TheCube Project Space is pleased to present Cambodian artist Vandy Rattana’s first solo exhibition in Taiwan, titled Working-Through: Vandy Rattana and His Ditched Footages, curated by Fang-Tze Hsu. Taking Rattana’s poetry writing, translating, and publishing as a point of departure, the exhibition juxtaposes these newly established creative exercises after his relocation to Taiwan with his practices of image-making since 2009. The exhibition not only examines Vandy’s philosophical continuum between journalistic photography and an experimental approach towards filmmaking but also concerns his re-contextualization of political reality regarding the mainstream memory politics of the post-Khmer Rouge era. As a way to situate the internal connections between those who have been muted by the grand narrative of history and the collective sensorial agency of the Mass, Working-Through delves into Vandy’s psychological cartography, reified by the artist’s ceaseless revisiting of long-forgotten historical sites.
Working-Through derives from the therapeutic concept of psychoanalysis theorized by Sigmund Freud in 1914. Through dialogues between therapists and their patients, this retrospective journey identifies alternative routes of remembering past tragic events and, therefore, canceling out the mechanism of trauma that leads to mental disorders. By re-appropriating the theoretical framework of Working-Through, the exhibition explores a topological modality of art-making through Vandy’s oeuvre. Germinating from the photograph series Walking Through (2009), Vandy’s poetic utterances renounce themselves in the documentary aesthetics of Bomb Ponds (2009), the unfinished feature film Tell Me Your Story (2013-14), and the adventurous production of his recent short film MONOLOGUE (2014). Apart from unfolding Vandy’s artistic trajectory, through his manuscripts and publications, the exhibition also engages with Vandy’s vision of rehabilitating Cambodian people’s knowledge in conjunction with his image-making practices. Walking with Vandy through Cambodia’s psychological landscape beyond the Khmer Rouge, the exhibition discusses the reconciliation of the collective trauma by engaging with those whose voices have been muffled by the regime of official history in the present past. The exhibition is his first solo exhibition in Asia since Bomb Ponds was acquired by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2013 and Vandy was nominated for the HUGO BOSS Asia Art Award 2015.
About the Artist
Vandy Rattana (born 1980, Phnom Penh, Cambodia) began photographing as a form of historical continuity, concerned with a lack of physical documentation of unofficial stories and monuments unique to his culture. His serial works straddled the line between strict photojournalism and conceptual practice, and shared a preoccupation with the everyday as experienced by the average Cambodian. Whereas his early works chronicled the contemporary moment while creating a more comprehensive archive for future generations, his recent works are evermore critical of Cambodia’s historiography, deferring to fiction and expressed through an intimate relationship between the monologue and the moving image. Vandy’s recent solo exhibitions include MONOLOGUE, Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC, Bordeaux (2015) and Bomb Ponds, Asia Society, NYC (2013). Recent group exhibitions include HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award 2015, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2015), No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, Asia Society, Hong Kong (2013), and dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel, Germany (2012).
About the Curator
Hsu Fang-Tze is an independent researcher and a Ph.D. candidate in the Cultural Studies in Asia programme of the National University of Singapore. She holds an MA in curatorial studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently conducting field research in the Cold War archipelago of Asia. From 2010 to 2013, she served as the digital manager for the Asia Art Archive. She was appointed as a curator for the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art in 2013. Her research interests include contemporary knowledge formation, Cold War aesthetics, memory, philosophies of technology, and the embodiment of artistic praxis in everyday life. Hsu has been pointed as the co-curator of the 5th Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, 2016 and her writings can be found in ARTCO Magazine (Taiwan) and LEAP (China).