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Than Sok
Richard Koh Fine Art

Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA – SG) is pleased to announce Than Sok’s (b.1984) firstsolo exhibition in Singapore, scheduled to run from 2 – 17 Aug 2019. It will feature aset of six watercolour works, six canvas paintings from his Kbach Teuk (Water Forms)series & 20 watercolour works from the Objects of Belief series that were exhibited in theseminal 2017 group exhibition; SUNSHOWER, at the Mori Art Museum, Japan.

Objects of Belief and Kbach Teuk are presented together in the solo show, Currents. The title is applied dually toregister the different encounters each of the works have with the concept of time; Objects of Belief is aregistering and recording of objects while Kbach Teuk revisits water forms as a method of reflection.Than Sok utilizes a wide range of media in creating his work, including sculpture, installation, video andperformance. Through his work, he considers religious and spiritual beliefs, rituals, karma and merit, the socialroles of monks and artists, and the power structure in a society that contains all the aforementioned.

Objects of Belief is a documentation and sampling of various objects used in Theravada Buddhist pagodas oftoday’s Cambodia. They include items that are indicative of syncretic practice, including Hinduism andanimist beliefs that existed before Buddhism became the national religion and concurrently, items suggestingthe influence of the cultural and economic diversity present in Cambodia today. At its core, the body ofworks reveals an important dialectic between the notion of belief and truth; that religious objects’ materialityand ritual function, like language, change over time. Than Sok’s research thus often concludes with no singletruth but instead a variety of interpretations.

In Kbach Teuk, Than Sok works from both traditional stories such as the Jatakas1 and Reamker2, which hestudied its narrative and style on temple walls as part of his education with one of Cambodia’s most esteemedfemale painters, Duong Saree3, at Reyum Art School and his lived experience. Within this body of works, theartist draws reference from different narratives in ancient literature as well as his own personal memories ofwatching boat races with his father and when his village worked together to dig a new pond as a shared watersource. While traditional representations of water in Cambodian painting have tended to be a secondary andcomplimentary subject to human and mythical characters’ drama, the artist’s study isolates water as thesubject itself. As stated by Than Sok, “The ancient stories relate to today. For example, we are geographicallydivided by water, but water has the potential to bring us together.”


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