by Michael Koh
The plot behind a painting
In his previous exhibition, The Survivors, Michael Koh used an alphabet whose motives intertwined with the threads of his personal story: that of the exile which brought him from Malaysia to France, and the difficulty that lay in telling his innermost self, here or elsewhere. With Endless Roads and A Familiar Face, the artist once more offers us on canvas his own identification of the essence of things, in an equation of another geometry of time.
Writing pages interprets the world through the artist’s looking glass. There are strange characters striving for support, or for some shape to ward off their own abstraction; they caress thick lines and colonize an anthropomorphic parchment to bloom into a tree of life. Punches, arabesques, buckles and rings push back the limits of the paintings, aiming on the canvas for the quintessential, and then retract and spread further. Voluble and modest, they reenact what is done and undone in writing, the work of the Three Fates and the Homeric Weavers, the story of a person’s roaming.
From plot to text there is but one step. It can be a very long stride, as long as a man’s exile.