SHOOSHIE SULAIMAN

Sulaiman itu Melayu (Sulaiman was Malay)

Negara, 2012-13 mixed media 183.0 x 244.0 cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman

【Introduction】

Sulaiman utilizes a wide array of artistic approaches, from two-dimensional works, site-specific installations, and performances to writing, and even creating spaces such as gallery and bookstore to encounter fresh experiences of art, suggesting that for her, artistic practice and life are inextricable. Many of her works are based on situation, experience, and process, as her journey of investigation in cultural and social configurations, or identity continues. Rather, they become important part of the works themselves. In Emotional Library presented at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007, Sulaiman invited the visitors into a curtained area, where the artist’s two books were placed, to enter into conversations and relationships. This was followed by Emotional Baggage – Drawings as Performance at The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo in 2008, where the artist traveled and engaged in honest and spontaneous exchanges with people, dragging her suitcase with her books inside everywhere she went. Intimacy and engagement on an emotional level seem to always exist in her diverse oeuvre. Her materials are often humble and expressions are sincere. Yet, since her first works in the 1990s, which indirectly resonated Malaysia’s social change at that time, her expressions are richly multifaceted and manifest deeper and broader landscapes of history, culture and human experiences and imagination.

【Concept】

Text by Melanie Pocock
For her first solo presentation, Shooshie Sulaiman poignantly reflects on notions of identity. Referencing her late father, Sulaiman itu Melayu explores how distinctly ‘Southeast Asian’ and ‘Malay’ cultures are constructed and perceived, through drawing, collage and site-specific installations. By activating and deconstructing the processes through which cultural categories are formed, the works in the exhibition not only challenge the idea of inherent identities, but the artist’s own assumptions about her personal history. Characteristic of her open-ended approach, Sulaiman itu Melayu aligns the complexities of life with those of art – as one, holistic quandary.
For the exhibition, Shooshie has combined soil from her father’s grave and the ash remains of her drawings and Rumah (2002-8), her former studio and situation piece. In this work, Shooshie repositions the acts of post-production related toRumah (it was last shown as part of Rumah Sulaiman di belakang Kedai Ah Guat at the Singapore Biennale in 2011) to a kind of ‘post-process’, overlapping values of the subject and the body within the same material.
Specially conceived for Tomio Koyama Gallery, Singapore, Sulaiman bought a home is a replica of the house that her father first bought for his family. Etched with texts in Jawi from Surah Al-Fatihah, the passage from the Qur’an that is recited when somebody passes away, Sulaiman bought a home evokes the Malay Muslim family home as a site of peace and calm. Sulaiman was a rubber tapper comprises sheets made from milk extracted from the surviving rubber trees of Shooshie’s family home in Segamat, Johor, Malaysia. Through these works, she explores the relationship between humans and nature, performing ‘rituals of detachment’ from her father.
Other works featured include Shooshie’s studies on Malaysian currency notes that date from the Japanese Occupation (1941-45) and collaged envelopes layered with images of Malays from the past.
Containing subtle manipulations and interventions, these studies highlight their materials’ latent energies and issues in the making of cultural perception.
As part of her presentation at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Singapore, Shooshie will be opening 12 Residence, a guesthouse in Malacca that invites residents to experience art in incidental and unexpected ways.

A fully-illustrated monograph on Shooshie’s work to date, edited by curator and writer Melanie Pocock, will be published during the exhibition. Titled Sulaiman, it includes contributions by Jenniffa Hanum Dadameah, Hasnul J. Saidon, Trevor Smith, Russell Storer, among others.

Artist Profile

Shooshie Sulaiman

Born in Malaysia in 1973, Shooshie Sulaiman is currently recognized as one of the most important contemporary artists of Southeast Asia. Of both Malay and Chinese origin, the history of Southeast Asia, the culture of her homeland of Malaysia, as well as her personal memories and her own identity, serve as significant themes within her work. An almost mystical air permeates Sulaiman’s oeuvre, with works produced through diverse approaches such as drawings, collages, installations, and performances that at times appropriate natural elements from trees, soil, to water that are native to the land. Through them, the works inform viewers of the complex and inextricably connected relationship between human beings, nature, and art.

Sulaiman has recently held a solo exhibition “Malay Mawar” at Kadist Art Foundation, Paris from June to July this year.
She has presented in many important international exhibitions including Documenta 12 (2007), Asia-Pacific Triennial (2009- 10), Singapore Biennale (2011), and Gwangju Biennale (2014). Following the Art Unlimited section at Art Basel in 2014, she has presented a large scale installation at the Encounter section at Art Basel Honk Kong curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor in 2015. Her work is collected by Kadist Foundation, Paris, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

  • Sulaiman bought a home, installation view from "Sulaiman itu Melayu / Sulaiman was Malay" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2013 ©Shooshie Sulaiman, photo by Wong Jing Wei
  • installation view from "Sulaiman itu Melayu / Sulaiman was Malay" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2013 ©Shooshie Sulaiman, photo by Wong Jing Wei
  • Sulaiman bought a home, installation view from "Sulaiman itu Melayu / Sulaiman was Malay" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2013 ©Shooshie Sulaiman, photo by Wong Jing Wei
  • Sulaiman bought a home, installation view from "Sulaiman itu Melayu / Sulaiman was Malay" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2013 ©Shooshie Sulaiman, photo by Wong Jing Wei
  • installation view from "Sulaiman itu Melayu / Sulaiman was Malay" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2013 ©Shooshie Sulaiman, photo by Wong Jing Wei
  • Dari Tanah dia Kembali #6 (From the land he emerged #6), 2013 mixed media 38.5 x 28.0 cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman
  • Dari Tanah dia Kembali #3 (From the land she emerged #3), 2013 mixed media 38.5 x 28.0 cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman
  • Mentari dan Hujan (The sun and the rain), 2013 mixed media 30.0 x 38.5 cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman
  • Chin Tu, 2012 image transfer and graphite 9.0 x15.0cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman
  • , 2013 image transfer and graphite 9.0 x 15.0cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman
  • Institusi Langsat (Langsat Institution), 2013 image transfer and graphite 9.0 x 15.0 cm ©Shooshie Sulaiman