In a nutshell…

Open your eyes wide!

A piece of the dream

Impressive works of surrealist art by Malaysian artist Zulkarnain Ismail to discover or rediscover

The first Russian exhibition of Malaysian artist Zulkarnain Ismail, whose surreal photo manipulations have earned him worldwide fame, offers viewers a glimpse of contemporary Malaysian art.

Although a casual viewer may not notice anything specifically Malaysian in his work, the artist’s incredible talent for creating unexpected juxtapositions probably stems from this very heterogeneous and varied national culture. The term “photographic manipulations” is used to describe dreamlike collages in which seemingly incongruous images are mixed together. It is precisely their combination that tells the story: by using graphic editors to assemble various fragments of realistic photographs, the artist creates illusory worlds.

Zulkarnain Ismail’s works can be described as collages, but his method is in fact the exact opposite of this technique. While collage emphasises the similarity and disharmony of its elements, the artist attempts here to smooth out the “seams”. Surprisingly enough, it is this seamless, impeccable quality of the images that startles viewers: not expecting to see anything unusual in an apparently realistic image, they fall into a hypnotic trap. The artist’s magnificent surrealist fantasies enter our reality, enhancing it with truer-than-life miracles.