BY IAN TEH
Publisher : Monsoon Masterclass
Pages : 176
Published in : 2014
“Abstract beauty collides with the gritty reality of contemporary Asia in Ian Teh’s work, producing an effect that is at once mesmerising and disconcerting. If his subject is the world of the unseen – the people and landscapes that are everywhere, but strikingly unnoticed – then his images, too, draw the viewer into that nebulous space between admiration and revulsion, though there is barely a difference between the two.”
— Tash Aw
This series of photographs document a journey, for the most part along the short coastline of Selangor, the richest state in Malaysia. It is a contemporary portrait of a state, and in a sense a metaphor for the rest of the country. On the shore, an hour away from the nation’s glittering capital, are the gritty industrialised shipping terminals of Port Klang and the sleepy, seemingly idyllic rural towns that populate the Selangor waterfront. These images try to offer a nuanced document of what this coastline is today, and perhaps a sense of the significant changes that are ongoing. Here, where land meets sea and cultures collide, entire worlds and realities shift and merge into each other, and questions of race, belonging and identity take on new meanings. Just as prehistoric glaciers leave the mark of their earlier journeys on the land, the outward appearance of these places clearly shows the confluence of past and present.