BLOG: "Rates of Exchange, Un-compared: Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom Penh"

Nov 21, 2014 5:07AM

An artist’s national affiliation still seems to reign as the dominant framework in understanding and contextualizing their practice, particularly within Southeast Asia. Although the region is amidst the process of understanding itself through this definition, there are attempts to intervene with this straightforward nation-based approach, which can be seen as an act of institutional critique—and one that is happening whilst institutional structures are still being developed within the region.

Taking a revisionist cue from art historian John Clark’s 2010 book Asian Modernities: Chinese and Thai Art Compared, 1980 to 1999—one of the first attempts at making two interesting but arbitrary points of comparison—“Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared: Contemporary Art in Bangkok and Phnom Penh,” curated by Phnom Penh-based Roger Nelson and Brian Curtin from Bangkok, sticks more closely to geographic proximity rather than distance.