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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Fendy Zakri's mirrors and smoke

Posted: 03 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Fendy Zakri explores hidden images and meanings in his first solo exhibition.

IT IS easy to see how scepticism might creep in when you look at Fendy Zakri's works and he tells you there are hidden images in them.

Do you look at the black background? Or the white lines? Or the red splotches? Do you have to gaze upon his works cross-eyed before you are rewarded with the sight of a panther leaping out at you from the painting? (No, there is no panther, but I don't want to spoil the surprise.)

At first glance, it looks like the artist simply slapped some paint on canvas, and then took a marker and wildly scribbled over everything with his eyes closed.

"Yeah, someone told me that it looks like a five-year-old child went crazy with crayons on the wall," the artist shares during a chat in Kuala Lumpur ahead of his first solo exhibition opening at Richard Koh Fine Art. But no, the lines are not random doodles, according to Fendy.

"Every single line is a suggestion of form, everything is deliberate. I carefully compose each line and every stroke of colour. Every element you see in my painting is controlled," he stresses.

Fendy Zakri expands on the idea of unlocking the secrets of the universe with one mechanism in his first solo exhibition Seeing The Unseen at Richard Koh Fine Art.

Fendy Zakri expands on the idea of unlocking the secrets of the universe with one mechanism in his first solo exhibition Seeing The Unseen at Richard Koh Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur.

Fendy compares his works to what goes on behind the scenes in an action movie.

A car accident in the film might look like chaos, but the orchestrated crash and the flying bits and explosions that follow are all planned moves.

"It is the same idea with my paintings," says the 32-year-old who hails from Ipoh, Perak, but is now based in Kuala Lumpur.

The third of seven children, Fendy started his working life in the world of engineering.

"My mother thought I should study engineering so that I can cari makan," he says.

"But I never liked it, I can't handle numbers. So when I was 26 I decided to quit my job and pursue my ambition of being an artist instead."

Seeing The Unseen is his first solo exhibition, an exploration of abstract concepts as much as it is a celebration of challenging familiar perspectives.

The exhibition features 13 abstract paintings created in acrylic and oil pastel on canvas. These works, when viewed with PicsArt, a photo editing software (on a smartphone), will reveal their hidden mirrored counterpart.

"You will then see the unseen. The images are always there in the painting, but it is hidden in plain sight. You don't see it with your eyes, you need your inner soul to see it," says Fendy.

Inner soul, he says. Or simply the right software.

This collection of works was inspired by a book he read last year on the much-talked about Da Vinci Code.

"It was so exciting to read about the hidden codes in his works! When I came across the part on mirror images, I loved the idea so much that I knew I had to incorporate this into my art," says the artist who credits local artist Yusof Ghani as his mentor.

But it was more difficult than he envisioned.

"I wanted it to look very abstract. So I had to think about how to distort the image I want people to eventually see. It was challenging and it gave me a big headache," he says.

But no headache could be as big as his biggest painting at this exhibition, simply titled #13 and measuring 183 x 360cm.

"Abstract art is the medium I use to deliver and express my ideas and concepts," Fendy says, a great believer that "the thought behind an artwork is more important than the skill involved in creating it".

"This is what gives a painting its soul," he concludes.

Seeing the Unseen, Fendy Zakri's first solo exhibition, is showing at Richard Koh Fine Art (Lot No. 2F-3, Level 2, Bangsar Village II, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur) from May 6 to 15. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 10pm. Call 03-2283 3677 or visit for details.

Related story:

More than meets the eye in Fendy Zakry's art


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