Arndt Art Agency
The Possibility of an Island
The Possibility of an Island
Presented by: Arndt Art Agency (A3), founding member of Cromwell Place
Location: Pavilion Gallery, Cromwell Place, London
Exhibition dates: 5th November - 25th November, 2020
Abdul Abdullah (Australia)
Zico Albaiquni (Indonesia)
Zean Cabangis (Philippines)
Marina Cruz (Philippines)
Kawayan de Guia (Philippines)
Nona Garcia (Philippines)
Yeo Kaa (Philippines)
JC Jacinto (Philippines)
Danie Mellor (Australia)
Eko Nugroho (Indonesia)
Alvin Ong (Singapore)
Yodmanee Pannaphan (Thailand)
Handiwirman Saputra (Indonesia)
Svay Sareth (Cambodia)
Melati Suryodarmo (Indonesia)
Rodel Tapaya (Philippines)
Natee Utarit (Thailand)
Entang Wiharso (Indonesia)
The exhibition “The Possibility of an Island” aims to provide an introduction into the incredibly vast, diverse and extremely vibrant contemporary art landscape of Southeast-Asia.
As artists from the region start making appearances in galleries, museums and biennales establishing their artistic practices across the world, there is still little common knowledge concerning Indonesian, Filipino, Thai and Cambodian and contemporary art from Southeast- Asia.
Celebrated extensively in their own countries, thriving art scenes and markets within the Asia Pacific Region, these artists have previously shown in other parts of Europe. However, for most artists within this presentation, this represents their debut on the London stage.
Incredibly diverse and different in culture and topics, what unites these artists and their countries of origins, is that they come from Islands; thousands of Archipelagos, surrounded by water. The other overarching connection is that they all share a universal language - art - in order to express their differences and similarities, and also address issues of the past and contemporary life and the challenges faced in the various regions.
Last but not least, the connection between Southeast-Asia and England is also addressed. The question of why London is the ideal location for this in-depth presentation of Southeast-Asian art is grappled with. Britain being also an “Island” is of huge importance, specifically in relation to the way in which the UK, similarly expresses itself and deals with its close neighbours across the water. The British are also aware of the challenges and opportunities that an Island status provides: Protection and safety from outside influences, but also the need to trade, engage, exchange and travel with partners all across the world.
This exhibition is interested in delving into notions concerning the Western approach towards Southeast Asia and Pacific regions in the past from the view of the colonist, the explorer and the invader but also exploring this concept of bringing civilisation and culture to areas deemed in need. It can be acknowledged that the fully developed societies, cultures and trade networks of the 20th and 21st century were driven by the search for the island, the resort far away from the hectic competitiveness of Western societies. The “Artworld” can be seen to take a similar approach, remaining in a Euro-American comfort zone and only slowly now acknowledging the rich and complex art from Southeast- Asia.