On 7 January 1979, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia – sweeping from power the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge. While both were ostensibly Communist states, relations between these neighbours had dramatically deteriorated due to the stream of Cambodian refugees into Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge’s repeated forays into border towns, where residents were massacred. The Vietnamese occupation would last for another ten years. Yet … Continue reading Leang Seckon: After the Khmer Rouge
For three weeks in October 1973, Egypt and Syria spearheaded military action against Israel, aimed at reoccupying territory lost during the Six-Day War of 1967. The Yom Kippur War soon escalated from a regional squabble to a potentially catastrophic moment in the Cold War, as the United States’ support of Israel brought it into a confrontation with the USSR, which was supplying arms to the … Continue reading Found Art of the Yom Kippur War
In the early 1960s, Brazil’s left-leaning president João Goulart made many powerful enemies with his attempts to reduce the exploitative practices of multinational companies, in favour of improving education and labour standards for the Brazilian people. Meanwhile, the US administrations of Kennedy and Johnson were anxious to see Goulart establishing diplomatic relations with Cold War enemies such as China and Cuba, and began to consider … Continue reading Brazil’s Bloody Bundles
Considering the current conflict ravaging Ukraine, it’s no surprise that the country’s national pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale is highly policised. Within a confined glass cube on the waterfront, on the approach to the Arsenale, a host of young Ukrainian artists present works in response to the crisis. By combining them under the title of Hope!, curator Björn Geldhof announces the intention that the … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #3: Hope!
Among the tightly-packed displays in the cavernous main exhibition hall of the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale, Paperwork and the Will of Capital: An Account of Flora As Witness by US artist Taryn Simon stands out as one of the most thought-provoking and carefully-crafted artworks. Simon’s installation explores the overlooked role of flowers as a form of soft diplomacy. The artist at first appears to be presenting them as … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #2: Paperwork, and the Will of Capital
This month sees the closure of the British Museum’s chronicle of Germany, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Germany: Memories of a Nation is an ambitious retrospective, attempting to tell 600 years of history through objects in a single room. The country’s difficult Cold War history, divided between the Soviet-backed German Democratic Republic and the Westernised Federal … Continue reading Exhibitions of the Month: From Germany to Lenin
For the rest of this month, the dreams of the Soviet space programme are alive in London. In the exhibition Beyond Zero the Calvert 22 gallery explores how Russian artists have been inspired by man’s evolving engagement with the cosmos. The works featured in the exhibition date from the 1930s to the present day, showing how artists have continued to challenge the conventions of time … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Beyond Zero