What If…, 2017


Celebrated and established Malaysian artist Bibi Chew’s first solo exhibition in her career of over thirty years, What if …explored the impact of geography on individual and community.

New works in a variety of mediums explored this phenomenon, including The MAP is upside down, The RIVER is floating, and Landed.

In, The RIVER is floating, Chew used a mastered technique of layered cut-outs to explore the appearance, impact, and more subtle meanings of land and its tributaries. “How do we see land, how do we experience it? Are we entitled to the emotions that we project on it? Can we possibly preserve it?”were all questions that inspired the artist’s creative impulse.

In Landed, she used acrylic washes to highlight images that, with their organic sensibilities, could not only represent Malaysia’s territories, but also the leaves, bark, and soil within them.

The Map, an overhead, mobile, and grounded installation, invited audience participation to discover effects of altered territory placement and the view of land overhead.

Chew’s works have a wonderfully deceptive simplicity, drawing the viewer into a meditation on what they might have come to expect from nature while also considering alternatives: “What if the land or water is above us? What if we could view the map from opposite angle? What if we are able to view the interior/inside of the land or water from above our eye level? What if the land or water is lighter than what we think?” How would these changes in perspective, interaction and experience impact the way we live?

What if…..