Encik Perak Man

November 15th – December 7th 2014
@ Run Amok Gallery

poster_perak_2

Grieve Perspective is based in Singapore and works collaboratively. Its artists inquires after death and its place in Southeast Asia. Under their latest scrutiny is Perak Man: an 11,000 year-old fossilised human found in Lenggong, Perak in 1991, and a recurring metaphor used to galvanise imaginations of our archipelagic past. Death is evidenced through its proxies, in the photographs of the departed, the mementos it bequeaths us or the bones it leaves behind. Arrayed upon our shelves, they also become objects of contemplation for the now and the hereafter. This set of digital images juxtapose the long dead with the young and the living. The Skull of Perak Man is in their hands, not yet an object of reverie, but awaiting its future animation.

Exhibition text:

A letter from Encik Perak Man to the living young,

After you die, the only thing you will leave behind is a corpse and it behoves you to ensure that it is an exemplary one, with a lesson to teach the living. In this regard I am an overachiever. So long ago was my last breath that my bones have turned to stone and like any statue I invite questions, but as you gather at my feet seeking wisdom remember that many of you share little more kinship with me other than the fact that you now walk upon the same soil as I once did.

Like elephants fondling dead ivory you caress my remains. I look back and see questions in your eyes which you seem unable to clearly articulate. Let me now declare a baseline truth: I am dead, which is to say I am no more nor less than the minerals of which I am composed. Everything else is entirely of your authorship, an irresolvable neurosis projected upon my crusty surface. If you desire advice (and what fool would not accept the advice of the dead) then I give you this: please leave the dead alone and get on with the business of living whilst still you can. For you this is doubly important. You are my antithesis and I am not in a hurry to share ground with your minerals. It is your job to avoid joining the dead for as long as you can and before doing so it is your duty to dance on their graves.

Text in Bahasa Malaysia.

Exhibition stills


Surat dari Encik Perak Man kepada golongan pemuda yang tinggal,

Setelah kematianmu, kau akan meninggalkan mayat yang seharusnya mengingatkan engkau untuk memastikan yang ia akan menjadi contoh dan teladan pada yang masih hidup. Tinggi sungguh cita-cita itu. Sudah sekian lama nafasku yang terakhir meninggalkan badan hingga tulang pun sudah menjadi  batu  seperti patung mengundang kemusykilan, tapi saat kamu berkumpul dihujung kaki mencari jawapan maka ingatlah yang kebanyakan kamu tidak punya persamaan denganku selain dari hakikat yang kamu berjalan di atas tanah yang pernah aku pijak dahulu.

Seperti gajah mengusap gading mati, kamu membelai mayatku. Apabila aku toleh ke belakang, aku lihat persoalan di matamu yang tak mampu kau hurai. Biarku jelaskan kebenarannya disini: aku sudah mati, aku tidak lebih juga tak kurang dari hanyalah kandungan mineral. Segalanya terletak pada kuasa penamu, neurosis yang tak terungkai terpapar atas permukaanku yang berkerak. Jika nasihat yang kamu mahu (si bodoh mana yang tak mahukan nasihat dari si mati) maka inilah yang aku khabarkan pada kamu: tolong jangan ganggu orang yang sudah mati, pergilah sambung urusanmu sementara kamu masih hidup. Itulah yang sangat penting bagimu. Engkau adalah antitesisku dan tidak aku harap berkongsi bumi ini dengan mineral darimu. Tugas kamu adalah untuk kekal hidup seberapa lama yang boleh dan sementelah itu menarilah kamu atas kuburan si mati. (Text translated with help from Tetriana, Hasanul & Vincent Leong)