To The Balai
Having only last visited the Balai Seni Visual Negara back in December 2017, I thought it was due for another visit. As it was the last day of my Raya break, expecting the crowd to be light, I decided to pay a visit.
I got my wish — a slow morning where I could browse by myself. As usual, I went there not sure of what to expect. The social media presence of the Gallery was rather minimal. The website? Confusing at best. I was lucky that at least three concurrent exhibitions were going on at the time.
But of the three, I would mention a couple - the Recent Malaysian Architecture and Bakat Muda Sezaman (BMS 2019).
I spent more time in the first, although it had less item. It showcases local building built in recent years which offered unique architectural features. It featured residential houses and apartments, offices, and even places of worship. A few of the buildings mentioned caught my eyes - the Heng House, The Fennel in Sentul and the Heriot-Watt University Campus in Putrajaya. In fact, all the building featured had something going for them. The only shame was, the write-up for each building was rather minimal. An audio-visual presentation would have been nice. As it stood, there was no backstory to how the inspiration came for each of the buildings.
After more than 30 minutes in the first hall, I ventured across to a second bigger exhibition space. This was where BMS 2019 started. And it also occupied a couple more areas upstairs. BMS 2019 took the inspiration from the “Young Contemporaries” exhibitions in London, where it featured upcoming artist which would grow up together, competing for almost the same space. This was the 25th edition, being held biennially since 1974.
I must say that this was just too much for me. Some of the items just escaped me, while others I found fascinating. A mixed bag. One I was mesmerised with where artwork on agar gel where colonies of bacteria were grown. It grew into flowery shapes mimicking arts. Interesting. I am not sure if my Microbiologist colleagues would be keen on the same thing ...
Rather than going up to the next floor, I decided to bail. The featured works were just too diverse for me, really not my cup of tea. Maybe the narratives could have been better to help explain the works a bit more.
It was close to lunchtime, and I decided to join Anita in town.