Voices of Transition : Contemporary Art from Myanmar

Exhibition : Voices of Transition : Contemporary Art from Myanmar, 16/11/2017 – 03/12/2017, Lunn + Sgarbossa Gallery, Londres

Lunn+Sgarbossa presents ‘Voices of Transition: Contemporary Art from Myanmar’, an exhibition of unprecedented size, scale and scholarly ambition in Europe to display contemporary artists from Myanmar.

In our curation, we aim to communicate the dynamic experiences of artists in Myanmar from the inception of contemporary art in Myanmar in the 1980’s to the present day. Our title – ‘Voices of Transition’ – demonstrates our enquiry into the transitional context for contemporary artists, understanding the oppression of state censorship, and how artists have boldly fought to have their voices heard. We also place the work in a broader, non-artistic context and challenge the reality of the often quoted ‘transition to democracy’ of Myanmar post-2015. In essence, ‘Voices of Transition’ asks how we reconcile individual voices and national context, in order to understand societal ‘transition’.

Visitors to the exhibition will be exposed to a carefully curated set of media and practises. Moe Satt (b. 1983) presents his captivating video-art ‘Hands around in Yangon’ (2017), which deals poignantly with the daily tasks of many pairs of hands, revealing through its hypnotic pace the inner-workings of a day in the life of Yangon. Aye Ko (b.1963), winner of the Joseph Balestier Freedom of the Art’s Prize 2017, prints striking and tortured self-depictions, through which we are able to reflect on his time as a political prisoner. Nge Lay’s (b.1979) visceral and disarming photography explores the effects of time on the bodies of the female role models from her personal life, illustrating a central curatorial tenet of the exhibition, the departure of the old and the emergence of a new generation.

The exhibition will display major new works from the ‘father of Burmese modern art’, artist Aung Myint (b.1946), whose artworks have been collected by the Guggenheim. Until the 2000s, the colours red and gold were largely censored in art and film for political and religious reasons. Aung Myint’s use of colour and reinterpretation of traditional calligraphic and mural techniques are radical acts of rebellion. Acclaimed performance artists from Myanmar will be performing in person at the exhibition. Performance art, requiring minimal tools beyond the artist’s own body, has been a crucial medium of social-political participation, protest and solidarity in the struggle for a democratic Myanmar. While paintings can be symbolic, performance art is a direct action of defiance.

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