Lot 018

b. Kelantan, 1934


Signed and dated 'Khalil Ibrahim 1998' (lower right)
Acrylic on canvas
107cm x 129cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

ESTIMATE  RM 28,000 - 40,000

The suggestion of figures, close together and fused, is well rendered by Khalil Ibrahim in this piece using his abstract DeConstruction device in which the human forms are mentally ripped to shreds and carefully reassembled in lolling strips of sinuous colours in a vertical format.  Khalil uses this technique mostly for a more abstract ambient when depicting fishermen at work (who are sometimes helped by their women folk). But the densely compact space here points to a more concentrated and crowded meeting point, like a market-place. The strips, loose and irregular, are differently coloured to exude tones, movement and an ambiguous perspective. They are visual indicators of mood, the physical and physiological elements of the ‘body heat’ of people. The festoon of bright colours marks a celebratory mood with its own inherent rhythms with the purported figures being anonymous and no sign of gender or if they are clothed or unclothed. This employment of colours as forms and for contrasts with entities of sharp cuts is somewhat reminiscent of Henri Matisse with his gouaches decoupees (paper cut-outs) as epitomised in The Snail (L’escargot, 1953) and of the pinched surfaces of Umberto Boccioni’s sculptures.
Khalil graduated with a National Diploma of Design in Fine Arts at the prestigious St. Martin’s School of Art and Design in London in 1964 (post-graduate in 1965). He turned into a full-time artist in 1966. Khalil was a co-founder of the Malaysian Watercolour Society and had his first double solo of London works and Malaysian batiks at Samat Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1970. That year, he also had a solo exhibition in Indonesia, the first Malaysian to have done so. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Switzerland and his works has been collected by the National Museum in Singapore, Fukuoka Museum of Art in Japan, New South Wales Museum of Art in Sydney and the Royal National Art Gallery of Jordan.