VARIABLE TRUTH

25 MAY – 14 JULY 2012.

Artists: Tony Albert, Brook Andrew, Melissa Howe, Roslisham Ismail (ISE), Michael Lee, Greg Semu, Alexander Seton, Tim Silver, Tony Twigg

Variable Truth examines alternative aesthetic and conceptual trajectories in contemporary art based upon close readings of Australian art and social history. The exhibition includes Australian and international artists who examine the Asia-Pacific Region to inform an expanded understanding of their own historical trajectories.

In recent history, Australia’s cultural environment has experienced drastic shifts due to increased awareness of cultural diversity, globalisation and the impact of emerging economic powerbases. Alongside these significant changes, are the precedents of artists such as Ian Fairweather, who looked internationally for cross-cultural fertilisation.

The works presented in Variable Truth reflect the conceptual approach of artists like Fairweather, offering alternative perspectives on internationalism in contemporary Australian art and society.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Download and listen to Director of 4A and Curator of Variable Truth, Aaron Seeto’s recent interview on Arts Thursday, Eastside Radio 89.5FM by Maren Smith before you visit 4A.

Tharunka by Harriet Levenston

PROJECT BLOG

Further details on Ise’s project can be found in 4A News and on the project’s blog jalanjalanmakanangin.tumblr.com

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

ISE: JALAN JALAN MAKAN ANGIN

Roslisham Ismail aka Ise describes his practice as ‘hanging out and making friends’. However this humble statement conceals the deeply-rooted and long standing relationships that the artist forms with his collaborators and project participants. Since 2006, Ise has worked with various groups of Malay migrants across South-East Asia, attempting to draw into and focus upon the experience of migrant populations in their new countries.

Ise’s practice often begins with the smallest observations. When he first arrived in Sydney he noticed a small group of vegetable sellers from Paddy’s Markets who spoke to one another in Malay. Immediately intrigued, Ise decided that he wanted to work with this sub-community of Chinese-Malaysian workers from the nearby marketplace.

Jalan Jalan Makan Angin, or ‘walking around and eating the clouds’ draws on the daydreaming and aspirations of one Chinese-Malaysian couple from Paddy’s as the basis for a new way of seeing Sydney. Calvin and Ahmei migrated to Australia three years ago from Malaysia. They both work as fruit and vegetable vendors at the market. Yet despite their proximity to the city, have never ventured to Sydney’s most iconic locations. As such, Ise adopted the role of local guide and created a tour that includes popular sights, the Opera House, Taronga Zoo and Manly. By creating a temporary travel agency for this couple, Ise questions the positions of ‘local’ and ‘tourist’ when navigating a city.

Through collage, drawing and photography, Jalan Jalan… reconfigures Sydney – if only for one, and two people – as a city without it’s previous social and economic boundaries. To follow Calvin and Ahmei, on their tour of Sydney go to jalanjalanmakanangin.tumblr.com

Tune into Ise speaking about his project recently on Canvas on FBi Radio 94.5FM alongside Mark Feary from Artspace available on podcast

Jalan Jalan Makan Angin is an initiative of the 4A Chinatown Mapping Project and has been supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.

Artist talk – Roslisham Ismail ‘Ise’

EVENT: Art Forum with Roslisham Ismail ‘Ise’
VENUE: Cell Block Theatre, National Art School Gallery
DATE & TIME: 16 May 2012, 1-2pm

Malaysian artist Roslisham Ismail aka ‘Ise’ will discuss his current project Jalan Jalan Makan Angin commissioned by 4A.

During a previous visit to Sydney, he noticed from his weekly grocery-shopping trips at Paddy’s Markets that these retailers habitually spoke Malay amongst each other. Immediately intrigued, Ise decided that he wanted to work with this sub-community of Chinese-Malaysian workers. This micro-community of Chinese-Malaysians illuminated how a ‘secret’ language could be used as an identifying factor and is particularly interested in examining and looking further into the lives and habits of these vendors; their families, their homes, hopes and dreams, as new migrants. Here, the ‘secret language’ that was initiated through maritime Southeast Asia, is invested with a new agency and purpose, becoming a means of camaraderie adopted to stand for a communal sense of belonging that layers their multiple identities as Chinese, Australians, Malaysians and Singaporeans.

Ise describes his modus operandi as ‘making friends and talking to people’ or ‘hanging out and making friends’. However this humble statement conceals the deeply-rooted and long standing relationships that the artist forms with his collaborators and project participants. Since 2006, Ise has worked with various groups of Malay migrants across South-East Asia, attempting to draw into and focus upon the experience of migrant populations in their new countries and utilising an extensive network of collaborators all over the world he calls his ‘superfriends’ and often deals with the personal experience of urban communities through his interactions with different participants.

 

Jalan Jalan Makan Angin, or ‘walking around and eating the clouds’ draws on the daydreaming and aspirations of one Chinese-Malaysian couple from Paddy’s as the basis for a new way of seeing Sydney. Calvin and Ahmei migrated to Australia three years ago from Malaysia. They both work as fruit and vegetable vendors at the market. Yet despite their proximity to the city, have never ventured to Sydney’s most iconic locations. As such, Ise adopted the role of local guide and created a tour that includes popular sights, the Opera House, Taronga Zoo and Manly. By creating a temporary travel agency for this couple, Ise questions the positions of ‘local’ and ‘tourist’ when navigating a city.

Through collage, drawing and photography, Jalan Jalan… reconfigures Sydney – if only for one, and two people – as a city without it’s previous social and economic boundaries. To follow Calvin and Ahmei, on their tour of Sydney go to jalanjalanmakanangin.tumblr.com

Tune into Ise speaking about his project recently on Canvas on FBi Radio 94.5FM alongside Mark Feary from Artspace available on podcast

Ise’s recent installation project for Singapore Biennale 2011 explored a cross section of Singaporean domestic lives through an installation of six refrigerators storing groceries that the participating families would normally buy. The project provides an intimate portrayal of the way people live that is reflected through what they buy and eat.

Ise has participated in the Singapore Biennale, 2011; Asia Triennale, Manchester, 2011; Jakarta Biennale, 2009; Istanbul Biennale (with Ruangrupa), 2005. In 2006 he was the Australian High Commission resident at the Gunnery Studio, Art Space, Sydney and held his first solo exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in 2007.

 

Jalan Jalan Makan Angin is an initiative of the 4A Chinatown Mapping Project and has been supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.