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
As communist governments across Eastern Europe floundered in the 1980s, strange creatures began to be seen behind the Iron Curtain. Mischievous little gnomes with cheeky smiles and pointy hats first appeared in the southern Polish city of Wrocław, and then began to pop up on the walls of cities across the country. But despite their comical appearance, these gnomes had a serious purpose – using surrealism as … Continue reading Ridiculing the Regime
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!
The spectre of Cold War looms large in the Hirshhorn’s latest exhibition, Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950. The start date of its chronology points to an initial focus on the trauma of destruction in the immediate aftermath of World War II, and anxieties about the strange new world that rose from its ashes. Initial feelings of panic in the face of human fragility, … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Damage Control
Upon graduating from Moscow’s Stroganov School of Art and Design in 1967, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid forged an artistic partnership that would last 36 years. At the forefront of the Soviet Nonconformist Art movement, they participated in exhibitions with other young Russian artists who renounced the strict artistic dogma of Socialist Realism. In 1972 Komar and Melamid founded Sots Art, mixing the aesthetics of … Continue reading Featured Artist: Komar and Melamid