Located on the sixth floor of The Gardens Mall, Wei-Ling Contemporary has been a favourite haunt for lovers of modern art and art in general. Having reopened on 8 July 2020 following the MCO, it has hit the floor running with a mesmerising exhibition.
Malaysian artist Chen Wei Meng, whose 2016 solo exhibition titled Sekinchan: Land of Fertility wowed beholders with its detailed, immersive visuals, is back with another collection of works to impress. Called Musang’s Words, the new solo exhibition comprises depictions in ink that draw inspiration from the rocky outcrops of Gua Musang in Kelantan. To add a bit of context for non-native speakers, ‘musang; is the Bahasa Melayu word for ‘civet’, while ‘gua’ means ‘cave’.
According to Wei-Ling Gallery, Chen’s journey in creating Musang’s Words was an eye-opening one for the artist: “At first glance, the shift in his practice is obvious, and Chen’s exploration into this new form has been one rife with struggle and insecurity. For the whole duration of 2018, Chen had made more than 200 pieces in his quest for a satisfactory representation of the forms he was seeking, trying to express, in the purest way, the elusive contours which he felt had always existed in his work. Chasing this abstract concept of ‘flow’, he began his experimentations first in acrylic, then charcoal, before finding his preference for Chinese ink on Xuan paper.
“The process was a trying one and resulted in Chen taking a three-month break from his studio. Upon his return, he was unexpectedly struck by inspiration, and a sense of clarity after watching an interview with martial artist Bruce Lee. ‘Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water’. This was the spur which pushed Chen into further embracing the emotional importance of his work, letting feelings guide him instead of thought. Musang’s Words therefore, is a celebration of this very idea, a meditative and dedicated exploration into his perpetual quest for ‘flow’. The approach is reminiscent of the emotive gestures and mark-making seen in abstract expressionism, where it is the movement of the line which inspires emotion.”
Those familiar with Chen’s previous works would also note his use of monochromatic tones instead of his usual vivid colours, a palette choice attributed to his intrigue with the concept of Yin and Yang, as well as its effectiveness in conveying his artistic intentions for Musang’s Words. “Heaven and earth, real and virtual, expanding and contracting… I think simply black and white will be the most direct and strongest way to present this,” he reveals.
The Gallery summarises the exhibition rather neatly with a statement that reads, “Musang’s Words is a deeply introspective collection of work, guided as much by instinct and expression as it is by rigorous technical experimentation. The result is a testament to Chen’s technical and conceptual expertise, and showcases a true crystallization of his subconscious.”
If you’re interested to clap eyes on these fascinating pieces, do hurry as the show will only run until this Saturday 25 July 2020 Wei-Ling Contemporary. The gallery is free to visit from Wednesday to Saturday, between 11am and 7pm, by appointment – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 017 372 7616 to make one!
Please note that, as with current SOPs almost everywhere else in Malaysia, visitors have to scan or fill up their contact-tracing particulars at The Gardens Mall’s entry points, and they are required to wear a face mask.
WHERE Wei-Ling Contemporary, Lot No RT-1, 6th Floor, The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur
WHEN 11am-7pm (until 25 July 2020 – appointment required)