We are home and everywhere: Zai Kuning
Live performance by the artist with Circuitrip:
Friday, 15 August 2014, 20:00
Ota Fine Arts is delighted to present "We are home and everywhere", a solo exhibition by Singaporean artist Zai Kuning, his debut with the gallery. Having worked with an array of sculpture, installation, painting and drawing, experimental sound and music, video, film, performance art, dance and theatre for more than two decades, Kuning resists convenient categorical claims to his art-making. Today he is considered one of the most versatile artists working in the region, and is at the forefront of avant-garde practice in Singapore.
After an extended break with the visual arts, Kuning returns to present a new body of work informed by his ongoing research on the Orang Laut -- "sea gypsies" or nomadic indigenous fishermen living in the Riau Archipelago -- and the survivors of the massive earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. Kuning comments on how these groups have been dictated by external circumstances beyond their control, have lost their homes, and are in search of a place of rest where they can rebuild their lives.
Thus both communities -- though relatively far-removed from each other -- have resonated with Kuning's own personal journey, and he has spent time living intermittently between Tokyo, Singapore and Riau. Throughout his travels, from being constantly uprooted and moving from one place to another, his work has come to reflect upon issues of displacement and rupture.
With objects made primarily with beeswax, a material that has been perfected by nature to create a safe haven for honey bees, Kuning iterates these socio-political, religious and environmental concerns through the poetic and the allegorical.
About Zai Kuning
Born in 1964 in Singapore, Zai Kuning received his BFA from LASALLE College of the Arts in 1995 and currently lives and works in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Constantly engaging with the unique culture and ecology of the Southeast Asian region, he has pioneered a versatile multi-disciplinary and improvisational practice. Kuning has participated in notable group exhibitions including Welcome to the Jungle: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia from the Collection of Singapore Art Museum, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan (2013); Singapore Biennale 2011: Open House, Singapore (2011); The 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2005); and The Second Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, The Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (1996). His work is collected by the Singapore Art Museum and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Zai KuningDapunta Mapping the Melayu, 2014Mixed media (wax, rattan, string, stones, fishing hooks, books, stainless steel plates, wooden platform)243.84 x 767.68 cm x variable height
Zai KuningSitting on a throne which is not there, 2014Mixed media (wax, wood, rattan, books, stool)H105 x 62 x 50 cm
Zai KuningRasuk, 2014Mixed media (wax, wood. rattan, string)55 x 64 x H44 cm
Zai KuningBack to mother, 2014Pencil, beeswax, paint, chalk on paper100.6 x 84.5 cm