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Amir Zainorin: Freedom is the centerpiece of life

Amir Zainorin is a transdisciplinary artist who transforms found surrounding materiality into his own distinct artistic interpretation. His fascinating practice is the result of a life story that traverses Malaysia, the United States,poß0 Denmark, and now brings him to Leipzig for a residency at PILOTENKUECHE. Central themes in his work revolve around freedom and humanity. He asks how we can truly be free. We sat down with him for an interesting conversation about his life and work.

Amir works with different mediums: painting, drawing, photography, video, collage, and installation. As a transdisciplinary artist, Amir does not focus on a particular medium but gains inspiration from the materiality that surrounds us all. Sometimes he collects them directly from the streets, as he passes and finds objects. Then they are put together in a different way, in order to play around with them. He explains, “Playing is very important for an artist.”

Never stop playing

Amir grew up in Malaysia with music around him. His father was a singer in a band specializing in traditional ghazal music. Thus Amir was introduced to the arts from a young age. Nevertheless, he did not attend art school but chose business instead. Once he finished college, he worked for a Malaysian bank for some years. Next, he started studying business again, this time from home: in the USA, at the University of Kansas for five years.  Yet the turning point occurred in 1995: Amir met the famous Malaysian artist Jeri Azhari, who triggered him to start as an artist. Amir considers Jeri to be very human, sincere, and eligible, to the point of being inspired by him, as a mentor.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by the artist

Freedom and humanity are central themes in Amir´s works. Humanity comes from his Asian culture where people live and work more in the community. Moreover, family space creation is important to them. He sees life as being part of a group, where you are not disconnected from your environment. Another point of reference is immigration, especially because of his personal experience. He moved from Malaysia to Denmark in 2002. The confrontation between his Asian culture with the Danish one made him realize the differences and similarities between them. This was reflected in his work. For instance, he started to explore and experiment with other mediums, experimenting with digital tools. This led to his diverse practice encompassing video animation and performance art.

Amir continues to grow his practise

Amir has exhibited and taken part in residencies in many places over the world, from his home base of Denmark. He organizes a performance festival called Stateless Minds every year in Denmark. In addition, he was co-curator for Port Perak, the Venitian-Malaysian linked project, participating in the Biennale of Venice in 2022. In june 2023, after his residency at PILOTENKUECHE, he is exhibiting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta with the art-platform Gudskul,

written by Diégo Philip

Want to know more about PK International resident Amir Zainorin? Stay up to date with his instagram and/ or website.


Vernissage 20 May 7-10 PM
Performance 8PM

Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75
04229 Leipzig

Open Sun 21, Sat 27, Sun 28 May 4-8PM

cotidianidad freedom

Vernissage 17 June 7-10 PM
Open Sun 18 – Wed 21 June 4-8 PM

Franz-Flemming-Str 9
04179 Leipzig