2022.5.13 - 6.18

Opening reception:
5.13 (fri.) 17:00 - 19:00

© Sokchanlina Lim
Press Release

Venue: nca | nichido contemporary art
Date: 2022/5.13 (fri.) - 6.18 (sat.)
Gallery hours: Tue.- Sat./ 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Monday, Sunday and National holiday)
Sokchanlina Lim / Lina Pha / Piyarat Piyapongwiwat / Arin Rungjang / Tawan Wattuya

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present the group show “IN BETWEEN” which showcases works by five internationally active artists representing respectively Cambodia, Sokchanlina Lim and Lina Pha, and Thailand, Piyarat Piyapongwiwat, Arin Rungjang and Tawan Wattuya.
Southeast Asia countries are indeed experiencing a moment of tremendous, economic growth where their complicated historical background and political context coexist with a cultural diversity characterized by a variety of ethnic groups and religions. The other side of the coin, however, reveals a reality affected by many problems that remain hidden from sight, where deep differences still persist between life in the capital and in the provinces, as well as among the different ethnic groups. Each of the five artists on view, conducting researches domestically and abroad, brings to the fore the different issues their countries have been facing while tapping into their unique background. With a pinch of cynicism and humor, they draw a picture of the future, of the divide where the conventional becomes unconventional.
The exhibition features recent works and works the artists made especially for this occasion.

Exploring a wide variety of media that span from photography and video work to performance, Sokchanlina Lim (b. 1987, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; lives and works in Phnom Penh) uses his work to represent the shift today’s Cambodia is undergoing in terms of culture, environment, economy and politics, while focusing on the issues this entails.
Lim’s daily investigation shows how fast scenery and society change reflecting the different political agendas and the economic trends of the time that draw large, global inflows, and is warning us about the uncertain future local realities and their communities are heading toward to where culture and nature may slowly fade away. “National Road Number 5 (2020)” is an ongoing project the artist started in 2015 that depicts the impact on people’s livelihood, surrounding landscapes and buildings the expansion of the titular highway connecting Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, with Thailand has had over the years.

Lina Pha (b. 1986, Cambodia) developed an interest in photography after attending a workshop that took place in the orphanage where he spent his childhood. Taking his first steps as a photojournalist, Pha eventually started to employ a more symbolic language to address individual events while keeping his focus on social issues. The exhibition features his series “Target” that sheds light on men who are being shot at because of the illegal activity they are forced to engage in in order to survive.
If we take a good look at the rapid urban growth of the capital, we will see that there is still economic inequality in the living conditions of the rural areas, and that its impact affects everyone, children included. Pha gives visibility to the reality of those men who, without even realizing it, start to be targeted as criminals, men who have no choice but to leave their home and cross the border to work poorly paid and under harsh conditions, trapped inside a vicious circle of poverty with no end in sight.

Piyarat Piyapongwiwat (b. 1977, Phrae, Thailand; lives and works in Chiang Mai) exposes the conditions and implications of todays’ globalized economy and social issues by borrowing the voice of the people. Relying on an artistic practice that encompasses video, photography and installation, Piyapongwiwat raises questions about our stance in this scenario, giving visibility to a world that is intricately connected to its background. The work on view, From Somewhere to Nowhere (2021), sheds light on the effects of resource mining, colonization, extermination and the capitalistic mode of production in Southeast Asia through field research and data collected by the artist herself.
To avoid repeating the same mistakes, many are the researchers, including personalities from the art world, that have been exploring colonialism through a historical approach, each expanding on this subject from their own perspective. However, having been investigating this issue for more than a decade, Piyapongwiwat believes that colonialism has been simply camouflaging itself over the years and is still deeply embedded into the fabric of our society.

Leading the way of art installation in his country, Arin Rungjang (b. 1975, Bangkok, Thailand; lives in Bangkok) has created an artistic practice that intimately touches upon memories, symbols and history of Southeast Asia, picking up on how political, economic and societal changes have been affecting the livelihood of normal people.
On this occasion the artist presents his video work “246247596248914102516... And then there were none” (2017) previously shown on occasion of the last edition of the quinquennial international art event, Documenta.
The numbers in the title serve as a code system and relate to Thailand’s important historical events that are still regarded as highly sensitive, thus still subject to censorship. For instance, 2462475 is the date of the Siamese Revolution that happened on June 24th, 2475 in the Buddhist calendar (1932) that represented the shift from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Rungjang’s interest focuses on the historical ties that link Thailand to Germany during the World War II, the only Southeast Asian country to endorse the axis power. Through his work, the artist shows how historical narratives can be deformed and exploited, and how acts of violence and injustice can be justified, touching on the story of his own father who worked in a Germany-based petroleum company in the 1970s.

Tawan Wattuya (b. 1973, Bangkok, Thailand; lives and works in Bangkok) uses his portraits of people and animals to deliver a sharp criticism towards the problems that have been affecting Thailand - the continuous political turmoil, the conflict between ethnic groups, the country’s social hierarchy, and the importance placed on physical appearance - and questions the contradictions and stereotypes hidden in today’s society.
Wattuya’s new works put on display the Cold War discourse. The influence of those years didn’t limit to the economic and diplomatic sphere but stretched to different industries, media, sports and culture. Aware of how the media had been greatly employed as propaganda means when looking back at his memories of that time of the entertainment industry and pop culture, and detecting the tremendous impact they still have today, Wattuya takes an interest in the media and entertainment industry that touches on the Cold War times.
By randomly gathering images fished out from his own memory, conducting researches and creating some sort of collage out of this process, Wattuya casts light on this issue from different perspectives. His new body of work represents also the artist’s temporary departure from watercolor and the adoption of acrylic paint.

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