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2013.06.22 Sat - 2013.07.17 Wed
Opening Exhibition
06/22/2013 15:30
Karin Weber Gallery, G/F, 20 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2544 5004
Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday : 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday : by appointment only

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[Press Release]

Press Release

ITE/CAMBODIA presents five contemporary Cambodian artists for whom ‘site’ is integral to their practice.  Mao Soviet, Anida Yoeu Ali, Kim Hak, Sera and Srey Bandaul navigate sites of change, displacement, melancholy, identity and spirituality, which speak to aCambodia in transition.

Space and memory of space are themes that transverse the art we present by Cambodian artists who grew up in the country and those who have returned from the Diaspora carrying their memories of war and genocide which are transposed on to new realities.  Also of importance is the identification of new spaces existing somewhere in-between, transnational, asCambodia begins to profit from entering the global market.

The Cambodiaof today is not what it will be tomorrow or was yesterday. The soundtrack of the urban centers is a cacophony of building noise.  Sometimes it is only at lunch, when tools are put down, in this small reprieve, we realize how constant is the change.  The landscape is evolving, big buildings, mansions and industrial expansion, boutique coffee shops for the emerging middle class and expat stalwart.

Sometimes invisible is the displacement of people amidst this change. People and communities – evicted, moved sometimes forcibly to sites further outside the city. What remains temporarily is the evidence of these large communities in debris from their homes.  A testament to their existence. An archive. It is this that is found in Battambang-based artist Mao Soviet’s work The Black Wood.  Using abandoned objects from the sites of eviction his work brings into plain view the narrative of those displaced in the newCambodia.

Mao Soviet, “The Black Wood #I,” burnt wood, acrylic and lacquer, height 62cm

In Daun Penh Kim Hak speaks directly to a more-known story of displacement, the eviction of over 2 million Cambodians from the capital city, Phnom Penh, by the Khmer Rouge, which began on the 17th of April 1975 and resulted in genocide. Photographing Phnom Penh in the moody rain from the back of a tuk-tuk creating a cinematic letterboxing composition, Hak is actually referencing the black fabric that was used to cover the victim’s eyes before they were executed. In a poetic call and response for this exhibition, Hak’s video calls for “the return home” of those who departed to 3rd countries like America, Australia and France.

This call is heard by Khmer-American artist Anida Yoeu Ali who now lives and works in Phnom Penh. Growing up as a Khmer Muslim in Chicago she is drawn to explore her transnational identity between two sites, locating herself inside/outside both in the literal and societal spaces of her landscape performances. “I am constantly navigating a kind of insider/outsider perspective, often switching between the two depending on the situation.” Says Ali.

Sera turns to look at site from a perspective of loss. His paintings capture iconically Cambodian landscapes, such as Angkorian temples, stupas and even the traditional form of dance with a certain melancholia. Born in 1961, Sera left Cambodia for France as the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh. His early chaotic memories characterize his frenetic style.

Sera,”Recumbent III,” mime graphite, acrylic on paper on canvas,202 x 212 cm, 2011

Artist Srey Bandaul looks inward seeing the body as a metaphorical site of tension. Creating intestinal forms he speaks to the cycle of life whereby the psychological and laws of cause and effect meet. Using fabrics synonymous with daily life and the protection of the body, the kroma, the sarong and mosquito netting, he locates this tension in the local communal consciousness, as well as more broadly within South Asia. He creates a critical dialogue about the politic of the local and the global. The digestion of the ‘outside’ or global influences into the main body creates visible ruptures in the intestinal

Srey Bandaul,”Untitled (Digestion series),” oil paint, resin, charcoal, mosquito netting, sarong and Krama material on

Reflecting on a global instability, like the economic crisis of 2009 and the growing reliance on foreign investment and cultural commodities, Srey asks, “How can we protect the people, how can they be independent?”

Cambodia as a site is loaded with contestation of space, layered in memory and the ‘now’, personalized, communal and in transit.

Using ‘site’ we bring space and memory together with visions and responses from local artists and returning Diaspora. This exhibition makes connections in site, the personalized and public. What sites can be owned, shared, celebrated, connected to body and its life cycle, psychology and environment and what sites are prohibited to speak about.