Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared:
Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom Penh
Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared: Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom Penh is a cluster of public programs, meetings, artist residencies and exhibitions that steadfastly skirts a particular way of looking at and conceptualizing contemporary art from these two cities. Ideas of the nation-state, comparative histories and the economic and institutional currency of geography, among other typical or potential frameworks, are held in critical relief. As the title suggests, this project considers the cost[s] of distinct frameworks for approaching and disseminating knowledge of contemporary art; instead, the project will explore unpredictable relationships between artists as part of a discursive inquiry into current art from both cities.
The choice of Bangkok and Phnom Penh is announced as arbitrary, drawing out differences and diversities as means of looking at contemporary art in the region and otherwise. Of course, potential comparisons do exist; Cambodia and Thailand share a large national border, are constitutional monarchies, hold a belief system based on animism and Theravada Buddhism and are economically reliant on tourism and manufacturing. Moreover, the contemporary development of both cities functions in extreme contrast to other parts of their respective countries. Nevertheless, the project refuses any claim to represent or address similarities or differences between Bangkok and Phnom Penh; in short, it insists on the critical value of their remaining deliberately ‘un-compared’.
Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared will activate connections between artists, curators and galleries from Bangkok and Phnom Penh. Participants are at different levels of their careers, work in varying contexts and carry diverse ambitions. A premise of the project is that dialogue between them has been slight to date. But Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared insists on the multiplicity of meanings inherent not only in a given art ‘world’ and geographical location but also within artists’ practice. The project’s objective is to activate connections as an alternative to proposing fixed interpretations.
Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.
Participating Artists and Guests
Orawan Arunrak, Makha Sanewong Na Ayuthaya, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Tada Hengsapkul, Khvay Samnang, Lim Sokchanlina, Pen Sereypagna, Amy Lee Sanford, Pinaree Sanpitak, Jakkai Siributr, Sovan Philong, Imhathai Suwatthanaslip, Tith Kanitha
Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre, Phnom Penh
Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh
SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh
H Gallery, Bangkok
Reading Room, Bangkok
Toot Yung Art Center, Bangkok
+ the studios of artists Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Sudsiri Pui-Ock, Chiang Mai
i. Launch on Saturday, July 26 2014 with Pinaree Sanpitak’s participatory event Breast Stupa Cookery Project: Prahok / Plaa Raa at Phochniyodthan Psar Kap Ko in Phnom Penh.
ii. Public symposium on Sunday, July 27 titled Contemporary Art in Bangkok: Some Divergent Views at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre in Phnom Penh. Speakers to include Orawan Arunrak, Brian Curtin, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Tada Hengsapkul and Pinaree Sanpitak. Studio visits and other gatherings will follow the symposium.
iv. Phnom Penh-based artist Lim Sokchanlina to carry out a 6-week residency during September-October at the studios of Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Sudsiri Pui-Ock in Chiang Mai and Toot Yung Art Center in Bangkok with an open studio during October.
v. Public symposium on Saturday, October 4 titled Contemporary Art in Phnom Penh: Some Divergent Views at Reading Room in Bangkok. Speakers to include Lim Sokchanlina, Roger Nelson, Pen Sereypagna, Amy Lee Sanford and Tith Kanitha. Studio visits and other gatherings will follow the symposium.
vi. H Gallery, Bangkok to mount the exhibition Rates of Exchange, Uncompared: Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom with selected artists and newly commissioned works in December. And publication launch and artists talks.
vii. SA SA BASSAC in Phnom Penh to mount the exhibition Rates of Exchange, Uncompared: Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom with selected artists and newly commissioned works in January 2015. And publication launch and artists talks.