The term ‘cirque du freak’ brings certain individuals to mind – bearded ladies, wolf boys, other such Guinness World Records contenders – and that particular brand of circus was a place for the public to gawk at society’s biological oddities. Politically correct? Not one bit but wow ladies and gentlemen, what a show.
Core Design Gallery has ambitiously borrowed this term for their exhibition this month and it’s a big shoe of a theme to fill. For their version of ‘cirque du freak’, the gallery isn’t bringing forth all that glitters with that sawdust-infused place but just some of its ethos; ‘Cirque du Freak carries the meaning of 'circus of freaks', a title much embraced by all four artists and their own individually unique worlds of imagination and fantasy set in an alternate reality beyond the comprehensible human mind. Viewers will be whisked away by the overwhelming wealth of excitement and audacity of contemporary art by Faizal Suhif, Raja Lope Razydidi, Syam Asmawi and Ali Nurazmal,’ say the gallery. What does this mean? We’ll translate: it means the artists think they’re different from us mere mortals. Oh, the audacity.
The artworks in the show don’t actually have anything to do with the circus or freaks per se (there are paintings of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs in the fray), which does make this a shaky choice for an exhibition title. Still, the four artists have reputedly pushed ‘their art to another level’ for this show and with just two works each (one major work that’s at least 6 feet tall and a smaller one) produced over a lengthy stretch of time, there’s a fair shot of this being a decent show. It’s just a shame there won’t be any bearded lady sightings. Rachel Jena