Ahmad Fuad Osman

Ahmad Fuad Osman- participating artist in the GMCA (Great Malaysia Contemporary Art)

GMCA logo
Written by : Zena Khan

Photography by : Puah Chin Kok

 

 

About the Artist

Ahmad Fuad Osman is recognized as one of the most eminent figurative artists on the Malaysian contemporary art scene via his large technically sound paintings. Fuad has also experimented enthusiastically and successfully with sculpture, installation and video making. Fuad graduated from UiTM with a BFA in Fine Arts in 1991, and it was during his time at UiTM he met Bayu Utomo, Ahmad Shukri, Masnoor and Hamir Soib four artists he would go on to found the eminent collective MATAHATI with.

Fuad has had numerous solo exhibitions and residencies around the world. His work has found worldwide acclaim and been exhibited in institutions such as Tacheles Berlin, The Seoul Metropolitan Art Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Gertrude Art Centre, Melbourne, Australia, Guangdong Museum of Art China, Manes Gallery, Czech Republic and Red Mill Gallery, Vermont USA as well as the National Art Gallery and Petronas Gallery in Malaysia. His awards include the Juror’s Choice at the Philip Morris Art Awards in both 2000 and 2003. Fuad was granted residencies at the Vermont Studio Centre in America in 2004, at the Goyang National Art Studio in South Korea from 2005-2006 and the Rimbun Dahan Residency in Malaysia from 2007-2008.

Well known today for his figurative style of painting, Fuad actually began his career as an abstract artist. Early influences were Latiff Mohidin and Ibrahim Hussain as well as Wassily Kadinsky and Paul Klee. This all changed in 1994 when a dinstinct figurative theme surfaced in Fuad’s work with the “Lost” series. Abstract art is devoid of identifiable forms, which can defy easy comprehension by audiences, and perhaps distract from the real message the work is meant to portray, or so Fuad felt. In 1994 he began denoting figures in a clearer manner, as can be seen in his works “Lost III” and “Lost Series #5- Identity Crisis”. 1995 brought with it an even sharper shift towards a figurative trajectory for Fuad. Works such as “Nightmare” or “Silent Sorrow” show more defined figures arranged in a more narrative and precise composition.

Lost Series Identity Crisis. Oil on Canvas. 96cm x155cm.1994

Lost Series Identity Crisis. Oil on Canvas. 96cm x155cm.1994

 

Lost III. Oil on Canvas. 95cm x71cm.1994

Lost III. Oil on Canvas. 95cm x71cm.1994

 

Nightmare. Oil on Canvas.152cmx 192cm.1995

Nightmare. Oil on Canvas.152cmx 192cm.1995

In 1998 Fuad exhibited his first solo at NN Gallery, “Experiments With Truth”, which has turned out pto be one of the most seminal solos in the history of contemporary Malaysian art. Out of the ten works presented, the most influential could be said to be the multi canvas painting “Fragile”. Fuad set out to create a tribute to the untimely passing of a close friend, which had a big impact on him. In “Fragile” Fuad is asking questions of life and death and the state of limbo between the two, these questions form a check and balance system that Fuad lives his life by, and has made this painting one that resonates with the artist until today.

Fragile Handle with Care. Oil om Canvas. 300cm x350cm.1996

Fragile Handle with Care. Oil om Canvas. 300cm x350cm.1996

The significance of “Fragile” goes deeper than it’s personal value to Fuad however. Conceptually, it acts as a sort of base from which the artist has gone on to explore the ideas of momento mori and Sufism. Following the development of his career these ideas are found to be a running thread throughout, as exemplified by the full room installation “Mat Jenin” in 1999 and eventually the works presented at his major 2007 solo at Gallery 12, “Dislocated”.

“Dislocated” showcased the works created during Fuad’s back-to-back residencies in Vermont and then Korea, the “Vermont” and “Goyang” series. Both series present ideas that have strong Sufi undertones, “Vermont” deals with being trapped by wordly desires and an individual’s will to live while “Goyang” takes a more mystical approach, speaking of this world simply being a mirage. Fuad’s painting “Fatamorgana” (Fatamorgana being the Malay word for mirage) emphasises how the obsession with superficial aspects of life, overshadow the real truth, which in a true Sufi manner Fuad is always looking to find. It should be noted that one of the truly remarkable characteristics of Fuad as a conceptual realist is the manner in which he fixates on a theme, and then creates a comprehensive series relating to that, and yet produces wildly different works which have diverse symbols, colours, atmosphere. This is a highly unique trait in a realism painter.

Fatamorgana #2 The State of Confusion. Oil on Canvas. 244cm x150cm. 2006

Fatamorgana #2 The State of Confusion. Oil on Canvas. 244cm x150cm. 2006

Much has been made of the two foreign residencies acting as a form of personal exile for Fuad, and it is heartening to note that on his return to Malaysia he took up a local residency and churned out a series that spoke of his desire to explore his own history, the seed of which was planted as he wrapped up his time in Korea. At a 2007 exhibit at the Petronas Gallery to celebrate 50 years of Malaysian independence, Fuad saw several small photographs of historical events. He explains that as he was looking at these old photos, he saw the ghost of a contemporary figure within them, suggesting the idea of modern society reflecting on the events that shaped our history. Initially Fuad re created these scenes with the inclusion of a series of varied figures that are meant to represent aspects of his own self in his famous large scale painting style, but as his desire to document milestones in Malaysian history in it’s entirety developed he switched mediums to photography and came up with “Recollections of Long Lost Memories”.

Extrapolating from the three mediums Fuad uses in creating the works from his Rimbun Dahan residency, painting, photography and video, it easy to establish that research and concept are highly regarded and indeed necessary to his artistic process. Fuad himself has stated that the idea is the most important point in his art work, and the medium he executes it in is simply which he feels will best represent his message. Fuad enjoys using various styles at the same time, this is demonstrated explicitly in his wonderful installation “Mr D’s Last Meal”.

