Transformation and Darkness

Transformation & Darkness

1/11/17 - 1/14/17

Opening reception: January 11, 7-9pm

Sabri Idrus (b. 1971) is a Malaysian artist who engages in

different disciplines and mediums as language according to his

artistic needs. Idrus combines painting, graphic design and

industrial materials to achieve a freed socio-cultural authoritative

opinion towards reinventing a new form of image. His interest

lies in developing works that reveal his critical notion of the social

condition and the parody of institutions that secure the definition

between painting and crafting. His confidence in art making,

particularly for painting as an inalienable social process,

submerges him in technical and material advancement through



The artist consciously dismisses elaborate or perfectionist

techniques and conventional components. Instead, he embraces

a blend of heterogeneous materials, such as grout powder,

polyester resin, roof seal plaster, rubber mix compound and

acrylic house paints that are foreign to most creative customs.

His specific concern with language is not only clear from his

choice of unpretentious titles, but is also present in his on-going

research. For about 20 years, Idrus has been constantly updating

a glossary that regularly appears in his catalogues in a

continually expanded and revised version.


The central reference point in Sabri’s work is the material, which

drove him from investigating the making of things to focusing

more on the composition of the elements themselves. Viewing

the artworks taps into bottom-up thinking and requires little to no

prior knowledge. It is the artist’s way of reaching euphoria, the

delight of an investigation that encompasses its tools, techniques

for making, and the nature of its materials.


In Idrus’s first showcase in New York, he shares the energizing

journey of his examination of transformation and darkness.


These two keywords, transformation and darkness have been

haunting me. Transformation of a place or object to something else can

be good or bad. I recall an old Malay metaphor, ‘Seperti katak dibawah

tempurung’, (a frog under a coconut shell is content to remain under the

shell without care of what goes on outside the shell). Murkiness secures

him. The shell is the whole world as far as the frog is concerned, and it

is oblivious to light.


This show is part of his research process for a postgraduate

review in Creative Practice with the Transart Institute, 2015-2017.