Saturday, September 20, 2014

Paper Cuts at Gallery Alstrup

Paper Cutouts and other works

The paper cut outs  address issues on identity. These cuts outs
are taken and made from old art magazines
done in 2013, following up from Amir’s collages that he has developed eversince
year 1998. The paper cutouts though have a different approach than his
collages. They are very simple and minimal in execution where the depth of positive
and negative space are interplayed with one another.

The portrait seriesfrom the paper cut outs for eg. reminds the audience of oneself through another
person. The self reflection is made possible because of Amir’s used of mirrors in the background of the images.

The other works from the paper cutouts series make some kind of attachment or connection to the
immediate surrounding.  The negative space that he created gave the audience to see right thru the works to the back of the wall in the gallery or any given space.

In this exhibition, Amir also shows his paintings done on paper. One of the works is a portrait of an
American Beatnik poets, William Burroughs,  standing with a rifle in his hands. The work is done with word play where Amir has painted the portrait using rubberstamps instead of the normal paint brush. The used of rubberstamps to make the paintings was inspired by his frequent visits to the Immigration office in Copenhagen and from a public art performance which he did infront of the

In this performance, he placed a table and dressed himself up as an “immigrationofficer” and stamped on pieces of paper using rubberstamps with text that included Approve, Rejected, Alien, Other, Exotic, Obey. This spontaneous public art performance drew curiosity from the people that passed by and those that
were going to the Immigration office. Some stopped to ask him what he was doing and started to play along with the performance and some actually thought that he was working for the Immigration office. By doing this performance in public space outside he was able to create a temporary alternative environment where, the often times anxiety producing and depressing reality was subverted through
An installation work entitled ’ the untold story ’ is a roll of white paper hanged from the wall and
rolled down to the ground. This work has a philosophical approach to it and  is inspired by the quote ’ History is written by the victors’ . At the top of the paper, the word ’ the untold story’ is collaged to the paper while the remaining of the paper remained blank. There is a guideline in this work which ask for the audience participation where they are invited to write in the blank space of the paper of any story that they wish.

An artwork titled ’ Holger Danske in Arabic ’ is a playful work which is done with ceramics.  The work was inspired by the artist’s visit to Kronborg, the famous Danish castle in Helsingør where he came to face with the big sculpture of Holger Danske. Holger Danske is regard as a Danish
National symbol and so is  Amir’s use of the red and white colors in the artwork which reminds of the Danish flag.
But he chose to use arabic calligraphy or alphabets instead of using the normal latin alphabets to
write the name ’Holger Danske’. The audience who come close to the artwork will
be rewarded with a note explaining about the work which is placed next to it
and to those who don’t will be left wondering.
’Spicy skull’ is an assemblage made of plastic and spices. A skull is covered with spices such as star
anis, chilly, curry, cumin, etc. This piece has a historical narrative to it in how the west and the east came into contact with each other. Malaysia was colonized for 500 years  before getting its independence in 1957.  Back then, Melaka, a state in Malaysia was the most busiest  port in the world for traders  trading spices and the fact that three different western countries fought each other to get hold of the port can be
seen reflected in the artwork.

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