Exhibited in 2003, “Mr D’s Last Meal” is highly significant for the combination of several elements Fuad thoroughly enjoys, painting, film-making, video projection and the inclusion of sound. In addition to the mixed medium approach to the installation it came about via an exhaustive research based route, another aspect of the creative process integral to Fuad’s artistic integrity.

Mr D's Last Meal. Leather Chair,Standing Lamp, Oil on Canvas. 214cm x869cm(11 panels). 2002

Mr D’s Last Meal. Leather Chair,Standing Lamp, Oil on Canvas. 214cm x869cm(11 panels). 2002

Fuad’s multi-disciplinary approach to his artwork showcases his reverence for the message above all else, yet he continues to adhere to a regular practice of practice. His dedication to push his conceptual and practical abilities to higher levels with each series coupled with the weight of his accomplishments to date label him as one of the foremost artists on the contemporary Malaysian art scene, whose next endeavor is always eagerly anticipated by his audience of critics, collectors and admirers.

BIODATA

Born 1969,in Kedah, Malaysia

EDUCATION

B.A in Art & Design (Fine Art), MARA University of Technology (UiTM), Shah Alam, Malaysia

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2007

AMAD FUAD OSMAN : DISLOCATED, Artspace, K.Lumpur, Malaysia.

2006

TOO MUCH (NOT ENOUGH) , Goyang Art Studio, S. Korea.

2005

PAINTINGS 1993 – 2003, USM, Penang, Malaysia

2004

SAAT BEKU, Red Mill Gallery, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT USA

1998

EXPERIMENTS IN TRUTH, NN Gallery, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2006

18@8 KUALA LUMPUR / KARACHI, Amin Gulgee’s Gallery, Karachi,

Pakistan

BIKINI IN WINTER, Alternative Art Space LOOP, Seoul, Korea.

KATA DI KOTA – A Malaysian Contemporary Arts, Galleria de arte

Boyeros, Havana, Cuba

2004

MALAYSIAN ART AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, Guangdong

Museum of Art, China

PHILIP MORRIS ASEAN ART AWARD, Bangkok National Museum of Art,

Thailand

2003

PHILLIP MORRIS MALAYSIA ART AWARD, National Art Gallery, Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

2002

IDENTITY, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2000

LIFA, Ibrahim Hussein’s Museum and Cultural Foundation, Langkawi, Kedah

PHILLIP MORRIS MALAYSIA ART AWARD, National Art Gallery, Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

PHILLIP MORRIS ASIAN ART AWARD, Singapore Art Museum,

Singapore

1999

GHOST & SPIRITS FESTIVAL, Tacheles, Berlin, Germany

KOREA – JAALA EXHIBITION, The Seoul Metropolitan Art Museum,

Seoul, Korea.

1998

DRAWING & DIAGRAM, IDEAS PERSONIFIED, Chijme, Caldweld House

Art Gallery, Singapore

GEMA : RESONANCE,Manes Gallery, Praque, Czech Republic

APA ?, A multimedia visual art exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1997

MALAYSIAN DRAWINGS, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1996

MOVEMENT IN ART, Petronas Gallery, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

IMAGINING THE CONTEMPORARY BODY, Petronas Gallery, KLCC,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1995

THE YOUNG ONES, Nan Yang Gallery of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1991

YOUNG CONTEMPORARY í91, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur,

Malaysia

1992

SALON MALAYSIA 91/92, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1990

YOUNG CONTEMPORARY, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

SELECTED MATAHATI GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

2005

MAGER PROJECT, Matahati-Anting-Anting, Pinto Art Gallery, Antipolo,

Philippines

2ND TUPADA INTERNATIONAL ACTION ART FESTIVAL, Blue Room

Gallery, Philippines

2004

!!!(AWAS), Valentine Willie Gallery, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

MAGER PROJECT, Matahati / Gelaran, Budaya, Pelataran Djoko Pekik,

Jogjakarta

MAGER PROJECT, Matahati / Gelaran, Budaya, Galeri Pitoe, Yogya,

Indonesia

1999

MATAHATI : PL, Petronas Gallery, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ART PERFORMANCES

2006

SOME(ONE), Alternative Art Space LOOP, Seoul, South Korea.

2005

ART(IS)T…, STOPOVER PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia.

2004

THE HAIR PIECE/PEACE, A solo performance in Red Mill Gallery,

Vermont Studio Centre, USA

SUPERPTUIH!, A stage play directed by Wan Azli, Store Theatre, DBP,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2000

R AFFLES-A PHYSICAL THEATER, Directed by Arifwaran, KBN, Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

1998

TAPI JEBAT- A Stage play directed by Zairul (ASK), Actors Studio,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1997

EXPERIMENTS IN TRUTH, 3 hours performance in Pudu Jail, Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

BANGAU OH BANGAU, A multimedia performance directed by Namron,

Type-O Project, Actors Studio, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

AWARDS

2007/08

RIMBUN DAHAN RESIDENCY, Kuang, Selangor, Malaysia

2005/06

ASIAN ARTISTS FELLOWSHIP, Goyang National Art Studio, South

Korea

2004

ASIAN ARTIST FELLOWSHIP, Freeman Foundation, Vermont Studio

Center, USA

2003

JURORS CHOICE, Philip Morris Malaysia Art Award, National Art

Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2000

JURORS CHOICE, Philip Morris Malaysia Art Award, National Art

Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1994

HONOURABLE MENTION, Malaysian Art Open, Petronas Gallery, Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia

HONOURABLE MENTION, Philip Morris Malaysia Art Award, National

Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


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