Standing Still

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By Simryn Gill

Between 2000 and 2003, three years after the Southeast Asian financial crisis, artist Simryn Gill took a series of 117 photographs of abandoned buildings throughout Peninsula Malaysia - old buildings as well as new, never completed ones. The structures photographed range from the traditional to the colonial to the ultra modern.

Standing Still is a haunting document of a brief period in the life of a nation and a region. The artist used a highly saturated colour film to make vibrant images of a melancholy subject matter: the obliterating forces of tropical flora and climate; the decay of socio-economic dreams and individual fantasies; the passage of time. Part of the way through the project, the film that the artist was using was discontinued by the manufacturer, giving an added poignancy to the decay and obsolescence in the pictures. To quote Simryn Gill: "[it] embeds into the very substance of this series a sense that the time that we live in is falling into disrepair...even as we still actively occupy its present."

The photographs that make up Standing Still are beautiful yet disturbing, quiet yet visually erudite, lush yet austere; as a body of work they lie somewhere between art and archival record. They offer, simultaneously, a historical and a speculative image of a place.


Simryn Gill was born in Singapore and of Indian ancestry and Malaysian citizenship. She currently resides in Sydney, Australia. She has exhibited extensively in Asia, Europe and Australia.


Publication Year: 2005
128 pages, 221mm x 188mm
ISBN: 978-3883-75-818-3, Paperback

Buchhandlung Walther König