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Indepth Arts News:

"Yusof Ghani and Raja Shahriman: Gerak Langkah"
2006-08-26 until 2006-09-30
Pelita Hati
Kuala Lumpur, , MY Malaysia

Pelita Hati is indeed fortunate to have two of Malaysia's dynamic contemporary artists converging in an explosive exhibition, Gerak Langkah. The works in this exhibition are distinctive and characteristic of each artist. Although the artworks of each artist are distinctive in individual style and character, the exhibition is an important point for both artists, unintentionally marking an end of one journey and a beginning of another. Pelita Hati is proud to present in this exhibition two great artists who have made great impact on Malaysian art and who will live on in Malaysian art history.

Practicing†since the early 80s, Yusof Ghani has been known as a prolific artist. Defying comments and criticism from colleagues and the public, Yusof has produced aesthetic social commentary works which have had profound impact on Malaysian art. For Yusof Ghani, the Siri Segerak has met one success after another. His recent paintings in this series demonstrate maturity in form and composition and constitute some of his best pieces. At the peak of itís popularity, Yusof Ghani decided he had had enough of drawing figures. The Segerak Working Drawings shown in Gerak Langkah perhaps mark the end to what had been a successful journey with his Siri Segerak. For Yusof Ghani, the working drawings, which are often done in a spontaneous manner, are important works which held his thought process. Sabapathy describes it well when he says " Ö.drawing is a vital method and a generative aesthetic principle in Yusof's art. Drawing is a defining and distinguishing conception in his practice."

For Raja Shahriman, the past 15 years were not just about glory and success, but†have also been a journey filled with challenge and pain. His Killing Tools shocked the art scene with his sharp and deadly pieces, but it was his Gerak Tempur series which is so popular and much sought-after that placed him as a darling in the arts arena at the age of 24. From then on, Raja Shahriman challenged himself time and again to create something different. Well-known for his aggressive sculptures, his expertise actually lies in turning metal into forms with fluid movement. For him, the greatest challenge was to break away from using ready-made forms. In Nafas, he found a solution and was able to shape his sculptures into whatever form he wished and with this series, revolutionized the art of metal sculpture-making. In the Langkah Hulubalang series, Shahriman again pushed the boundary of his capability to shape metal pieces. His quest to shape thick metal plates and heavy metal rods which he found difficult earlier on, have finally been perfected. Although each piece of sculpture in Langkah Hulubalang has a strong individualistic character, each form shows elegance and grace. Without a doubt these sculpture are well calculated and shows precision in form and balance.

What is astounding is the fact that like his former pieces, there are no technical drawings on paper. All the measurements and calculations were done in thought. For Raja Shahriman, Langkah Hulubalang tells a story of his journey for the last 15 years. In his recent obsession and research on the hulu keris, he found similarities of his journey with those craftsmen who made the hulu keris The early hulu keris were also figurative like the original Jawa Demam. The figurative forms slowly transgressed into bird-like forms as can be seen in Pekaka and further moved to abstraction as seen in the Jawa Demam as we know it today. Langkah Hulubalang is greatly influenced by the hulu keris and marks perhaps an end to Shahriman's search for abstraction.

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