People Are Destroying Art At Balai Seni Negara & That Is Not OK
People are sitting on the artwork at Balai Seni Negara and that is not OK.
While we may appreciate art for the sheer aesthetics of it, some visitors at the National Art Gallery have taken it upon themselves to be one with the art. Visitors at the National Art Gallery reached a record-breaking number during Leonardo Da Vinci’s Leonardo Opera Omnia exhibition, and the hype hasn’t died down yet.
Unfortunately, one of the art pieces for the Bakat Muda Sezaman (Young Contemporaries) exhibition appeared to be broken, apparently due to people sitting on it. The artwork was Mesita Jee Mei-Jane’s installation Meeting I, which featured a rock tied above a mirror.
This artwork at Balai Seni's Bakat Muda Sezaman made me excited and anxious when I first saw it a few weeks ago. Wanted to go again tomorrow to see it and get the feel of it again. But my friend sent me this photo that the mirror broke. We really don't deserve nice things kan pic.twitter.com/uUDIspRHmU
— shufitri (@shufitri) August 15, 2019
According to Twitter user @Markzxcz, someone had pulled the string and dropped the stone on the mirror. This is why we can’t have nice things :'(
I was there when it happened, some dude was being careless with the sister and pulled around the string, then the stone dropped and made a loud thud 🤦🏻♂️
— MΔRK (@Markzxcz) August 16, 2019
Before that, the display appeared to be OK, despite the fact that some people may have sat on it. The stone drop must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back (or in this case, the mirror).
Rule no. 1: You’re not allowed to touch the works in the gallery.
Ni pulak siap duduk lagi atas ni. @ Balai Seni Negara pic.twitter.com/4GFzFkeaQh
— Ahmad Hafiz (@ahmadhafizx) August 19, 2019
I think the broken mirror can add a new dynamic to the piece, that it reflects our behaviour when we encounter nice things.
— Zed Adam Idris (@zedadam) August 16, 2019
It’s not just the mirror display though. Visitors have been photographed treating some of the art displays as props.
Aku agak terkejut melihat suasana ni. Yes you can snap thousands of photos but please my dear Malaysian, do not sit, touch, climb or any physical interaction with the works unless it is stated to do so. This is quite troubling. pic.twitter.com/x1jsZEMiLE
— Tuk Kura (@tukkura91) August 19, 2019
Some people, including artists themselves, have a different take on this. They believe that art was meant to be interactive.
Another Twitter user @uu1iu blamed it on ‘vapid influencer culture.’
“People think every art exhibition is an Instagrammable moment, that every art installation is an interactive one. Please have some respect for the art.”
Honestly, I blame this widespread behavior on vapid influencer culture. People think every art exhibition is an Instagramable moment, that every art installation is an interactive one. Please have some respect for the art. https://t.co/h3RPufSrjt
— 🌺 uliu 🌺 (@uu1iu) July 31, 2019
Meanwhile, Balai Seni Negara has been hailed for trying to make art more accessible for everyone – entrance is free, after all. It’s one of the nicest and more affordable dates you could go on.
It feels great to see people from all walks of life enjoying the arts exhibitions at the Balai Seni Negara. My heart melts when I see parents explaining the arts to their little kids 🥰
— Amalina Aziz (@amlnazz) August 13, 2019
For once I’m not even bothered that there’s a crowd at Balai Seni Negara. Malaysians want more things to do, more art exhibitions to explore.
— azlyn balqis. (@lynfunkstar) July 27, 2019
Anyway, art is meant to be appreciated, and when a sign says “Do Not Touch,” it’s best to obey its instructions lest something bad should happen. Here’s to making art gallery etiquette a thing in our lives! You can snap photos, but please, leave the artwork as they are.
What do you think of this? Should people be more civil in art galleries or was it a genuine mistake? Let us know what you think in the comments below.