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Guggenheim UBS Map Global Art Initiative Inaugurates International Tour at Asia Society Hong Kong Center

October 30, 2013 Attraction No Comments Email Email

The Asia Society Hong Kong Center presents No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the first touring exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, from October 30, 2013, to February 16, 2014.

Featuring recent work by 13 artists from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India,Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, No Country presents some of the most challenging and inventive voices in South and Southeast Asia today.

DC03483The exhibition was first seen in New York at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (February 22–May 22, 2013) as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multi-year collaboration charting contemporary art practice in three geographic regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa—and encompassing curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven education programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund. Following its presentation in Hong Kong, the exhibition will travel to Singapore.

Exhibition Overview

No Country was organized by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, and Dominique Chan, Exhibition Curator, Asia Society Hong Kong Center. The exhibition features 18 paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and mixed-media works.

According to Ms. Yap, “There is a tremendous diversity of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and to challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as a basis for understanding them. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition; it is a platform for discussion and exchange.”

The artists in the exhibition are:

  • Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi, Pakistan)
  • Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia)
  • Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan)
  • Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar)
  • Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India)
  • Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh)
  • Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon, Vietnam)
  • Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1957, Trad, Thailand)
  • Norberto Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines)
  • Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore)
  • Truong Tan (b. 1963, Hanoi, Vietnam)
  • Vandy Rattana (b. 1980, Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

The exhibition—the title of which references the opening line of W.B. Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928)—proposes an understanding of the region that transcends physical and political borders. The historical narrative of South and Southeast Asiastretches from the era of its ancient kingdoms and empires to that of today’s nation-states and is marked by traces of colonization, division, and intervention—events and processes that are inscribed in cultural memory. South and Southeast Asiais also home to numerous important and influential faiths, religions, and ethical codes, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

Adapted in collaboration with the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, the presentation places added emphasis on the impact of South and Southeast Asian spiritual and moral tenets on the shaping of the region’s communities. No Country investigates the variety of contemporary artistic practice in this diverse region and demonstrates how the artists represented in the exhibition move beyond reductive representation to reflect on the manifestations and effects of belief.

This presentation of No Country divides its artworks into four thematic groupings, each of which reflects a different aspect of faith and morality. The four sections explore the impact of religion on the birth of nation-states in the region, the interplay between present-day global society and religious heritage, the question of how religious precepts may unify disparate communities or keep them at odds, and an exploration of the choices that are available to individuals and communities regardless of religious and cultural belief.

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