opening reception 5.30. fri. 6:00 － 8:00pm
＊[Artist Talk] with Roger Nelson：5.31. sat. 2:00 － 3:00pm
Khvay Samnang’s work engages with concepts of mediation, change and continuity. He offers new interpretations of history, longstanding cultural practices, and contentious current affairs.
Human Nature is a series for which Khvay photographed residents of Bassac Municipal Riverfront Apartments in their living spaces. Also known as “The White Building” in Phnom Penh, the government housing project was built in the 1960s. Now, it houses an overcrowded 4,000 family units, many of whom experience social prejudice. In the photographs, Khvay’s subjects are masked, leaving ambiguous human forms. Their portraits are thus inferred from their surrounding living spaces. “My eye is a painter’s eye. When I arrived to these houses, I didn’t need to change anything, I arrived and it was like there was an installation in the room already. Like a stage, a theatre. I just need to see, to show what I saw,” says the artist. While this series is a humane documentary of the residents and their relationship with their homes, it is also reflective of social issues in Cambodia and beyond.
For his inaugural solo exhibition in Singapore, Khvay Samnang presents a selection of 13 digital photographs from the Human Nature (2010 – 2011) series, which will be exhibited for the first time here.
Khvay Samnang is one of Cambodia’s most important artists amongst the new generation. Using many approaches such as photography, video, installation, sculpture and performance, he explores new perspectives and interpretations of history, culture and current affairs. He often deals with themes related to the Cambodian context, which, in his humanistic approach also reflects on universal themes. Fluidity, historical significance, and ongoing social and political issues around land have fascinated Khvay for many years. “If you want to learn, you must spend time, and really enjoy!” said Khvay, whose work is often filled with sense of humor. To offer signals, symbolism, and questions in many layers engaging seemingly absurd act of performance lies in the core of his artistic practice.
Khvay Samang was born in 1982 in Cambodia, and graduated from Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in 2006. He has held solo exhibitions at Haus Der Kunst, Munich (2019), Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA (2016), Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC, Bordeaux, Orange County Museum of Art, CA (2015), SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh (2011, 2012, 2014), and Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore (2014). His group exhibitions include documenta 14 (2017), the Asia Pacific Triennial 8, Brisbane, Australia (2015), 4th Singapore Biennale (2013-2014), “Sights and Sounds: Global Video Art”, The Jewish Museum, NYC (2013) among many others. His residencies include TWS Creators in Residence program, Tokyo Wonder Site (2010, 2011), and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2014-2015).