“I use every artist residency as an opportunity to explore something new,” Argentinian artist Franco Fasoli shared with me over lunch at Else Kuala Lumpur hotel. At his previous residency, he said, he started getting into collages—and that was the medium he chose to explore for the next few years. For his latest artist residency at Else Kuala Lumpur, where he is debuting his “Culture Shock” exhibition, he decided to go back to his roots; oil painting, which was what he was trained for.
For over a month, Fasoli stayed at Else Kuala Lumpur, painting on the foyer area on the first floor. It was an interesting sight to behold for guests at the hotel, who could see him working in plain sight. It felt weird at the beginning, he said, but he quickly got into his own zone. Fasoli used to work on murals before, so painting in public was no strange sensation to him. Naturally, he piqued the interests of hotel guests, who would sometimes stop and chat with him. When he wasn’t working on his oil paintings, Fasoli spent his days walking all around the Kuala Lumpur city area, taking in the sights and the sounds.
And walk everywhere, he did.
Not one to favour taxis or public transportation, Fasoli’s mode of transport were his two legs. He walked everywhere he possibly could, from Else Kuala Lumpur to as far as the Balai Seni Negara (National Art Gallery). That’s a nearly six-kilometre walk that would take over an hour and a half. It was his way of fully immersing himself in the Kuala Lumpur scene and culture, which was tantamount to the pieces he produced for the “Culture Shock” exhibition.
The exhibition, happening from 29th September to 30th November 2023, is a visual journey of Fasoli’s first visit to Asia. He translates what he saw in his month here through oil paints, juxtaposed against the connection with 19th century Argentinian history. As you walk through the hallway of Else Kuala Lumpur, take the time to look at the paintings individually. You might even see some familiar sights in his paintings, from the iconic tourist bus to the fleet of motorbikes waiting at a red light, and even some of the vendors in Petaling Street. Mixed in with the sights of Kuala Lumpur are pieces of Argentinian history, including folk hero Juan Moreira, as well as the fight between Argentine federal leader Francisco Ramirez and his former ally, Estanislao Lopez. Here’s a little easter egg: be sure to look behind some of the paintings—you might see a smaller painting hiding behind them.
The “Culture Shock” exhibition is happening from 29th September to 30th November, 2023. His exhibited works are also available for purchase.