FEATURING RIFQI AMIRUL
LOOKING AT RIFQI’S ARTWORK, and back to Francis Bacon’s works, one would be able to understand where his inspirations stemmed from. For those who are familiar with Bacon’s works, they will know how he often disrupts the tranquility and emptiness of the space within the artwork by painting provocative images, causing the picture to seem brutally chaotic. A similar technique that is employed in a more vibrant way can be seen in Rifqi’s works. In fact, this is no mere coincidence as he considers Bacon’s works as one of his top favourites.
Before surrendering his time to the army, Rifqi was a Fine Art Diploma student in LASALLE College of the Arts, who was selected to receive The Winston Oh Travel Award. He enjoys looking at nature and architecture, or anything that is colossally magnificent. In particular, he notes how the man-made and the natural have been trying to overtake each other within the Singaporean landscape.
I like looking at these organic and inorganic structures interact with the space we are living in (how it’s always overlooking us like a monument to represent an achievement).
In the series of work titled ‘Travelogue: Indonesia’ that was exhibited at The Winston Oh Travel Show, Rifqi adopts the use of symbolism in his body of work from idols and religious objects around various parts of Indonesia. He explores the duality of displacement and familiarity in a foreign land, touching on aspects of Javanese identity, cultural diaspora and spirituality. Before embarking on the journey to Indonesia, he was expecting to see a vast amount of ancient monuments, stone carvings and kampong houses. And indeed, these were reflected on the walls of the gallery space.
Everything there from buildings to monuments to temples has this symmetrical arrangement. I was really inspired by that because it feels very orderly and balanced.
Immersed in the repeated symmetrical motifs as well as ancient religious architecture and natural elements found within the country, Rifqi knew he wanted to “re-create the feeling of sublimity, and the sense of familiarity in unfamiliarity”. Works such as ‘Boroboroborobudur’ and ‘Luhuluhur’ were created to experiment and explore the context and interaction of space. In order to replicate the feeling of sublimity that he had while peaking 3km above sea level in Bandung, the two works have each been made into vinyl stickers that were about three meters tall. The repetitive image of the temple stacked on top of each other was also part of the artist’s intention to enhance the visual image of experiencing the work.
Check out Rifqi’s website for more works and perhaps you may be able to find out how free-spirited artists keep themselves sane on weekdays in that bunk-filled space for two years.