Yeo Workshop is pleased to present ‘Monsoon Song’, the second solo exhibition by Fyerool Darma. Drawing from the aesthetics of urban subcultures, traditional ceremonies and the folk craft of Singapore, Malaysia and the region, this exhibition brings into collision a range of seemingly hostile sounds, images and objects, and gives expression to the synthetic conformation of Southeast Asian cultures.
Like a documenting device making fugitive passage across distance and duration, Darma captures and collages vistas, rememberings and imaginaries too contrasting to compose a cultural singularity. A framed work comprised of text on artificial cowhide imitates the Indonesian practice of printing Arabic calligraphy on goat skin, sculptures are modelled after bunga manggar - palm blossoms composed of tinsel, styrofoam and bamboo poles - used in Malay weddings in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, an audio piece distorts and loops a violin sample from the P. Ramlee classic “Jeritan Batinku”, an angel wing is handcrafted from the deconstructed material of Aliph sneakers - only ever ‘Made in Malaysia’ and, as they say, ‘Made for Rockers’. Darma invokes multiple articulations of Southeast Asian rural and urban culture, gestures towards the aesthetic commerce between these varied phenomena, but seeks not to resolve their meanings. The exhibition is nonspecific in its feeling, and functions as an open set of works that resists being determined along national lines.
If not a bordered entity, ‘Monsoon Song’ then presents itself as a song continually revised by the vessels in which it traffics; a wave coalescing out of archipelagic waters, yet breaking always back into its surrounds. Taken collectively, Darma’s works speculate postnational ways of being together. They give granularity to the connectedness of our social worlds, and moments of communal gathering, feeling and loving that exceed, whilst accounting for, conventional expectations for sovereignty and self-determination.
In such a sense, this show makes a clear demand: that we define and commit to a new kind of cosmopolitanism. Yet one that will not neatly abide by the logics of a transnational condition that was global capital’s original invention and now its socio-administrative correlate; the conflicted internationalism that transcends cultural difference to make itself the setting for the pitting together of culturally differentiated merchandise. Proposed by ‘Monsoon Song’ is instead a para- cosmopolitanism, we might say, that avows cultural difference whilst maintaining the inseparability of cultures. One that understands the distressed bandana fastened to Darma’s sculptural installation - bearing the generic slogan “Legends Never Die” - to be both a plausible insignia of different subcultures and a pivotal point of relation between them: their shared conviviality and vitality. In Darma’s work difference manifests not as alienation but as profound entanglement.
Saturday, 9th September 2017, 11am - 7pm
Saturday, 23 September 2017, 2–3.30pm
Artist and Curator Talk by Fyerool Darma and Arivan Kanaga