The prestigious La Biennale di Venezia 2014 welcomed Malaysian artists and architects whose artwork is being showcased at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition. The festival will be open to public from 7 June – 23 November at the Arsenale, Venice. EZ speaks to the curatorial team.
Under the patronage of Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysia has the privilege of participating in the festival for the third time. Local artists and architects were invited to submit their works of art to present a collaborative effort reflecting the Malaysian team’s theme of Sufficiency.
The architects were invited by PAM to submit their proposals based on a set of criteria. The Curatorial Team led by Team Leader Dr Tan Loke Mun, Curator (Design) Dr Lim Teng Ngiom and architect Sarly Adre Sarkum shortlisted the winning entries to 21 pieces.
The team of 24 participants comprising a mix of established and emerging architects in collaboration with artists and multimedia designers, worked closely to present alternate ideas of Sufficiency.
Speaking on the participants’ collection, Dr Lim says, ’This year’s presentations are different from the previous years, simple because the participants are different. The collaboration between architects and artists is a natural one and more of this should be encouraged.’
According to Team Leader, Dr Tan the theme Sufficiency was inspired by his personal observations and findings whilst driving the sustainable agenda under the Green Building Index (GBI) back in 2009. ‘I found it frustrating to be always just sustaining and even then we are on losing ground. I then became aware of another path of thought. This being sufficiency — where one does not need more to thrive but just enough.’
The Malaysian Pavilion illustrates the call for minimal by using suspended pet cages to display the artworks. ’The cages carry a story of sufficiency as they are recognized as ‘sufficient’ habitat for various domesticated animals. They are light, easily portable and make little demands on transportation. When put together and suspended, they can become quite surreal,’ explains Dr Lim who came up with the concept and design.
’Architects have always worked in collaboration with artists and sculptors. This year we decided from the on-set to invite several artists to take part and also collaborate with us on the exhibition,’ explains Dr Tan.
Notable participants presenting their work as collaborative artists are architects Suhaimi Fadzir and Indra K Ramanathan, and sculptor Ramlan Abdullah (teaming up with Z&SR Architectural Ventures).
Contemporary artist and sculptor Ch’ng Huck Theng also made his Venice debut with his latest collection titled Conversation, which includes Who Should Help? depicting six bronze figures surrounding one that is in distress.
’Being invited to exhibit along with top Malaysian architects for the Venice Biennale 2014 was not only a surprise but also an exciting challenge for me as an artist,’ says Ch’ng. ’My work for Biennale looks into why professionals, in this case the architects, are coming together and sharing their brilliant ideas to create future buildings and spaces that will contribute towards providing sustainable supply for human’s fundamental needs.’
Malaysian Pavilion opens with ‘Sufficiency’ at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition.
The opening was officiated by MATRADE CEO Datuk Dr Wong Lai Sum and attended by members of the Malaysian team led by Dr Tan Loke Mun, Curator (Design) Dr Lim Teng Ngiom and PAM Chairman, Chan Seong Aun.