Aki Hassan, Filippo Sciascia, Fyerool Darma, Jonathan Nichols and Xue Mu
15 September - 7 November 2021

  • Exhibition View

15 September - 7 November 2021

Innate is a dialogue in the gallery that takes the pulse with five cognitive artists - Aki Hassan, Fyerool Darma, Filippo Sciascia, Jonathan Nichols, and Xue Mu - who create across various mediums and who have maintained a continual process-driven studio practice throughout the pandemic times. In this pluralistic exhibition, they articulate their latest findings and ideas in gestural movements present in the works that indicate the unseen processes that made them possible, highlighting the relationship between their works and themselves, or between the marks on the surface and their minds and bodies as the driving force behind them – the most indelible artist’s signature.

With emphasis on the rendering as well as the rendered, the concepts presented here are mostly in monochrome or muted colours and executed in a wide range of scales and techniques. Aki Hassan’s sculptural ruminations of the state of existence extend from the walls to point towards a yet-to-be-seen conclusion; taking cues from poetry or verbal sketches of the artist’s thoughts, the twisting metalworks seem to be in perpetual state of reconfiguration in accordance to what makes them feel some form of comfort or safety. Fyerool Darma’s Sajak drawings are a continuous interrogation into language through mark-making. Through a unique treatment, Jonathan Nichols’ mannequin subjects are brought to life, challenging the traditional view of painting and portraiture as an act of mere depiction. The outward burst of charcoal tracks in Xue Mu’s large-scale Black Diamond drawings are literal traces of her energetic movements and Filippo Sciascia’s latest objects in his Primitive series examines drawing as an instinctive way of making sense of our world, from an artistic and a scientific stance.

Whether drawn, scratched, printed, painted, cut, welded, pasted or stitched on, every line and element in these works is imbued with intention, personal meaning, and the endeavor to understand and suggest the various dimensionalities of reality from the perspectives of different artists.

YW: Why did you depict the Feynman Diagram in your latest work?
FS: Before, mathematical formulae were always described by numbers, but American physicist Richard Feynman was literally
scribbling and making patterns - a combination of math and free drawing. I find the “gesturality” of that to be pretty interesting. The Feynman Diagram seemed absurd when it came out. Later, it was awarded the Nobel Prize. Studying and implementing Feynman’s works
felt like a meeting from two different points – he was a scientist who went from mathematic to artistic while I went from artistic to mathematic.

YW: Why did you choose to apply the diagram on mesh? Or why did you choose the materials you did for this piece?
FS: I’m constantly looking for new ways to experiment. I don’t just want to make paintings, although the mesh I used, the way that it’s woven together, is much like the material of a canvas. There are other elements, too. The whole mesh is covered in volcanic sand and the writing itself is glued together by fossilized resin, all coming together to create a geological reference. Everything reconnects to my basic interest in my works about evolution. The word “primitive” refers to primitive things, obviously, but also the evolutionary way that we learn. Nature learns, human learns, everything learns. A child’s drawing falls into that category.

YW: Yes, what is behind the decision to blow up your son’s drawing for Primitive Learning?
FS: I’ve always been interested in how children develop their creativity. Drawing is one of our first instincts, our first language. It was like this when we first started painting in cave walls. The act of describing the world with our hand hasn’t changed a bit. So for me, with Primitive Learning, it isn’t so much about the child’s drawing itself as it is about the primitive nature of
drawing, or representing the world through drawing. I mean, I love my son, but this drawing could have been done by another kid (*laughs*).

YW: What do you mean when you said in 2019: “I did sculpture by doing painting”?
FS: The Feynman painting can answer that. It is a “painting” but there is no application of paint, but sculptural materials such as metal and resin. And you might remember in my last show (All We Have at Yeo Workshop), my sculptures were all hanging on wall like paintings. Two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality are interchangeable to me; I never really differentiate between these two modes of making.