Immersed in the richness and complexity of nature at Rimbun Dahan, Jasmine was searching for a dialectic experience with the plants and objects around her. Obsessed with the regular pattern of the lines and textures on plants, different sizes of leaves were collected as models and cast with plaster of Paris. Slabs of soft clay were pressed against the plaster moulds to question the ephemeral nature of the objects and things around us, and render the impermanent permanent.
‘Ceramic by its nature cannot escape medium-hood’. For an artist like Jasmine ‘working in a medium so identified with craft-based procedures, her clay sculpture is immediately subject to sustained discussion on its material language’, challenging the perception of the custody of material use and the art forms in contemporary art practice today in Malaysia.
Installation, as the British writer Michael Archer described it, is ‘a kind of art making which rejects concentration on one object in favor of a consideration of the relationships between a number of elements or of the interaction between things and their contexts’. In Jasmine’s case, her works were a suggestion of scene and environment, which derived from her memories as well as from reality. The imprinted clay leaves were glazed with color and scattered on fabric, referring to the changing seasons. For instance, the imprinted lotus leaves of various sizes mimic the green summer water pond. All these pieces of work bring the connection of the scene from outside to inside, from exterior to interior. The relationship of human to nature was revealed through Jasmine’s intellectual interest, her participating in nature and sharing that experience with others.
Stone carving, like clay forming, is a slow and time consuming process. The physicality of force and the gradual changes of surface and shape were important to Jasmine and can be seen in her stone sculptures. Inspired by the curved and pointed elegance of the Jade Vine flower, Jasmine used marble to reinterpret her chosen subject through the physical process of carving. The smoothness and reflective nature of the marble was tarnished, the solid surface was opened and revealed by force. The original shape of the Jade Vine was copied, altered and magnified. The meaning of the work lies not in the work itself but in our attitude towards the art work.
Jasmine Kok’s work ‘does not reproduce what we see, it makes us see’. Her intention is not simply about recording the natural world but in transforming an object, a space and environment into something profound and intellectual. The work offers a fresh vision to her and to the viewer. The perceptual knowledge about the place around her, about things and objects she encounters and feels, are shown through her sculpture and installation works in a stage of ‘metaphysics concerned with the nature of existence’.
During her studies in London, Jasmine participated in an organization called ‘Art Express’, where she taught wood and stone carving within the community for several years. She was also involved in art therapy projects with problem children and the homeless, and the feedback was positive. She had some special experiences working with other artists from different countries while in London, and shared different culture experiences when working in the quarries and sculpture parks.
In the past, Jasmine Kok’s sculpture was primarily figurative, but since her residency in Rimbun Dahan, her art practice has embarked on a whole new journey by exploring nature and different materials. The artist in residence programme allowed her to explore new perceptions within her art, while assisting her to develop and understand the arts of her homeland.
Jasmine Kok Lee Fong
Date of birth: 28th October 1970
Address: C109, Kampung Kundang, 48020 Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Telephone: 0060-3-60341398 / 013- 639 9831
1993: Diploma in Fine Art (Painting), Kuala Lumpur College of Art (KLCA).
1995 – 1996: Second year BA in Fine Art, University of Wolverhampton.
1996 – 1998: Diploma in Fine Art Sculpture, City and Guilds London Art School.
1998 – 1999: Stone Carving Course, City and Guilds London Art School.
1999 – 2002: MA in Fine Art, City and Guilds London Art School.
August 2002 : Pain and Injury, Broken Spine Series, Life performance at Kennington Sovi Art Centre, London.
October 1984: The Second Asean Exhibition of Children’s Art at Malaysian National Art Gallery.
April 1993: Life Drawing & Oil Painting Exhibition at KLCA.
May 1993: “Earth Day” Performance Art at Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.
July 1993: Fine Art (Painting) Diploma Exhibition at KLCA.
May 1996: Sculpture Exhibition at Victoria Street Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.
May 1997: Sculpture Exhibition at Lumsden Art Gallery, Scotland.
June 1998: Find Art (Sculpture) Diploma Exhibition at City & Guilds London Art School.
September 2000: Fine Art (Sculpture) Exhibition (First Year MA) at City & Guilds London Art School.
September 2002: Fine Art (Sculpture) Exhibition (MA) at City & Guilds London Art School.
February 2004: Artist Residency Exhibition at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia.
1984: The Second Asean Exhibition of Children’s Art, Manila, Philippines.
2003-2004: Resident Artist, Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia.