Lim Sokchanlina: WRAPPED FUTURE II

Lim Sokchanlina: WRAPPED FUTURE II

2019 11.01 - 12.07

Opening reception: November 1st (fri.) 17:00 - 18:30 *artist in attendance
Opening talk event: Lim Sokchanlina X Taro Amano | November 1st (fri.) 19:00 – 20:30
*Please kindly note that seats will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

©Lim Sokchanlina
Press Release

Venue: nca | nichido contemporary art
Exhibition Schedule: November 1st (fri.) – December 7th (sat.)
Opening hours: Tue. ~ Sat. 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sunday, Monday and National holidays)
Opening reception: 11/1 (fri.) 17:00 - 18:30 *artist in attendance
Opening talk event: Lim Sokchanlina X Taro Amano | 11/1 (fri.) 19:00 – 20:30
*Please kindly note that seats will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present Cambodian artist Lim Sokchanlina’s solo show “Wrapped Future II”. Through the use of different media, photography, video and performance to name a few, Lim addresses the problems of today’s Cambodia related to politics, economy, environment, cultural change, and so forth.
An ongoing project, Wrapped Future II brings fences, used on construction sites to enclose the surrounding areas, to different locations, lakes, valleys and forests, and places them at the center of photo-works as to obscure the beautiful Cambodian landscape.
The inharmonious landscape is gradually captivated by the exquisite balance between inorganic material and mystical background. The photos were taken in places that in recent years have become targets of a large-scale exploitation under a massive globalization of capital and other political interests. Using the fences as a symbol of change, Lim is warning us about an uncertain future where local realities with their communities, culture and nature will slowly fade away.

Fences, a symbol of conflict

Landscapes featuring fences are a fairly typical sight. Although quite dull in themselves, once fences are removed, soon enough that very same spot will upgrade its status within the urban landscape as a brand-new building. While the fences represented here have been erected to fulfill the same purpose, the circumstances are slightly different. Here is Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. Some occupying the whole screen, others left open on both sides. These fences, too, are mere temporary structures, however, we start to see them as borders dividing here and there once we understand what they are hiding.

The name Luzon Sukezaemon may ring a bell with anyone who knows a little of Japanese history. He was a merchant from Sakai (Osaka), active between the 16th and 17th centuries. He is probably remembered as the first Japanese to have established a relation with Cambodia. What I want to point out here by bringing up this merchant who conducted his commercial activities in the country, particularly in Phnom Penh, is that many were the commercial exchanges happening during that time not only with the Japanese but with the Dutch, the Spanish and overseas Chinese, too. And I want to underline that meanwhile Cambodia was kept busy by the territorial dispute with its neighboring countries, Siam (current Thailand) and Vietnam, which lasted until the 19th century.
Since old times (from the 4th century on), Cambodia’s geological position was considered strategic in terms of waterway access (at Phnom Penh four major water courses, Mekong, lower Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers, meet at a point called the Chattomukh (Four Faces)) and location, placing it right in between India and China. Although Cambodia’s history since the 19th century’s French colonization until today is not easy to understand, we can spot it stretching out in the background of the works Cambodian artist Lim Sokchanlina is presenting here.

Such landscapes, symbolizing the building boom, widely witnessed in Japan, too, during its time of high economic growth, reflect, so to speak, the continuous development of a country. At the same time, they embody a sense of loss represented by the disappearance of what was previously there. When you gain something, you lose something. However, what puzzles Lim as a Cambodian citizen is that development is happening inside those fences because of China’s ODA(Official Development Assistance)1) commitments.
As for China’s financial support to Cambodia, between 2015 and 2016 China implemented its official development assistance (ODA) commitments using massive amounts of money, offered loans to fund improvements in different fields, such as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, water supply and healthcare sectors, while providing free aid for the education sector. Already looking to the future, China is promptly moving forward with major projects up its sleeve, such as the construction plans for a highway connecting Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, beside the Chinese-funded construction of a massive stadium for Cambodia to host the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.2) Therefore, we cannot overlook the fact that Cambodia’s political decisions are likely to comply with China’s political agenda. For reference, Cambodia’s ruling party, Cambodian People’s Party, adopted its current name and abandoned the one-party system as well as the Marxist–Leninist ideology in 1991. To put it simply, we cannot detect any ideological ties to China. In this regard I would like to quote the opening statement in the introduction of Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities” published in 1983: “Perhaps without being much noticed yet, a fundamental transformation in the history of Marxism and Marxist movements is upon us. Its most visible signs are the recent wars between Vietnam, Cambodia and China. These wars are of world-historical importance because they are the first to occur between regimes whose independence and revolutionary credentials are undeniable, and because none of the belligerents has made more than the most perfunctory attempts to justify the bloodshed in terms of a recognizable Marxist theoretical perspective”.3)

Following the post-colonial period after the Second World War, as well as the disappearance of the ideological strife brought about by the Cold War, the easily detectable unilateral-control structure of strong nations faded, a new “control” in the name of economic cooperation started to spread and a power game played by invisible territories was developed.

