Friday, May 10, 2013

Spotlight on a new hub of global art

A series of essays in ‘Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology’ (Edited by Nora A. Taylor, Boreth Ly; Publishers; Southeast Asia Program Publications; Pages: 280 Price: $51.95) look to examine a wide range of new and modern work, from Thai art Installations, seeking audience participation and sculptures that look to invoke deep post-conflict trauma In Cambodia. This in a way challenges traditional definitions of the art object’.  Keeping the dynamic approach in mind, the authors not only offer a lively study of art in the region, but also challenge and initiate broad debates about both international and trans-national art.

An introduction by Nora Taylor tries to expand the concept, discussing ‘Who Speaks for Southeast Asian Art?’ Other accompanying essays dwell upon allied issues and themes like ‘The Southeast Asian Modem: Three Artists’ (John Clark); ‘Vietnamese Modem Art: An Unfinished Journey’ (Boitran Huynh-Beattie); ‘The Cultural Politics of Modem and Contemporary Islamic Art in Southeast Asia (Kenneth M. George); ‘Thai Artists, Resisting the Age of Spectacle’ (Sandra Cate); ‘Many Returns: Contemporary Vietnamese Diasporic Artists’ (Viet Le); ‘Turns in Tropics: Artist-Curator’ (Patrick D. Flares); ‘The Assumption of Love: Friendship and the Search for Discursive Density’ (Lee Weng Choy) and ‘Uncommon Sense: "Empty the Visual from Eyes of Flesh’ (Flaudette May V. Datuin), among others.

The extensive overview gives readers the perfect opportunity to derive a cogent picture of the common threads, linking art practices from the Southeast Asian countries. However diverse their cultures and national structures, as it emphasizes, the artists’ core purpose remains exploring topics like nation-building, history, memory, urbanization, and religious and gender discourses.

In its all-encompassing scope of intellectual interests and contemporary context, the book adds a new perspective to art in Southeast Asia. Its specific methodological relevance will be of special interest to those concerned with, visual culture, art history, religious studies, anthropology and political science.  The meticulously edited collection of essays ‘as if complicates and twists our ever-evolving understanding of exactly what 'contemporary art' means.

No comments:

Post a Comment