Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Pago-Pago / Langkawi
Pago-Pago / Langkawi

This copper work is one of the few sculptures produced at the tailend of Abdul Latiff Mohidin’s series, Pago-Pago, which formally began in 1960 and consisted predominantly of gestural paintings. The series grew out of the artist’s journeys across Europe and Southeast Asia during the 1960s, where Latiff Mohidin was initiated into contemporary discourses surrounding modern art’s use of the so-called primitive image. Latiff Mohidin’s response upon returning to Southeast Asia was to engage directly with a cosmopolitan yet regionally rooted spirit of making art; the term “Pago-Pago” was coined by the artist to describe this spirit, deriving from an amalgam of the word ‘pagoda’ and pagar (the wooden beams of old Malay houses). And in this copper sculpture we see clearly the influence of architectural forms in Latiff Mohidin’s formulation of this regional aesthetic: viewed from its side, this solid copper form emulates a half-silhouette of the horn-like roofs employed in Southeast Asian pagodas. Unlike the lighter, coned forms of his referenced structures, Latiff Mohidin’s horn is flattened and cast into a deep and weighted block. The inner surface is furthermore distinguished by its glossy finish, in contrast to the matte, satin quality of the side silhouette. In doing so, the artist expresses a more austere and industrial interpretation of a vernacular architectural form, an approach that draws from Southeast Asian motifs to evoke their contemporary cosmopolitanism context.

74 x 37 x 35.5 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Abdul Latiff Mohidin
About Abdul Latiff Mohidin

Abdul Latiff Mohidin (b. 1941) is a prominent Malaysian modernist artist, writer and poet from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. As a child he was known as “Wonder Boy” and “the magical boy with the gift in his hands” due to his prodigious talent and early artistic acumen. He completed his primary education at Kota Raja Malay School in Singapore where he also had his first exhibition in 1951. From 1960-1964, Latiff studied art at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Berlin, Germany on a scholarship. A journey across Southeast Asia in 1964 would later inspire an array of esteemed artworks and series which melded his European experience with his cultural identity. His series, Pago-Pago (1960-1969), Mindscape (1973, 1974-1983), Langkawi (1976-1980) and Gelombang (1985-1993) are known for their distinctive representation of culture, nature, the environment and mysticism. His masterful technique and use of dynamic brush strokes, textured oil paint and vibrant colours mark his works with an identifiable Latiff flair. He has exhibited worldwide, including solo exhibitions in Berlin, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Singapore, New Delhi, New York, Sydney, Osaka, Montreal, Manila, Jakarta, Dublin and London to name a few. In 2018, he became the first Southeast Asian artist to be featured at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The artist now resides in Penang.

Source: Wikipedia

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