More than 200 pieces of work by Cambodian artists have arrived in France to be exhibited at the fourth prestigious Lille 3000 festival, which runs in the city of Lille from September 26 to January 16.
The theme for this edition of Lille 3000 is Renaissance, and the Kingdom will be one of five countries or cities represented that have suffered serious calamities – whether through war or financial meltdown – and after recovering now have a thriving art scene. Seoul, Rio, Detroit and Eindhoven will also be represented.
“With 20 artists, presented in the main centre of the historical part of Lille and in a beautiful historical building, Phnom Penh Renaissance 2015 is the most ambitious exhibition about contemporary Cambodian art ever organised,” the curator of the Cambodian exhibit, Christian Caujolle, said yesterday.
“It will permit to Cambodian artists, most of them never exhibited in Europe, to be seen by the public, but also by curators, critics and collectors from all Europe. It will be a serious discovery.”
In the Hospice Comtesse Museum, built in 1237, famous artists such as filmmaker Rithy Panh and sculptor Sopheap Pich will feature alongside up-and-coming artists such as photographer Ti Tit and street artists Kimchean Koy and David Myers.
Caujolle – the artistic director of the French Institute’s annual PhotoPhnomPenh festivals – said he wanted to provide an overview of Cambodia’s visual-arts scene choosing what he believed were the best, newest and most significant artists in a variety of disciplines.
“I think that visitors will see clearly that the topics of identity and memory are central in the works,” he said. “I also wanted to represent three generations of artists: the survivors, the ones born after Pol Pot and the really young ones.”
Transporting all the works – including massive pieces of rattan furniture by Em Riem, a selection of 25 paintings by Leang Seckon and model sets from Panh’s The Missing Picture – was a logistical challenge.
“It has been made possible by the dedication of the artists and the generosity of many collectors. The sculptures by Sopheap Pich are coming from a private collection from Singapore, by plane, and it’s not so easy.
But everything has been done very carefully and now it’s a big work for building in the space and hanging.’
Caujolle said he was sure that the many curators, critics and collectors at the art festival would be interested in the Cambodian artists.
“The important thing is that they will know [the artists’] works and will be, later, in situations to consider them for future projects, grants, exhibitions,” he said. “It’s what I hope.”
For more information about the festival head to: renaissance-lille.com/fr.