Lim acutely spots the truth of such continuous progress in the background of these common landscapes that, at first glance, look the same, and tries to understand the critical changes that hide behind the casual-looking fences. They carve in relief the brutality and carefulness of actions that lead to destruction by invisible national strategies, in the name of a financial support that is insidiously infiltrating societies while complying with “democratic” procedures. And we must recognize them as landscapes of a new world that stretches much farther than Lim Sokchanlina’s Cambodia.

1) “Cambodian People’s Party, Cambodian current ruling party was formed in the 1980s from the so-called Vietnam’s puppet government, the People's Revolutionary Party’s Government. It is known that China was close to both Pol Pot’s government and the tripartite Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (Pol Pot’s Party, Norodom Sihanouk’s Party and Son Sann’s Party), and continued to oppose both Vietnam and the People’s Revolutionary Party. It is for this reason that, following the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991, China distanced itself from Cambodia for a short while. Cambodia’s internal factional fighting over the future leadership of the country continued after the agreements as well, and in July 1997 a coup took place during which Norodom Ranariddh and his forces fought against Hun Sen. Although the result was a system centered around Hu Sen who was the Second Prime Minister and who took advantage from the coup, with Norodom Ranariddh, the First Prime Minister, ousted from his position and forced into exile, Cambodia was isolated from the international community. China’s response to this situation was quick showing its understanding of Hu Sen’s position and its support. Hereafter, China’s re-approaching of Cambodia will become a pressing matter. (Strangio 2014; Cheunboran 2017). “Cambodia’s Chinalization” Naomi Hastukano, Institute of Developing Economies “IDE Square” World Observer Special Issue - China’s Infiltration of Asia, Institute of Developing Economies
Japan External Trade Organization, November 2018, p.1
2) Same as above, p.1
3) ”Imagined Communities”, Benedict Anderson, 1983, Libroport, p.10

Taro Amano
Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino - Curator in chief
Sapporo International Art Festival 2020 - Curatorial Director of Contemporary Art

The mountain wind bearing red earth from the highlands flew down to the spirit forest and continued its way to the central land and river causing waves in the oceans.

The six months hot and six months rainy seasons of Cambodia create beautiful light and atmosphere in the landscape of space. Seasons and time pass from generation to the next generation; leaving marks, damage and memories to reveal of what is now, but who know what is the future?

The future that I am always looking for is uncertain, fragility and unrealizable.
What you see is not certainly what you see! It is not clear what exactly it is. Is it the damage or is it just a shadow in your eye?
The landscape freezes me in isolation and for a moment of time. My feeling seems to be relax, I fell into unconsciousness, in a dream, confused about the reality in front of me. This reality is so unrecognizable. You might use to confuse like me!

The stillness of a perfectly shaped and colored industrial fence was carefully installed and placed in powerful and mysterious nature, turning out to create surprisingly uncontrolled and unexpected experiences.

Lim Sokchanlina

*Special thanks to Monor Moul and Mok Ratha for the works realization.
Also, thanks to Pat Phea Ra, Mouern Dara, Pich Heng Darith, Sok Thida, Prum Bandiddh, Koji Mototake,Yin Phanarak, Andrea Fam, Vandy Rattana, and all the villagers for their on-site support in the works realization.

Lim Sokchanlina
Born in Prey Veng, Cambodia (1987). Currently lives in Phnom Pen.
2010 BA Department of Economics Norton University (Cambodia)

Main solo exhibitions: “National Road Number 5”, Art Stage Singapore (2016)/ “Urban Street Nightclub”, Art Stage Singapore (2014)/ “Urban Street Night Club”, SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh (2013)/ “Wrapped Future”-Triangle Park (BAM), New York (2013)
Main group exhibitions: Singapore Biennale (November 2019), “Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now”, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2019)/ “Count the waves”, The University Art Museum - Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo (2019)/ “National Road Number 5”, Bangkok Biennale, Thailand (2018)/ “Wrapped Future II”, Photo Phnom Penh Festival, Cambodia (2018)/ “Sa Sa Art Project”, Sidney Biennale, Australia (2018)/ “Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now”, Mori Art Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2017)/ “Histories of the Future”, National Museum of Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2016)
Collections: Singapore Art Museum (SAM)/ Denver Art Museum, Colorado, America)/ MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai/ Mori Art Museum/ Other private collections

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