FOST Gallery presents “From Bukit Larangan to Borobudur: Recent Drawings by Jimmy Ong 2000 – 2015” .
The exhibition is in conjunction with the publication of the same title, by respected art historian and critic TK Sabapathy. The exhibition will feature a selection of the expansive, narrative drawings of imagined historical scenes that are the subject of the publication, it will include several drawings borrowed from private collectors.
The title of the publication is derived from Jimmy Ong’s pictures. Bukit Larangan (the earlier, historical name for present-day Fort Canning in Singapore) and Borobudur are wellsprings for the narrative and symbolic content for a number of pictures. They also constitute poles for signifying locations for Jimmy Ong’s life, beginning in Singapore and now residing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Borobudur and Bukit Larangan are thematic drives for examining his recent pictures. Jimmy Ong’s creative practice is defined by the human figure and by drawing. These are constants. The pictures shown here have expanded and complicated the twin foundations of his art. Changes or transformations have been spurred by binding interests in narrative; this is new. Whereas figures in earlier works are autonomously dominant, now they dramatise events and encounters between individuals derived from history and mythology; these representations require elaborate depictions of landscape.
When we examine these aspects, Jimmy Ong’s pictures may be connected with the historical art traditions in Southeast Asia in which narrative is predominant. In looking at these aspects too, Jimmy Ong’s works may be related to modern and contemporary representations of narrative in Southeast Asia which have yet to be explored. Intimations of these connections are proposed here.
The publication will be richly illustrated, each picture is examined in detail by analysing its topic, its composition and the circumstances in which it was produced by looking deeply at the medium of drawing and by exploring its meaning. Pictures are also appraised comparatively in order to discern links with one another to underline their distinctiveness and to suggest connections with earlier productions. This is the first detailed study of Jimmy Ong’s art and thoughts by TK Sabapathy. It springs from lengthy, intense conversations between the artist and the writer. It furthers and deepens our understanding of the modern and the contemporary in the art of Southeast Asia.