COLOGNE—The FILM COLOGNE section introduced four years ago, which is exclusively dedicated to the medium of moving image art, will show an exhibition curated by Michael Janssen (Berlin) revolving around the most exciting film and video artworks of recent years from Southeast Asia.
The works shown at ART COLOGNE (19 to 22 April 2018) represent a selection aimed at reflecting the spectrum within which the artists delve into their own cultural and historical backgrounds. The works often gain shape through allegories that reevaluate the social and political changes that have taken place in postwar and Cold War Asia. The cinematic works combine fact and fiction, and not only allude to rarely discussed subject matter, but also raise crucial questions about power and authority, the construction of narratives, repression of identities and collective trauma.
The selected artists are concerned with the varied connections between history, politics, the individual and the collective in contemporary society. With a practice revolving around the medium of the moving image, they search for contemporary narratives in lost memories through the reproduction and analysis of oral history and myths, as well as contemporary media and popular culture.
The medium of moving image allows for a representation of time and space through a narrative that can originate from imagination, real history or another, parallel universe. In its spatial and temporal situatedness, a moving image work presents a singular narrative that can, however, acquire new or additional content meaning from the spatial context in which it is seen. Its narrative can therefore become part of the spatial context, just as this can become part of the artwork.
Overview of the artists:
Born in 1975 in Manila, Philippines. Lives and works in Manila
Kiri Dalena is an acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker known internationally for works that lay bare the social inequalities and injustices that continue to persist, particularly in the Philippines. Her active involvement in the mass struggle to uphold human rights in the face of state persecution is the foundation for her artistic practice, in that she underscores the relevance of protest and civil disobedience in contemporary society. Her films have been shown at many international film festivals.
Born 1975 in Singapore. Lives and works in Singapore
Charles Lim, a former member of the national sailing team of Singapore and of Team China in the 2007 America’s Cup, co-founded the seminal net art collective tsunamii.net, which also exhibited at Documenta11. His work encompasses film, installation, sound, conversations, text, drawing and photography. From 2005 to 2015 he worked on a series entitled Sea State, which explores the political, biophysical and psychological contours of the city state of Singapore, both through the visible and imaginary perspectives of the sea. The series consisting of nine individual works was exhibited at manifesta7, the Shanghai Biennale and most recently at the Singapore Biennale.
Ho Tzu Nyen
Born 1976 in Singapore. Lives and works in Singapore
A plethora of historical references dramatised by allegorical lighting and musical scores make up the pillars of Ho Tzu Nyen’s complex works, which are primarily comprised of video and installation. These are feature films in their own right, each of which reveals layers of Southeast Asian history buried under a cloak of silence, while at the same time pointing to the unknown in ourselves. The works of Ho Tzu Nyen have already been exhibited in several individual or group exhibits.
Born 1971 in Singapore. Lives and works in Berlin and Singapore.
Ming Wong’s videos play with notions of personal and national identity through a playful reinterpretation of world cinema. A master of costuming and highly earnest overacting, Wong has been able to create a “minor cinema”, in which everything from gender to racial identity is fluid. Using humour and self-portrayal as a vehicle for self discovery, Wong often steps into the shoes of diverse and unlikely characters. His works have been received positively in many solo and group exhibitions, as well as at biennials.
Nguyen Trinh Thi
Born 1973 in Hanoi. Lives and works in Hanoi
In her diverse creative endeavours, the independent filmmaker and video/media artist Nguyen Trinh Thi consistently examines the position of the artist in Vietnamese society and the role of memory in the necessary unveiling of hidden, repressed or misinterpreted histories. Nguyen heads the Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent centre for documentary film and moving image art in Hanoi founded by her in 2009. Her films and video artworks have been shown at festivals and art exhibitions, among other venues.
Tromarama – artist collective, founded in 2006 in Bandung, Indonesia. Febie Babyrose (1985, Jakarta), Herbert Hans Maruli A. (1984, Jakarta), Ruddy Hatumena (1984, Bahrain).
In works like ‘Bdg Art Now’ (2009), ‘Watt?!’ (2010), ‘Pilgrimage’ (2011) and ‘The Lost One’ (2013), Tromarama plays extensively with stop motion animation. The trio made use of the technology for the first time at *Ting (2008). However, Tromarama’s body of work extends beyond stop motion animation, and even beyond pure video art. The works of Tromara have been presented in numerous international solo and group exhibitions.
Hsu Chia Wie TW
Born 1983 in Taichung (Taiwan). Lives and works in Taipei.
Hsu is interested in the forgotten histories of the Cold War in Asia. His works weave together reality and illusion, history and the present with pronounced sensitivity by including lesser known events and linking formal history with real people and places. He has been continuously trying to combine cinematic narratives with other contemporary forms of art. His works are mythical narratives located between fiction and reality. His works have been shown in many exhibitions in museums, at biennials and film festivals.