8. The Future Stance
In such a postmodern’s state of flux, under-deconstruction and fragmented scenario as presented by this essay, can there be a glimpse of a common anchor in discussing about contemporary Malaysian art after 1990? With a ‘hyper-view’ of contesting territorial forces, opinions, narratives, stories and trajectories, one may find it rather puzzling to make a conclusive statement about one’s encounter with the Malaysian contemporary art scene.
For someone grounded in the established canons and tradition of modern art, the probable answer might be a pessimistic and flat NO! Those who hold on to a secured vision of fine art as a practise safely demarcated by drawing, printmaking, sculpture and painting will be subjected to an unpleasant encounter. In fact, those who have been fertilising their ‘ground’ with an idealised vision of narrow ethnocentric utopia will probably be heart-broken as they encounter the many facets of contemporary art in Malaysia.(100)
For a generation conditioned by capitalist free-market liberalism and globalization (gobble-lisation and its impinging consumerist imperatives in all fronts), the answer is probably in questioning the question itself! Is there a ‘standard’ or a ‘ground’ to return to in this age of fragmentation? What are the constituents within the matrix of Malaysian contemporary art? Is the matrix firmly established and fixed or changed according to the ebb and flow of ‘capitals’, parading under so many different pretexts?
Too much questioning…too little comfort. Symptomatic of postmodern encounters.
Questioning, contestation, fragmentation, flux, and deconstruction may not be suggestive of gloomy days ahead. Instead, they may suggest numerous potentials and possibilities, in which anybody may claim his/her stake and proposition, chart his/her future and create his/her own niche in a fluid and open field. Perhaps, the future stance for contemporary art practice in Malaysia will be determined by the way all the present and future key players and movers respond to the several paradigm shifts listed in fig.1.
Perhaps, after undergoing uncomfortable and disturbing deconstruction, we will hopefully witness an emergence of a new phase of creative practice in Malaysia. By then, hopefully, the art scene will not be under-deconstruction anymore.