A solo exhibition by Ikea Rizalon.
There exists an undeniable semblance of comfort in old images of strangers from the distant past. Vintage photographs tell a story of wonder, of splendid figures dressed in almost extravagant attires; in essence, a momentary pause in a reality we could only imagine. In Ikea Rizalon’s latest solo exhibition “Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing,” she makes a return to the allure of this fleeting past, inviting the audience to indulge in the comfort and simplicity of these frozen realities.
Rizalon’s artistry is rooted in technique. Against the backdrop of a blank canvas, she recreates scenes inspired from vintage reading materials and magazines. At first glance, it is clear where this influence is taken from. The figures in her art are like characters in classic films and print advertisements. They watch television, lounge around a settee, and engage in domestic chores like cooking and ironing. However, beyond these subjects, Rizalon carefully details a world that is captivatingly charming. Furnishings are painted in attractive colours and hues that match and complement one another; nature is lush and thriving with life; and open spaces are roomy and inviting. This is a world that tempts and entices, and perhaps that is the intent behind the show.
But for Rizalon, these images are more than just a recreation of the past; there is the aim to redefine and give meaning to them. In a world where they remain simply as a testament of an era gone by, Rizalon manages to breathe life and vigour into these realities, by letting the finished works be as equally important as the process of creating them. Known for her use of thread, the act of embroidery becomes a means through which she leaves a mark on her art, a sort of identity – unique, distinct, and very personal. They are scattered all across the canvas, and stand out as focal points that draw the attention of the viewer to one specific area of the work. Their placements are more than just random; for the artist, they represent an insatiable itch to be at ease while bound only to a certain space.
In “Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing,” the romantic and visually-stimulating take centre stage. Compared to previous shows, Rizalon becomes more playful with her materials and technique, resulting in figures that are as alive as the bright splashes of colour that frame the canvas, each work a window into a distant world, where men and women with perfectly coiffed hair and crisp tops and dresses lounge about in an almost lackadaisical fashion. It is the charm of opulence, contentment, and safety that is most reflected in these set of works, and somewhere along the inviting textures of the velvet cushions and soft carpets, there is this rather tempting invitation to stop and savour these transient snapshots of a rich and altogether familiar reality we rarely find in the fast-paced present of today.
Words by Elle Lucena