Mar 29 2012
This week a contemporary art exhibition, Five Years of Meta House: Continuing Conversations, opened at Meta House in Phnom Penh featuring work from their permanent collection. While I have previously only mentioned Meta House as a place to see a movie, they’ve also been exhibiting art from Khmer and foreign artists for the past five years in the gallery downstairs.
Continuing Conversations, curated by Australian Roger Nelson, features the work of 18 artists, 10 of whom are Khmer. It features leading figures in the Cambodia art world including Sopheap Pich, Leang Seckon, and the late Svay Ken, as well as up-and-comers Khvay Samnang and Veasna Tith.
“Cambodian art is as enthralling, original, and swiftly changing as every other aspect of this nation’s development. Artists today work in a wide range of media, with an increasing number adopting photography, video, performance and new media technologies. They make work relating to the nation’s ancient and recent past, its complex and contradictory present, and its uncertain and exciting future,” said Nelson, who previously ran a non-profit art gallery in Melbourne and is now undertaking a residency in Phnom Penh.
Continuing Conversations explores the intersections and overlaps between the pieces, the patriarchs of the Cambodian art scene and its rising stars, as well as with Meta House itself. For example, one of the pieces uses Meta House’s first movie screen as its canvas and another, by Sokuntevy Oeur, which explores the artist’s relationship with her parents, was created while the artist was living on the old Meta House premises after leaving her parents’ home.
“Despite the extraordinary range and quality of Khmer artists’ work, Cambodia has been arguably the last Southeast Asian country to attract an international appreciation and market for its contemporary art,” Nelson said.”In the five years since Meta House was established, that has begun to change. This exhibition hopes to open up new ways to appreciate the richness of contemporary art in Cambodia.”
The show is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00. The show will run for between two and four weeks (to be decided). Admission is free.
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