Rossi & Rossi is pleased to be participating in Art Basel Hong Kong 2015. Exhibiting in the fair’s ‘Insights’ section, which focuses on galleries and artists from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, the gallery will present a solo show of recent paintings and collages by one of Cambodia’s foremost artists, Leang Seckon.
Having grown up in the 1970s during the devastating period of Khmer Rouge rule, Seckon witnessed firsthand the government-enforced policies that led to famine and disease, as well as state executions. Today, his striking artworks in a variety of media—textiles, photographs, posters, found objects—are intimate narratives of his memories from the period and the civil war that followed. Brimming with references to popular culture and local lore, such as Buddhist prophecies and folk stories, his intricate and delicate pieces depict both the beauty and the horrors of Cambodia’s past.
Inspired by the artist’s discovery of a playing card on the grounds of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, The King of Hearts Falls on the Road (2015) simultaneously recalls a fortune-teller’s prediction and the anguish of protestors being quelled by armed forces in a still-unstable nation. “How will other cards that I collect inform my works?” he asks.
For Seckon, the process of creating artworks is cathartic; it allows him to experience and express the identity that was denied to him as a youth. The artist looks nostalgically to an idyllic vision of Cambodia in the 1960s, to a time before the Vietnam War and the rise of the Khmer Rouge. However, his corpus also acts as a warning: drawing parallels between Cambodia’s past and present, it cautions against corruption and environmental destruction.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Leang Seckon was born in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia, in the early 1970s, around the time of the onset of the American bombings of Indochina. The artist grew up during the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. A 2002 graduate of the Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, he participated in the 2012 Shanghai Biennale. In 2014, Seckon’s second solo exhibition in London was well received, resulting in media coverage by BBC World News and The Times, among others. A work by Seckon (Indochina, 2014) was acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, and the artist—now based in Phnom Penh—was invited to participate in the forthcoming Asia Pacific Triennial (APT), which takes place in Brisbane later this year.