press release

Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared
31.01.2015 - 08.03.2015

Artists: Orawan Arunrak, Makha Sanewong Na Ayuthaya, Tada Hengsapkul, Khvay Samnang, Pen Sereypagna, Pinaree Sanpitak (with Seng Simouy and Sok Chanrado), Jakkai Siributr, Imhathai Suwatthanaslip, Tith Kanitha

curated by Roger Nelson and Brian Curtin

SA SA BASSAC is pleased to announce an exhibition of art in various media from artists living and working in Bangkok and Phnom Penh, titled Rates of Exchange, UnCompared.

Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared is the concluding event in a six-month series of symposia, gatherings and artist residencies that steadfastly skirts a particular way of looking at and conceptualizing contemporary art from these two cities. Ideas of the nation-state, comparative histories and the economic and institutional currency of geography, among other typical or potential frameworks, are held in critical relief. As the title suggests, this project considers the cost[s] of distinct frameworks for approaching and disseminating knowledge of contemporary art; instead, the project explores unpredictable relationships between artists as part of a discursive inquiry into current art from both cities.

The choice of Bangkok and Phnom Penh is announced as arbitrary, drawing out differences and diversities as means of looking at contemporary art in the region and otherwise. Of course, potential comparisons do exist; Cambodia and Thailand share a large and sometimes contested national border, are constitutional monarchies, hold a belief system based on animism and Theravada Buddhism and are economically reliant on tourism and manufacturing. Moreover, the contemporary development of both cities functions in extreme contrast to other parts of their respective countries. Nevertheless, the project refuses any claim to represent or address similarities or differences between Bangkok and Phnom Penh; in short, it insists on the critical value of their remaining deliberately ‘un-compared’.

Rates of Exchange, Un-Compared activates connections between artists, curators and galleries from Bangkok and Phnom Penh. Participants are at different levels of their careers, work in varying contexts and carry diverse ambitions. A premise of the project is that dialogue between them has been slight to date. But Rates of Exchange, UnCompared insists on the multiplicity of meanings inherent not only in a given art ‘world’ and geographical location but also within artists’ practices.