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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Minut Init's Mentioned Articles

Friday, May 18, 2012

Art Radar Asia : What the ballet ban means for contemporary art in Malaysia in 2012



LINK: http://artradarjournal.com/2012/04/18/what-the-ballet-ban-means-for-contemporary-art-in-malaysia-in-201/


What the ballet ban means for contemporary art in Malaysia in 2012

CONTEMPORARY ART LAW GOVERNMENT
In early April 2012, the Malaysian government cancelled a ballet show due to, by some accounts, the “revealing” outfits that were to be worn by the performers. Just how pernicious is censorship in Malaysia, and what does this mean for Malaysian contemporary art?
Vienna Parreno and Krzysztof Osinski, 'Self Mark 1', 2004, type photograph mounted on aluminium. One of the censored works in the Malaysian leg of the travelling show "Open Letter".
Vienna Parreno and Krzysztof Osinski, 'Self Mark 1', 2004, type photograph mounted on aluminium. One of the censored works in the Malaysian leg of the travelling show "Open Letter".
Though their account is still disputed by government officials, some local critics are claiming that the Singapore Dance Theatre performers’ visas were denied because of concerns over the “indecency of their costumes”. This was not the only incident of censorship in Malaysia this month. After a post on the Department of Information’s Facebook page seemingly outlined a “directive” for media outlets to stop depicting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) characters,Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yaim confirmed that there was a guideline in development to avoid portraying LGBT figures on screen.
Igan D'Bayan, 'Gothika Filipina 2', oil on canvas.
With censorship in popular media and performing arts seemingly on the rise in Malaysia, has the Muslim majority nation’s morality crusade impacted the visual art world as well? There is certainly no shortage of examples.
In a 2006 travelling show of Southeast Asian-born artists living in Australia entitled “Open Letter”, two works by artist Vienna Parreno were removed and a third installation piece altered for the Malaysian leg of the exhibition. The reason was ostensibly because they depicted nudity. The pieces were removed from the exhibition without consulting the artist. The National Art Gallery in Kuala Lampur, the exhibition venue, removed the works without consulting or even notifying the artist.
In another case, after painter Igan D’Bayan was invited, along with nine other Filipino artists, to be included in the Asian International Art Exhibition from November 2009 to January 2010 at the National Art Gallery, his work ‘Gothika Filipina 2′, a macabre take on Grant Wood’s iconic ‘American Gothic‘, wasremoved from the show for depicting, “the secret part of a woman”.
And censorship’s impact on visual art is not limited to the works themselves. Foreign arts publications such as ArtForum often find their content censored by the Internal Affairs Department before hitting bookshelves. On the (now seemingly defunct) site Censored in Malaysia, the blogger posts pictures of delayed editions of the Financial Times with the arts images blurred to remove nudity or smoking.
Gan Tee Sheng, 'Exhibition I', 2009, oil on canvas. Part of the exhibition "Blank Page", which looks at the relationship between contemporary art and censorship in Malaysia.
The issue lies in a debate over how modern Malaysian culture is to be defined. Though the Malaysian constitution guarantees free speech to all citizens, it also allows for government intervention to protect the safety of the nation, a loophole that has given the government license to shut down artwork they deem harmful to the culture or morality of Malaysia. The primary means of control is through the issuance of licenses and permits, forcing galleries and other outlets to consider their economic interests and long-term survival, with many ultimately choosing to toe the line and self-censor.
Such was the case when Valentine Willie Fine Art removed a multimedia piece by artist Fahmi Reza that satirised the then new prime-minister Najib Razak. The gallery removed the artwork quickly after the opening to pre-empt any “complaints” that might threaten the enterprise. The relative dearth of independent exhibition spaces in Malaysia also weakens the position of those who hope to push the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable.
Screenshot of the website of censorship-free Malaysian gallery, Minut Init.
The censorship policy is nearly monolithic. However, Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities as well as the moderate Muslim community often push back against what they see as oppressive restrictions that stifle creativity and growth. Censorship cases are often followed by vocal outcries from the arts community. Other institutions with less public exposure or reach have also hosted controversial exhibitions.
Wei-Ling Gallery has organised several exhibitions that should have run afoul of the country’s censors, such as “Blank Page“, which invited artists to directly address censorship in their practice, or the provocatively-titled “What’s Your Porn?” Established in 2010, Minut Init gallery was founded on the principle that “freedom of expression is paramount, sans censorship or discrimination”.
As Southeast Asia’s presence in the international contemporary art community continues to grow, it remains to be seen whether censorship will be a major hindrance on the path to global recognition.
PR/KN/HH


