Lot 011

b. Kedah, 1969


Signed and dated 'A. FUAD OSMAN 1998' (lower right of C)
Inscribed 'Quinn's Head: Study for Mat Jenin Is
(Always and Always will be) Dreaming to Death' (left of C)
Mixed media on paper mounted on board, set of five
A: 20.5cm x 20.5cm
B: 25cm x 28cm
C: 5.5cm x 43cm
D: 28cm x 30.5cm
E: 25.5cm x 20.5cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

ESTIMATE  RM 9,000 - 15,000

This suite of five works is a fascinating piece by Ahmad Fuad Osman. The central drawing of the portrait is an appropriation of British artist Marc Quinn and his iconic artwork titled Self – a frozen sculpture of the artist’s head made from 4.5 litres of his own blood taken from his body over a period of 5 years. Described by Quinn as a ‘frozen moment on life support’, the work is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding the viewer of the fragility of existence. The artist makes a new version of Self every five years each of which documents Quinn’s own physical transformation and deterioration.

The imagery of a stretched eye shows reference to a silent 16-minute film by Spanish film director Luis Bunuel and Surrealist artist Salvador Dali titled Un Chien Andalou or An Andalusian Dog (1929), where the opening scene of the surreal short movie shows a woman’s eye being held open by a man, though here the eye is stretched by a metal pin. Written all over the image are excerpts from Death, Dying and Bereavement, a book addressing practical and metaphysical aspects of death.

A monochromatic doodling suggesting a scene from a dream is also illustrated. The image is indiscernible apart from the figure depicted on the far left. Another surrealistic image is of three hands in walking motion which perhaps was derived from theanimation The Addams Family. Thing, a fictional character from the television series is portrayed as a disembodied hand and Fuad has playfully placed the stages of a flower in bloom in three sequences above each hand. The final piece that makes up this set of surreal collection depicts a clear square glass bottle inscribed with an illustration of a human brain on the glass filled with an American dollar bill and a rose. The adaptation of various iconic imageries is perhaps Fuad’s interpretation of a state of mind that is released from reality, marked by abstraction.

A member of the Matahati artists’ co-operative founded in 1989, Ahmad Fuad Osman is a multi-disciplinary artist working and experimenting in painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, performance and theatre. This work was done in between Fuad’s sojourns in Vermont, the United States and the Goyang Studio just outside Seoul, South Korea. It was a time that Fuad decided to break off from the comfortzone of being at the core of things, to one of dislocation and alienation. Starting first with abstract, Fuad had moved strongly into figuratives in 1994. His materials are sometimes the readymade - photographs and videos which he splices together and re-presents them as different entities in different contexts, often for an ironic twist. His themes revolve around identity crisis and spirituality, and questions of the self in a post-modernist and globalised regime as exemplified in this plated humanoid. He had intoned: “Art is self-introspection, demanding commitment and honesty to what that is expressed.”

After graduating with a BFA (Major in Painting, Minor in Printmaking) from UiTM in 1991, Fuad spent a year as set designer. He won residencies in the popular Vermont Studio Centre in the United States in 2004 and the Asian Artist Fellowship at the Goyang Artist Studio in South Korea from 2005 to 2006. From 2007 to 2008, he was the Malaysian representative chosen for Rimbun Dahan artist’s residency. In 2000 and 2003, he was a Juror’s Choice in the Asean Art Awards Malaysia-level competitions. He was also a Juror’s Choice winner in the APB Signature Art Prize (Singapore) in 2008.

MATAHATI – For Your Pleasure, Kuala Lumpur, 2008.