Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art through Photographs

Today I explored the Ke Art Center, consisting of photograph work from Vietnamese and Cambodian artists. As I walked in, the non-air conditioned room took my mind away for about one second before I laid my eyes on this work of art by Chan Dany entitled “Evolution.”

The first thing that caught my eye were the colored pencils along the bottom of the piece. On top of each pencil was a picture that represented the evolution of mankind, from dinosaur to high-rise buildings to sleek sports automobiles. At first glance, it seemed like a simple piece, almost like a child had colored in his coloring book. However, once I looked up I discovered the intricate picture he had placed together with shavings from the color pencils displayed below. The complex picture on top of a fish and flowers with clouds in the background was a stark contrast with the simple pictures on the bottom. I really enjoyed this piece because it seemed like it was a fusion between the East and West because the pieces on top seem oriental to me, almost as if it was a picture taken off the wall of an Asian restaurant. It seems like the process of placing each piece of shaving seemed extremely tedious. The top portion looks as if it is in constant motion. The fish, which lies below the water, and the lotus flower, which usually lies above the water, fits in with the blue shavings that to me represents the always moving water. The always in motion picture on top is in sync with the ever changing mode of evolution placed on the bottom.

The second piece of artwork that caught my eye was the self portrait of Vietnamese artist Truong Tan. Called the “Artist’s Portrait.” The artwork is very simple, and drawn with only three colors. He portrays himself with bloody tears and a knife pointed at himself. His face is drawn without a mouth, showing his silence. Rather than speaking of his internal issues, he expresses his feelings in his art. In his torso there are four additional bodies, which look like himself. However, the bodies are blood red and lined with spots, indicating that he is in pain inside. Three of the four bodies are attacking one of them, literally eating him alive. However, only one of the three are actually physically biting the 4th body, which makes it seem as if inside his mind he is conflicted with multiple personalities, some more intense than others. The artist seems distraught with a lot of rage that is tearing himself apart. There seems to be some sort of sexual connotation within the piece, but I am not sure what exactly it is.

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