Artists from Kuala Lumpur and London have joined together to explore their contrasting and parallel creative points in a free exhibition entitled Past, to be held at Battersea Power Station from January 17th to February 12th.
Four artists from Malaysia and two from London will be featured at the pop ups at Circus West Village, the first phase of the regeneration of Battersea Power Station and will explore how the past can be understood in the present.
This might be through the lens of myth formation - how might histories turn into myths, which then shape cultural norms, or it might take form in archiving - how are stories of the past documented and passed down for posterity?
Each artist has looked at the questions through their own lens, resulting in a cross-medium body of work that includes site-specific performances, collages, paintings, photography and print.
Ahmad Shukri looks at the heritage site of Battersea Power Station as well as the forests around his studio. British artist Jakob Rowlinson is also featured in the exhibition.
Azad Daniel uses experimental rubber and liquid tin sheets, which act as a visual documentation for Malayan heritage pattern and text. The archive itself is investigated by Larry Amponsah, who unearthed photographs from museum archives as a starting point for his experimental collage paintings.
Turning to the role of the past within the present, Haafiz Shahimi unpicks the roots of Malay myths through a set of printworks made using pyrographic techniques. Also experimenting with print is Masnoor Ramli, as he creates a series of socio-political photographic prints presented in his signature dreamy visuals. Thus, through these artworks, Past provides a platform for histories to be brought into contemporary consciousness, igniting new ways through which the past may be known today.
Last summer, Battersea Power Station announced the Powerhouse Commission and their plans to deliver a new cultural district for London that will build a sense of community and ownership at the new town centre as well as to widen access to culture for audiences in South West London.
This is part of a long-term cultural and community investment that will take place over the multiple phases of the development as the new neighbourhood takes shape. The first two sculptures unveiled included one by Malaysian artist Haffendi Anuar, who created a site-specific series of pilotis, traditional architectural columns that lift a building above ground or water, and are commonly found in stilted dwellings, such as fishermen’s huts, across Asia. Within the context of Battersea Power Station, Machines for Modern Living are intended as surrogates of Battersea Power Station’s’ chimneys. By installing them on ground level at Circus West, their presence is anchored to the site, bringing the distant chimneys of Battersea Power Station within grasp. The complex forms of the sculptures, with their angular stacks, allude to both western minimalism and traditional Malaysian-Indonesian architecture.