Culture / Art

Art exhibition in New York City: RFKA presents ‘Migratory Objects’ by Haffendi Anuar at Volta NY in March 2017

The Kuala Lumpur-based artist explores the flux in meanings of objects through his first exhibition in the Big Apple

Feb 24, 2017 | By Angela Teo
'Panda Moor', Haffendi Anuar

‘Panda Moor’, Haffendi Anuar, 2017. ‘Migratory Objects’, presented by Richard Koh Fine Art, is on show at the Volta NY from 1-5 March 2017.

Malaysian-born artist Haffendi Anuar presents an exhibition of panels and wooden sculptures centered around migration, and the multiplicity of images. These are two very relevant topics in the current age termed ‘postmodernism’. The third solo show by the artist, titled ‘Migratory Objects’, is showing at the Volta NY from March 1 to 5. ‘Migratory Objects’ is Anaur’s first show in New York, and is presented by Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA).

The ontology of culture and cultural objects, when it circulates amongst individuals and across national and cultural borders, are addressed in the painted panels Haffendi Anaur showcases at the exhibition. The artist was particularly struck by the Iban, Dayak, and other tribal disguises, listed worldwide for sale and circulation on eBay and Etsy. The panels imbue the course of the cultural artefacts sold online; the vibrant spectrum neon and metallic colours chart the appearances of images, and the specific images of these artifacts, on different screens across the world. In light of the digitisation of commerce, ‘Migratory Objects’ aptly examines the complications that arise when three-dimensional objects and culture are flattened into two-dimensional images for screens to be traded globally.

The materials and aesthetic models utilised in the exhibition show the skillful imbuing of multiple themes in Haffendi Anaur’s artistic process. The paintings in the form of panels draw inspiration from native tribes and geometric abstraction. Equally intriguing are the unrepeated shapes of the painted wooden sculptures, made from the fruits of the artist’s search and procurement of fantastical wooden sculptures. These sculptures were likely originally duplicated for tourists and made on a mass-market scale. Through the panels and sculptures, ‘Migratory Objects’ is Haffendi Anaur’s exploration of concerns surrounding places of nativeness, migration, and authenticity.

'Migratory Objects', presented by Richard Koh Fine Art, is on show at the Volta NY from 1-5 March 2017.

Made of emulsion paint and wood by Haffendi Anuar in 2016. ‘Migratory Objects’, presented by Richard Koh Fine Art, is on show at the Volta NY from 1-5 March 2017.

Haffendi Anaur’s approach on simulacra is not didactic; he is able to see the movement of culture and cultural goods as currency as a parallel of natural processes such as the dispersing of seeds by the wind. The artist seems much more interested in drawing out the complications and implications of such movements. Haffendi Anaur even questions if such transference of articles represents The American Dream and the desire for an increase in quality of life, but particularly on a global scale.

The recycling of images and objects is central not only to ‘Migratory Objects’, but to Haffendi Anaur’s body of work. The artist draws from a multitude of realms including digitisation, art history and nature. Haffendi Anaur then re-uses material and digital indexes and objects from these sources to conceptualise pieces centered around objects.