©︎Khvay Samnang, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
2018, Two-channel HD video, color, sound, 21’59” looped, Edition 1/5 + 2AP
Khvay Samnang (B.1982) 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.
“Popil” is a series of work produced on the occasion of Samnang’s solo show at Haus der Kunst (2018, Munich, Germany) and it is comprised of mask sculptures, photography and video work. In “Popil”, two Khmer dancers wearing dragon masks which the artist fashioned from woven fishing vines make their appearance. One represents China and another Cambodia. They elegantly dance to make love to each other and at times their relationships become tense. The Khmer dance that is characterized by the curled gestures mimic the flows of nations’s major rivers as well as the complexly intertwined relationship between the two countries.
Tomio Koyama Gallery