We are delighted to present the first New York exhibition of Malaysian artist Chan Kok Hooi. Kok Hooi’s miniature works on paper are painted to resemble old photographs or postcards; sentimental, sepia-toned mementos of a fictional past. Each appears carefully preserved, some re-assembled from torn and burnt fragments. Except that these snapshots depict surrealistic creatures in fantastical scenarios. This exhibition features works from Kok Hooi’s carnivore series where hybrid characters—half human, half automobile—engage in activities from banal to bizarre. The “Carnivorous Bride” crawls on all fours, her bridal veil flowing. In “My Car Park” a carnivorous child glides on a swing.
Almost nothing is permanent and every single moment is becoming the past. We human beings are living with memories. Photographs can be records of memories and also a kind of evidence of some existence. Photographs are for seeing something. They tell us to look. I present my paintings as photographs to show how I see things…. With a surrealistic approach, I hope they reflect something that we don't often see in reality. The aged, cracked and stained effect of the ‘photographs’ that I paint implies some kind of impermanence, uncertainty, and so on in life. (Chan Kok Hooi)
Chan Kok Hooi graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art and is a recipient of the 2006-07 Freeman Foundation Asian Artists Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center (USA); the 2005 Mayor of Beppu Prize in the Beppu Asia Biennale of Contemporary Art (Japan); the 2003 jurors’ award Philip Morris Malaysia–ASEAN Art Awards, as well as the 2004 and 2007 Malaysia Young Contemporary Award. His paintings are included in the collections of the Beppu Art Museum in Japan, the National Tawain Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Art Gallery and NN Gallery, both in Kuala Lumpur.