‘To explore the whole sphere of the modern soul, to have sat in its every nook – my ambition, my torture, and my happiness’
-Nietzsche; On the Genealogy of Morality
“On the surface, our society is self preserving in a destructive manner; while as a part of the society one can’t fail to see the rhythmic play of oppositions or fearful blossom of contradictions or even flourishing indifference of true and false.
I have agony about the very nature of Society… But I feel furious… I feel intimidate when people can’t see yet can’t be overlooked, or don’t say what is known from beginning of time the imbalance in equilibrium of society… I dedicate Metal Empire to them.”
“Our lives are all wrong. A person has no need of society; it is society that needs him. Society is a defense mechanism, a form of self-protection. Unlike a gregarious animal, a person must live in isolation, close to nature, to animals and plants, and be in contact with them
-Andrei Tarkovosky/ 1977
“Time draws together like the drawstring on a bag; the bag hangs down, black as black, into empty space.Death is down there, and we fall into it.’I wrote; I wrote twice my last words….. yet weren’t my last words …”
-Austrian poet Hertha Kraftner , before committing suicide, wrote in her diary.
© Metal Empire/ Amirul Rajiv/2008
Amirul Rajiv’s work challenges and intimidates all at once. He says, “Everywhere you look there is tension, the tension around the world is pulsating and my work is not a reaction to it, but a product of it.” He talks of internal conflict and wanting to break free and his work seems a true representation of that state of mind. His ‘Intelligent Metal Empire’ explores sharp metal objects and their relationship to reality and as one might say the reality of his being. Frowned upon and dreaded he uses knives as a symbol of frustration and repression from which he seeks to break free. Yet even his representation of freedom is skewered through his objects of desire. The freedom he seeks is quite plainly understood as the burden of not being, which can only be achieved through suicide. He openly states that he has tried to take his life twice and that is also where he derives his fascination for sharp metal objects, which he portrays in stunning fashion through his work. Few pictures can match his hospital-like imagery where a meat cleaver is placed with slim sharp metal stakes and a piece of carved beef, full of emotion yet doused in anesthesia.
Nader Rahman/Star Weekend Magazine/4/4/2008
Amirul Rajiv’s “Intelligent Metal Empire” was perhaps the most provocative collection at the exhibition. Through the use of metal objects (mostly sharp ones), Rajiv delves into the duality of human existence.A self-proclaimed devotee of Tarkovosky, Rajiv is “intrigued by the everyday use of sharp (metal) objects”. The same surgical knife that is used in medical operations can also be used to kill. Razors that are used in shaving can also cut veins. Rajiv, an impulsive photo-artist who tried to commit suicide in the past, has a steady job. Sharp metal objects then, are extensions of our dual nature.In one of the images fish and scissors on a tray create symmetry; another frames a skinned chicken, accompanied by three eggs and starfish. Rajiv appears in some his works. “The response has been great!” — says Rajiv. “People have been shocked, appalled, moved, inspired. What’s most important is that these images make the viewer think.”
Karim Waheed/Arts and Entertainment/The Daily Star/12/4/2008