Discomfort and Denial

SouthEast OF NOW : Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art

Art isn’t always my ‘language’ that I can speak and read. Having operated journalism field myself for a bit over a decade, I’ve been all along seeking : ‘names’, ‘dates’ (with times), ‘where’ (with village names), sometimes ‘ages’ and most of all ‘where’s are proofs?’ And the kind. “Factually speaking” is one of my habitual spellings, although my works are almost always opinioned after all.

So, probably as a result of it, I confess that I have a problem when artists’ note too vague or too omitting to reach out. That subjectivity and / or individuality reflect in a way that art is commanding vast free world – and should. I do respect it. I do admire that freedom, which often is mine too. But maybe(?) that’s why Steven McCurry, the renowned photographer (undisputedly) working in photojournalism / documentary world for decades, has suddenly crossed over to what he calls now “Visual Storyteller”. He denied he was photojournalist. ‘Visual Storyteller’ isn’t that wrong terms, I perceive. But sounds more ‘freedom’ (including altering) than responsibility of editorial be legitimate under his self-granted new title. Yet, denial doesn’t answer to the questions over him as to WHY fabricated pictures were hanging on to the wall that was not supposed to display such great level of invention.

Likewise. When artists deny facts that have proofs, that is not my problem but his or hers. That is not fallen into artist freedom. But that is what I’ve sensed from the recent controversy surrounding the Thai artist Sutee’s exhibition in Gwangju. His denial of being part of PDRC is rather betrayal of the group in my opinion. One can regret the past deed, otherwise better to be coherent. Artists commanding idea n expression of course understand the context of the event and sequence. Very sad the talented artist Sutee has stepped on faux pas. I feel discomfort.

Last Sunday (June 5), there was an art event titled “Discomfort” in Bangkok. Discomfort was the second installment of SLEEPOVER project that has been going on at the Reading Room in Silom from 5-26 June 2016. The project is organized by SOUTHEAST OF NOW : Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art, which refers to A Journal due to launch this year. If I quote about the Journal :

“It was by a collective of scholars and curators with the aim of looking and listening closely to the discursive spaces in from, and around the region – South East Asia, from an historical perspective.

The Sunday’s event had a specific focus on “The Writing and Publishing of Contemporary and Modern Art in Southeast Asia”. Various topics, including art journals in the region, presented and discussed. However, during the Q & A it seemed unavoidable to talk of the Sutee & Gwangju controversy from the very first question. And our forever interest, freedom of expression!

Next platform of the Project will be : What does it mean to be Avant-Garde? : Claiming the Potential of Art and Public in Manila in the Seventies (Saturday, June 11 14:00-16:00 at The Reading Room, Bangkok). If anyone in Bangkok be interested in it, please find out more here

Some atmosphere of the Sunday’s event as following.

All rights reserved © Lee Yu Kyung 2016

Art journals presented by Japanese curator Keiko Sei (Documenta 12) (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Art journals presented by Japanese curator Keiko Sei (Documenta 12) (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Keiko said it was the first venue to present this. (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Keiko said it was the first venue to present this. (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Wonderful translation by moderator Nunnaree Panichkul (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Wonderful translation by moderator Nunnaree Panichkul
(© Lee Yu Kyung)

We talking about this, aren't we? (© Lee Yu Kyung)

We talking about this, aren’t we? (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Yes, Indeed. (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Yes, Indeed. (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Library is Open (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Library is Open (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Books just behind you, reachable (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Books just behind you, reachable (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Next Speaker, ajarn Thanavi Chotpradit (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Next Speaker, ajarn Thanavi Chotpradit (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Thanavi Chotpradit is an art Historian, who initiated the public letter to Gwaungju Museum of Art (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Thanavi Chotpradit is an art Historian, who initiated the public letter to Gwaungju Museum of Art (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences One (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences One (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences Two (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences Two (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences Three (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Audiences Three (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Vuth Lyno, Artistic Director of Sa Sa Art Projects in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Vuth Lyno, Artistic Director of Sa Sa Art Projects in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Recording is an Important Act (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Recording is an Important Act (© Lee Yu Kyung)

'Queen of Question' of the Day (© Lee Yu Kyung)

‘Queen of Question’ of the Day (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Brian Curtin, Keen Observer of Thailand's Art World (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Brian Curtin, Keen Observer of Thailand’s Art World (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Next Question from Bazinga! (© Lee Yu Kyung)

Next Question from Bazinga! (© Lee Yu Kyung)

After question, sit and listening (© Lee Yu Kyung)

After question, sit and listening (© Lee Yu Kyung)

South East (Asia) Of Now, Discomfort Everywhere (© Lee Yu Kyung)

South East (Asia) Of Now, Discomfort Everywhere (© Lee Yu Kyung)

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