Lot 022

b. Penang, 1966

LAND, 2009

Signed and dated 'THAI 09' (lower right)
Mixed media on canvas
81cm x 81cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 9,000
Yeoh Kean Thai illustrates an arrangement of floating door hinges in various perspectives in this piece, connoting cultural investigation. Employing colours that are limited to the earth and rust tones, he enhances the background with orange, yellow and green tones to depict a rapid process of rust while venturing into an infinite space in a well designed composition.

A message on decay, discardment, separation, global amalgamation and search for identity laid out in one canvas. Having sparked interest in addressing environmental issues in 1992, when it was not the ‘trend’ then, Thai finds that metal is the perfect symbol for him to call for worldwide attention to environmental issues as it is “nature’s response to mankind’s habit and culture”, as quoted from an interview with the artist. The subject matter allows him to look beyond the materialism and consider how one should live, to avoid the rusting and corroding of personal, social and environmental lives. Thai foresees the consequences of a consumerist society, often consuming at random and accumulating a deceptive numerical net worth and seeks to use his works as a sign of warning of what is to come.

A graduate of Kuala Lumpur College of Art (1989 – 1992), Yeoh Kean Thai has garnered international recognition through prestigious awards, including the Phillip Morris Art Award in 1997, the Freeman Fellowship in 2008, the same year he exhibited at the Beijing Olympics and the Commonwealth Award - International Art Residency. He has been creating works in relation to metal and rust ever since he won the Phillip Morris award in 1997. The award winning piece was painfully and patiently completed in slightly less than a year. Having to research on the oxidation process and progression of rust, he patiently experimented and monitored the decomposition while cutting, sculpting and composing the metal pieces with only regular pliers and his own bare hands. He was also the first artist from Malaysia to have work featured during New York’s Asian Art Week in 2008. His solo exhibitions included Code Red, Action to Neutralise (2011); Crossing (2008) and Links (2007). He has participated in a number of group exhibitions: Truth & Fiction Are Not Strangers, Tribes Gallery, New York, United States of America (2011); Asian Overview Roma, Villa De Santis, Rome, Italy (2009); Paths of Thought, Gallery Il Ramo d’oro, Naples, Italy (2008) and Tashkent Biennale International Exhibition, Uzbekistan (2005).

Profile: Yeoh Kean Thai
, Asian Art Newspaper (UK), December 2008.