Friday, February 1, 2008

Underlying: Contemporary Art Exhibition from the Mekong Sub-Region

The Mekong Art & Culture Project Traveling Exhibition

Contemporary Art Exhibition from the Mekong Sub-Region

This major traveling exhibition – the first artist/curator collaboration in the Mekong sub-region – features 32 art works by 20 artists from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, in varied contemporary media: oil painting, mixed-media, woodcuts, video art, photography and installation. The exhibition is also the first event in the region that aims to help curators build their capacity by allowing participants to apply recently developed knowledge in real-world practice.

6 February – 5 March 2008
Tadu Contemporary Art, Bangkok
Monday – Saturday, 0900-1800h
Tel: +66 (0) 2 645 2461

21 March – 8 April 2008
Meta House, Phnom Penh
Tuesday – Sunday, 1800-2400h (special appointment by phone)
Tel: +855 (0)23 224 140

25 April – 15 May 2008
Maison de la Culture de Ban Naxay, Vientiane
Monday – Saturday, 0900-1600h
Tel: +856 (0)20 561 2049

30 May – 13 June 2008
Viet Art Centre, Hanoi
Monday - Sunday, 0900-1700h
Tel: +84 (0)4 942 9085

What will you find in the exhibition

Curated by Penwadee Nophaket Manont, Kong Vollak, Misouda Heuangsoukkhoun, and Le Ngoc Thanh

The curators refer to the exhibition Underlying as a metaphorical process to explore subjects illustrating the diversity of people’s characteristics, social issues, and contemporary lifestyles in the region.

The exhibition will offer a window on the artistic spirit of each country. Discover why the rich development of contemporary art in Vietnam from 1997 to 2007 can illuminate Vietnamese history and its effect on Vietnamese contemporary society. Appreciate the artists’ roots in Laos’ remoteness and distance from commercialism. Get a glimpse of the quintessential Thai tendency of having a ‘blind spot’ by accepting things without question. Take a road journey with Cambodian artists to understand how contemporary art in Cambodia reflects individual and social issues during the country’s struggle to reconcile past grandeur and tragedy. The visual surfaces of the artworks in this exhibition tell many stories that have never been revealed before.

Why is the exhibition different?

The unique aspects of the exhibition are not only the diversity and reflection of social issues in the artworks but also the curatorial process and its objective.

With support from several local art and educational organizations, both private and public, the exhibition functions as an experimental tool for the four newly appointed curators to test knowledge and skills they have gained from attending curatorial workshops organized in early 2007 by the Mekong Art and Culture Project and principally supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The main aim is to promote learning practices and collaboration across borders through the curatorial process of contemporary art exhibitions. The four curators from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia have been working together since May 2007 in the most democratic environment possible, an environment that provided the freedom to express and conceptualise their ideas about the place they live in and the people they live among through the skills of the artists. Under the guidance of the project team, the four curators enthusiastically discussed and shared opinions while formulating a consensus on the concepts and basic principles needed in curating a unified exhibition theme – Underlying – plus their individual interpretations of sub-themes, and the choice of artists and exhibition venues in each country.

Through this exhibition, the curators and the Mekong Art & Culture Project hope to bring the most dynamic collection of contemporary art in the Mekong sub-region to a wider audience as well as raising awareness of curatorial practice and the essence of collaboration and learning.

Education Programmes – Co-organised by the Goethe Institut Thailand (For Thailand only)

Activity 1: Symposium

Politics in Art – Art Between Sharing and Showing
Symposium in Thai with simultaneous translation
Goethe-Institut Auditorium
7 February 2008, 10 am – 4 pm

The symposium is part of the two exhibitions: Artspace Germany by ifa, and Underlying by the Mekong Art and Culture Project.

The first part of the symposium is devoted to ideas of cultural exchange and cultural sharing in the communication between art across borders and cultural boundaries. Expected participants
are Araya Rasdjamreansook, Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch, Somyod Hanananthasuk, and Sutthirat Supaparinya. Jakapan Vilaseenikul will be the moderator.

The second part of the symposium asks about the instrumentation of the arts for the purpose of political presentation and representation. As participants we are expecting Dr. Ursula Zeller (ifa) and Dr. Apinan Poshyananda as guest speakers, and Dr. Sayan Deangklom as moderator.

Activity 2: Gallery Talk

Artists' Talk
Tadu Gallery
9 February 2008, 4 - 6 pm

‘Artists’ Talk’ is by curators and artists. The curators talk about the background of the exhibition, and introduce Underlying along with their sub-themes. The artists talk about the understanding and interpretation of the sub- themes emerging through their practice.

Admission and Contact Details

Admission: Free
Please contact Ms Somrak Sila
Exhibition Project Manager and Evaluator
Tel: +66 (0)2 225 3617, +66 (0)89 926 5474

Education Programmes
Admission: Free but seats are limited, please call for reservation
Please contact Dr Toeingam Guptabutra
Tel: +66 (0)2 225 3617, +66 (0)86 406 8915

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