chi too (b. 1981) has recently shifted his focus from film making to fine art practice using humour, satire and visual poetics to create a diverse system of objects that reveal his own never ending emotional struggles. Working in video, installation and sculpture, his practice rejects socio- political statements for personal reflections and frustrations. His experimental music, poetry reading and playful self-organised public art projects such as Main Dengan Rakyat, Everything’s Going to Be Alright and Lepark display a genuine need to engage with space and audiences that form part of his complex multifaceted approach to practice. Graduating with a Diploma in Mass Communications, from KDU College, Kuala Lumpur in 2003 chi too has worked on numerous film and sound engineering projects.  Membaca Kafka Di Amerika a film he directed, wrote and edited was screened as part of the Bombay Sapphire Art Projects 2008, at the 51st Oberhasen Short Film Festival, Germany in 2008. Since then as a self taught artist outsider, he has been developing his fine art practice and has participated in exhibitions and performance events. chi too is part of The Best Art Show in the Univers and CIPAN a sometimes artist collective. The Best Art Show in the Univers have exhibited work in Al Kesah, Once Upon a Time in Malaysia, MAP KL, 2010 and organised their own group show of the same name at 67 tempinis satu gallery in 2009.  chi too also participated in the International Documentary Fellowship, George Washington University, USA, 2008.

Curator’s Note:

Longing occurs in many forms and the objects of such feelings are often perceived to be unobtainable. Artistically chi too explores such feelings through a series of works of the same name that represent his ongoing personal dilemmas as a creative practitioner working across media. By using repetition and poetic practical jokes he creates multiple paradoxes of emotion and performative conceptual situations. Longing # 3 aka Longing is a Motherfucker depicts a video of the artist pulling a never-ending piece of ribbon that physically spews from a white structure into a large pile onto the gallery floor. Such banality has the possibility to become monumental in its simple futility. This is echoed in Longing #6 a.k.a. Main Kejar-Kejar Dengan Rakyat where a highly crafted electronic motor spins incessantly but drives nothing. The artist’s voice can be heard emerging from within the sculpture. He softly hums a monotonous tune that slowly verges into a maddening chant. The title relates to the chi too’s public art projects such as Main Dengan Rakyat but rather than stressing play he observes more ineffectual practices that could hint at wider social bureaucracy. Both represent many enduring human acts from the mundane to the profound that result in never ending unfulfillment.  

Longing #4 a.k.a. A Photo Installation That Was Supposed To Be A Film That’s Really Just A Photo-Essay manipulates the strategies of art house films to present an ambiguous narrative that fluctuates between film and photography. The important use of language in the title lampoons the pretentiousness often associated with intellectually obtuse and overly pretentious creative practices. However, if the title and text sequences are disregarded the intimate black and white images of a young woman sitting on a bed during moments of presence and absence act as iconic signifiers of lost love. This sentiment continues in Longing #7 a.k.a. I Wish There Was More Green. A white plaster slab hangs on the gallery wall encrusted with red, green, orange and silver crystals. This glittering display of minimal kitsch obscures more obsessive concerns of unrequited longing. Monitoring the online status of an unknown (to audiences) individual each crystal represents moments of activity, dormancy, invisibility and unavailability on Google Mail chat. Charted over a period of four months each crystal symbolizes a moment of hope and frustration as the object of the artist’s interest appears and disappears.

Longing #5 a.k.a. Siapa Menang Dia Dapat is perhaps the most playful work in the exhibition. Fairuz Sulaiman a friend and collaborator is videoed playing against chi too the well known Malaysian childhood game of Lat Ta Li Lat. However, the game requires more than two players in order for a winner to be proclaimed. The two are therefore locked in a continuous state of contest. As friends this pursuit highlights the tensions of young artists competing for recognition in their professional field.