Zai Kuning: Zai Kuning


Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Zai Kuning", a solo exhibition featuring an installation, sculptures and drawings made by the artist in recent years. Following the successful presentation of his installation work Dapunta Hyang: Transmission of Knowledge (2017) at the Singapore Pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennale, the work returns to Singapore for an exhibition at 72-13 from 12 April to 13 May 2018. To celebrate this occasion, Ota Fine Arts Singapore presents a survey of Zai's recent practice with a selection of works from his various series which contemplate the relationships between Man and nature.

This exhibition will include the installation piece Dapunta Mapping the Melayu (2014) - Zai's first rendition of the Dapunta Hyang series, which debuted at Ota Fine Arts Singapore almost 4 years ago. The work is made up of rattan structures suspended in mid-air, bent and formed to resemble the skeleton of a ship and human ribs, connected by red wax strings to books encased in layers of beeswax, rested atop a reflective stainless steel and wooden base. This, and other drawing works shown in the exhibition, are largely informed by his ongoing research on the Orang Laut - "sea gypsies" or nomadic indigenous fishermen living in the Riau Archipelago, whose lives are inextricably intertwined with the sea. Yet, societal developments have created external circumstances beyond their control, causing them to lose their homes.

Also featured in this exhibition are Zai's ink drawings from his series Ombak Hitam, which means Kuroshio (also known as "Black current" or "Japan Current") in Malay language, expressing various forms of the colour black. Japan and Riau are both composed of diverse islands and people live through interactions with the sea in various ways. The artist's strong interest in Kuroshio, which flows in between Japan and Riau and has carried and spread many cultures, has created multi-layered expressions.

Lastly, paper works from the Serial Burner series reflect Zai's focus on the relationship between Man and nature, specifically trees. The recent news of forest-burning in different parts of the world, including Sumatra island, has led Zai to think further about these issues. Human beings burn forests for their own needs. The artist wonders how big mankind's greed can become, and to what extent trees can keep providing resources to Man. The relationship between Man and trees, or nature, has always been full of contradiction. Zai addresses that human beings must understand that without the tree, they cannot have built civilization and their intelligence could have become useless.

Ota Fine Arts Singapore invites you to experience these various series of works by Zai Kuning and to discover the interconnections between them, in parallel to the Dapunta Hyang: Transmission of Knowledge (2017) shown at 72-13. We hope you will enjoy this rare occasion to experience 2 fascinating exhibitions of Zai Kuning on view simultaneously in Singapore.

Installation Views