:

People need the spectacle.

People need the stories, the myths and the legends just as importantly as breathing.

The spectacle mesmerizes, dictates and unifies.

Does that mean that people want to be mesmerized, dictated to, united?

But I'm not saying that Chin Chai is not a spectacle, too. It is.

It is the spectacle of two young, female artists collaborating.

It is a display of private life.

It is the spectacle of frenzied collectors and prices on artworks.

Who is the orchestrator of this spectacle?

Who enjoys it?

Who dictates?

At some point, it felt like we were watching ourselves being watched, a hall of mirrors.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chin Chai


Sek San's

67 Jalan Tempinis Satu, Bangsar, KL
9 - 23 August 2008
Opening night & book launch 8.8.08, 8pm onwards
Gallery hours: 1pm - 7pm (Mon - Fri) and 11 - 5 (Sat - Sun)

Chin Chai is a joint exhibition by artists Sharon Chin and Lydia Chai. They met in art school and became friends. Now Sharon lives in Kuala Lumpur while Lydia lives in Auckland. In an ambitious series of drawings, installation and video, they explore ideas of distance and friendship in relation to artistic collaboration. Chin Chai is the invented landscape of two very different artists living far apart, engaged in conversation with each other and the world around them.

There will be a screening of Werner Herzog's "Mein liebster Feind" (My Best Fiend), followed by a discussion of the film and the exhibition on Saturday 9 August, 3pm.


Sharon Chin was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1980. Working with text and sculpture especially in site-specific installations, her work looks at how we negotiate geography, history, human relations and language in the contemporary imagination. Recent solo exhibitions include Fourth World at the Australian High Commission (2006) and SENSORS: Banned Books and Other Monsters (2007) at Central Market Annexe. She is the recipient of the Krishen Jit ASTRO Fund grant as well as Australian High Commission Visual Arts Residency. She also writes regularly on art.

Lydia Chai grew up in Petaling Jaya and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, New Zealand, where she is now based. Her recent work ranges from chinese ink and watercolour paintings to socially interactive projects. These works are based on the form and idea of roots and footnotes, their rhizomic qualities, while extending the metaphor to relations between people. She recently exhibited in the group show Tell Me To My Face (2007) organized by The High Street Project and curated Footnotes: Walking Backwards Toward Meaning (2007) in Off The Edge magazine. She has her writings on art published now and then, while working on fiction privately.