Floating Thoughts

Floating Thoughts


Propelled by floating thoughts, Fadhli Ariffin – also known as Pali – produces a series of dynamic abstract paintings titled “Peristiwa Di Awangan” (Occurrences in Space) for his second solo show.

Held at Rissim Contemporary, Kuala Lumpur from January 11, 2021 until January 25, 2021, the exhibition features 11 large scale oil on canvas paintings measuring between 4 ft by 4 ft and 4 ft by 8 ft.

“This body of work draws inspiration from the movement of the clouds. But contextually, it is an attempt to capture the waves of change in life,” says Pali.

While 2020 has been a year of introspection for many including Pali, his thoughts linger on the idea of ambiguity surrounding the patterns of life. “Am I afraid of change or will I be shaped to change like the wind moulds the waves?”, questions Pali.

As a consequent, Pali responds to his innermost thoughts through instinctive expressions that allow him to be in the moment. Stylistically, his paintings resemble the printmaking technique – a medium Pali is too familiar with – majoring in that subject during his fine art degree course at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor and graduating in 2013.

Pali aims to illustrate the equanimity and forcefulness of oceanic waves by rendering “Peristiwa Di Awangan” in varying lines and brushstrokes, and in monochromatic palette to capture the motion of life in a painterly manner.

Life’s philosophy

In his statement, Pali writes: “Ombak satu bentuk gelombang. Adamasanya pertukaran bentuk atau corak yang berubah tetapi ianya tetap ombak, iaitu air laut yang masin. Diilhamkan oleh seniman sebagai satu pengalaman seperti contohnya ‘makan garam’. Gelombang atau ombak besar dilihatkan sebagai satu bentuk pergerakan anak muda pada masa kini yang tumbuh seperti cendawan dan yang bergerak seperti ombak atau gelombang besar untuk satu perkara dalam konteks masyarakat pada masa kini. Ianya termasuk lah dalam bentuk budaya mahupun dalam pelbagai aspek bidang seperti bidang kerja seni, filem, ekonomi dan sebagainya. Jika dilihat dari konteks umum, gelombang-gelombang ini (pergerakan anak muda) berkembang dari masa lima tahun sebelumnya sehingga sekarang. Boleh dikatakan gelombang-gelombang ini pada masa sekarang secara tidak langsung telah memonopoli satu bentuk sosiologi yang baru terutamanya dapat dilihat dari perkembangan negara-negara Asia. Adakah ianya kebangkitan Asia yang telah berlaku pada masa sekarang?”

(“Tides are waveform. Oftentimes the variation of current shape or pattern may change but it is still a wave composing of salty sea water. Inspired by one’s experiences such as ‘makan garam’ (a Malay idiom that means having a lot of experience in life), large waves are seen as a form of movement in today’s youth culture rapidly growing like mushrooms and moves like waves in the current society. It includes cultural and various aspects such as in the field of art, film, economics and so on. Judging from the general context, these waves (the movement of young people) developed from the previous five years until now. It can be said that these waves nowadays have indirectly monopolised a new form of sociology especially seen from the development of Asian countries. Is it the rise of Asia that has taken place in the present?”)

Pali, who is turning 32, believes that he belongs to the current generation that has blossomed from its seed. A moment of retrospection to where Pali was five years ago – when he inaugurated his first solo show titled “(P)residen” – a culmination of a six-month residency programme called Adopted Residency (A-RES) at HOM Art Trans that offered mixed media work such as paintings and installation pregnant with meanings and symbolisms.

Today, Pali’s proclivity towards expressing his innermost instincts through mark-making speak volumes of his place as an artist. He manifests himself in a gestural language that conveys rhythmic energy.

Through non-representational paintings such as “Jeladeri”; “Badai”; “Selat I”; “Selat II”; “Gejolak”; “Gelombang Samudera”; “Pusaran Jerlus”’; “Gelora”; “Wajah”, “Kaspia”; and “Segara”, Pali captures the spirit of uncertainty in a self-assured manner.

Wind of change

“Peristiwa di Awangan” is a prequel to an earlier series titled “Perkara di Awangan”, which has not yet been released. The series comprises over twenty multichromatic abstract paintings using tree branch and bamboo stick as a device to transmit oil paint onto the canvas surface.

When asked why did he decide to showcase the sequel to the public first? Pali answers: “I feel that it is appropriate to display ‘Peristiwa di Awangan’ first before ‘Perkara di Awangan’ as the timing is right.”

As an artist, Pali’s working momentum relies on the wind of change in every aspect of his life. “The mood takes me here to paint this large theme of work and I pursued it,” says Pali.

The theme has been tackled by several senior and established artists before that one cannot disregard the fact when observing Pali’s work.

National treasure, Latiff Mohidin, has produced a significant number of works surrounding the theme of waves such as “Gelombang” that was exhibited in his solo show titled “Gelombang: Latiff Mohidin in Penang 1990” at the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery in 1990 and “Seascape” from his solo show titled “Latiff Mohidin, Seascape, Recent Paintings” at The Opera Gallery in Singapore and The Edge Galerie in Kuala Lumpur in 2014.

Abstract artist Yusof Ghani has also produced a series titled “Ombak” that was showcased in a solo exhibition called “Ombak: Breath of Life” at Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur in 2014.

“From a historical perspective, the Japanese 17th century ukiyo-e woodblock print artist Hokusai created ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ circa 1829–1833. Old Masters from Renaissance to Romanticism have also depicted waves. Contextually, my work represents the current generation of the 21st century that conveys a different narrative from the past,” explains Pali.

Indeed, guided by the Malay proverb “tak lapuk dek hujan, tak lekang dek panas”, which means ‘unchanging customs, something that remains intact’, Pali is determined to make artworks despite the wind of change. Circumstances may alter plans but his robust willpower to produce remains undiminished.

Sarah Abu Bakar January 6, 2021

Link to Floating Thoughts‘ catalogue