poodien (b. 1979) graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art, Universiti Teknologi Mara Sri Iskandar, Perak and is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, performance, video and installation. Through confrontational strategies his practice engages audiences with notions of individual freedom and dogmatic notions of truth along with the hybridization of culture, identity and space. Experimental in nature poodien applies, tests, questions the potency of art and artists in everyday dilemmas and social environments to reveal the realities and absurdities of our contemporary condition. He has participated in numerous group shows such as Al Kesah/Once Upon a Time in Malaysia, MAP KL; 1 x SUITCASE: Memory.Travel.In Transit, The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur and KL Film Fest & Art Exhibition, Central Market; all in 2009. He is part of Buka Kolektif a performance art collective and in 2009 he received the Malaysian Emergin Artist Award (MEA), from House of Matahati. His upcoming solo exhibition All the Cliches Art True in conjunction with MEA will take place at Galeri Chandan later in the 2010.

Curator’s Note:

For 3 Young Contemporaries poodien explores the intensities and inescapable dichotomies of life and death in his series Long Live Death. Through a special performance, participatory painting, drawing and video he opens up the endless interpretations of the passing of life to be something political, conceptual, physical, macabre, spiritual and much more. poodien creates in the gallery what he terms a ‘collision point’ of zero consciousness that is in constant change and renewal.  In life this cycle occurs everyday across a wide ranging spectrum that spans the insignificant to the monumental. This encompasses not only living things but also inanimate objects that have their own life spans of creation and discard.

Long Live Death: Bury Your First Toy is theatrically staged happening that takes place in the gallery on opening night. It aims to deconstructs ideas around the death of objects and the passing of childhood. Mechanical toy rabbits from the pasar malam have been stripped of their fur and hand customised to become gothic Frankensteins strewn across the gallery space. For the performance audience interaction, live projection of international performers and a ritual burial create strange and disorientating sensations. Embracive of spontaneity the performance acts as a tangible connection point between the artist, his work and gallery audiences. poodien also presents his participatory paintings as part of his series.  Long Live Death: End Game and Long Live Death: Zero Point are completed works from previous performances. The artist paints a portrait of his own body and then invites audiences to draw and write over the work. In Zero Point he depicts himself as Michelangelo’s David. Holding his dismembered arm up to his face he gazes outward into the distance. A stream of his own verbal consciousness is painted over his body with provocative and thoughtful words like ‘Mahathir’, ‘Con Artist’ and ‘Kontemporary’ with words and thoughts below by audience members in a collaborative meeting of minds. End Game is much more organic, where the artist’s legs and right arm have been removed. He lies on his back looking up at the sky. Random humorous and political statements are roughly scrawled over the surface. Certain words and names have been blacked out in a gesture of responsibility and self-censorship. Throughout both pieces are appliquéd silk screen printed roses and hibiscus flowers. These beautiful motifs sit uncomfortably next to his images of protest and provocation.

Reaching a climactic moment of realisation in Long Live Death: Pig Monastery the flowers blanket a charcoal image of a headless figure surrounded by pigs against a looming building. Delicately cut out of the canvas this unsettling juxtaposition confronts beauty with an implied gothic narrative. For the opening poodien also presents what may be the last of his participatory paintings. The artist’s headless body sits in a Buddha like position. His fingers are crossed in a contemporary gesture of luck. Audiences will be invited to contribute their thoughts onto the canvas itself in another moment of connection and sharing.