CAMBODIAN ART SHOW REVIEWS
This post features introductory profiles of 5 Cambodian contemporary artists born in the 1980s in the 14 artist historic group show Forever Until Now curated by Cambodia-based Erin Gleeson. The show which can be seen at Chancery Lane Gallery Hong Kong until April 29 2009, aims to document the development of Cambodian contemporary art.
This is the third post of a three part series; see the related posts section below to read more about artists born earlier.
CHAN Dany (1984) – Chan Dany is one of the few emerging artists in Cambodia creating contemporary work that employs a flexible knowledge of kbach rachana or Khmer decorative forms – an ancient code of organic shapes and patterns applied in diffferent styles. In this show he exhibits part of a series of meticulous and delicate works made with pencil shavings which from a distance appear to be embroidery.
OUK Sochivy (1984) – It is common in Cambodia for elders to pass on their trade to the next generation. Before his death in December 2008 Say Ken commonly known as the grandfather of contemporary art in Cambodia – instructed his granddaughter how to paint with his self-taught flair.
VANDY Rattana (1980) In Fire of the Year 2008 photographer Vandy Rattana captures a hopeless story common in today’s Cambodia. With few fire trucks and bribes required for protection, a sense of chaos and resignation reigns in this series of photographs taken in the destroyed district called Dteuk Tlah or ”clear water’ (a site where 300 hundred families lived in stilted homes above a floating blanket of plastic waste). Vandy is a catalyst for creating community among photographers and artists in Cambodia and is the founder of Steiv Salapak, an art collective and gallery in Phnomh Penh.
THANN Sok (1984) – Thann Sok graduated from Reyum Art School in 2005. His current practice is an extension of his second year study of architecture. The work in this exhibition is called Ktome Neak Ta. It is a wall installation of 15 miniature houses made of incense sticks. Found in the majority of rural Cambodian homes and in the northeast corners of Buddhist temple grounds, the Neak Ta shrines serve as a site for communication with Neak Ta one of the most omnipresent divinities which populate the supernatural world of the Cambodian countryside. Incense and prayer is offered in a time of need but after the crisis has passed, the shrine is thrown away and a new one built representing a clearing of the old and a chance to begin anew. This is a multi-layered work which is also a comment on the political evolution of Cambodia since Pol Pot.
SORN Setpheap (1988) – As a graduate of Reyum Art School in 2005 and Reyum Workshop in 2007, Sorn has been exposed to a range of contemporary practices from visiting artists. Since 2006 this artist and dancer has been training in the US with the New York-based Japanese dance group Eiko+Koma. In this show, Sorn exhibits a sculpture of a Naga – a serpent believe to be the mythical origin of the Khmer people – made of hundreds of pieces of folded paper creating an undulating form – a new form for a new generation.
Reviews and related links
A Coming of Age for Cambodian artists – IHT – March 2009 – The show 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, along with several other events, marks a turning point for Cambodian artistic life today. In December Cambodian artists will be represented for the first time at the sixth Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Australia, and a few weeks before, the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial in Japan will again showcase the Southeast Asian nation.
A Haunting Exhibition in Hong Kong – Asia Sentinel – 17 Feb 2009 – this review was published on the eve of the long delayed trial of Tuol Sleng prison director, Kaing Guek Eav – aka \”Duch\” – the first of four Khmer Rouge leaders to be brought before the UN-backed war crime court. 12,000 people died at Tuol Sleng, known as S-21, now the Genocide Museum. This review discusses the effect the Cambodian genocide which saw the death of 1.7 million people has had on art.
Cambodian Art: Past to Present – 17 Feb 2009 – CNN – Miranda Leitsinger – As well as reviewing the works, this piece documents the hardships and challenges of producing art in Cambodia.
After a troubled past, new expressions in Cambodian art – IHT – July 2006 – this covers the role Sopheap Pich is has played in catalysing the art scene in Cambodia
- Historic show documents development of contemporary art – Forever Until Now – March 2009 (post 1 in 3 part series)
- 5 60s and 70s born Cambodian artists in historic show – Forever Until Now – March 2009 (post 2 in 3 part series)