Thursday, May 17, 2012

June: Wow's Minut Init Article


MINUT INIT

May 7, 2012 by June:Wow
To borrow a line I often hear from guys who have scored with someone nice on a night out, “It was unassuming – once inside, I felt safe, open to possibilities, and expression.”
At the risk of coming across (ha) vulgar (ha), that’s a pretty accurate description of my experience at Minut Init.
Nestled in the nasi lemak heaven of Damansara Uptown, Minut Init is an arts space with a misleading name because the concept, possibilities, and even the range of exhibitions at present is enormous. You really have to see it to believe it.
If you’re after the predictably-paced clackety-clack of high heels and intermittent audible hums by self-professed connoisseurs of art, spliced with the incessant (often unwelcome) yammering of curators over Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; all swishing wine and eating canapes in a giant melting pot of douche, then this is not the place for you.
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As I walked barefoot across Minut Init’s carpeted floors, I could see no organisational system/theme whatsoever. Art hung everywhere, anywhere; and perched on the floor against a wall if there was nowhere to hang it. I don’t know if the curator had a vision, but whatever he/she/they did, it was good because it left me feeling like it didn’t matter. The motley assortment of art pieces and cosy surroundings intrigued me – I wanted to look at everything.
All I could think of while I was walking through the rooms was how I wished more spaces like that existed. I felt that an unpretentious space like Minut Init probably gave more people access to art than typical sterile galleries with their intimidating polished marble floors and snooty staff.
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You can even play mini golf!
Earlier, I was doing research to see if there were ways we could increase the number of small art spaces in KL when I stumbled upon this great article by Maaike Lauwaert called “Size 
Matters 
–
An
 exploration
 of 
the 
indispensability 
of 
small
 art
 spaces”
[At this point, I would like to point out that Maaike Lauwaert, a respected Dutch art curator, also put a sexual spin on her description of small art spaces.]
Among other things, she discusses “art ecology” and how small art spaces fit into the grand scheme of things:
“If you approach the art world as an ecology which has to consist of a wholesome mixture of education, artists, galleries, collectors, curators, art fairs, museums, critics and journals; art spaces are indispensable in this structure because of their flexibility and experimental nature. They are places in which artists hold their first exhibition, where curators and directors learn the profession, where the visitors encounter unknown artists for the first time and where new methods and presentation models are tested and valorised. Much of the knowledge, talent, and innovation produced in small art spaces eventually finds its way to galleries, museums and the general public. Thus they are an indispensable link in the visual arts ecology, both in regard to the supply of new talent as to the innovation in the field. Furthermore, small art spaces, artists’ initiatives and journals have an important local function. They determine the local art climate and liveability of a city for art lovers, artists, curators, and theoreticians.”
If you want to learn more about the importance of small art spaces, I would highly recommend that you read the full article. Click here for a PDF.
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The current exhibition at Minut Init is called CREOLE. It’s on from 28th April 2012 till 2nd June 2012 so you should really go check it out. Check the Minut Init Website for more details.
If you’re an artist, talk to them about possibilities. If you have lots of money to spare, either give it to me or invest in another small art space. Both are ways of keeping the dream alive.

2 Comments »
  1. karm says:
    awesome find, june:wow! never knew it existed…and so close to home!
  2. June says:
    You will love it Karmy!

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