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Stop for pop

It’s virtually obligatory when launching a new art exhibition in Siem Reap to throw a party, which is probably why Martin Dishman, managing director of the One Hotel Collection, didn’t.

He launched almost by stealth, first with one painting and then with more, letting the vibrant work of Belgian-born, Bangkok-based artist Christian Develter speak for itself.

But Develter’s work doesn’t speak so much as it clamours.

The One Hotel foyer exhibition can be viewed from the street in The Passage, where it’s become an occasional traffic-stopper and red “sold” stickers are appearing.

Develter’s work is certainly striking. It’s far removed from the muted faddish workshop-work that’s been de rigueur in the Siem Reap art scene for the past year or so. Art academics refer to the work of Develter and his ilk as hyperrealism, which is mostly a fancy-shmancy term for pop art, in Develter’s case anyway.

His stuff is pure pop art with an Asian twist.

Initially it was Develter’s female renditions that caught Dishman’s eye in 2007 at an exhibition at Hotel de la Paix, titled Khmer Feminitude. One of the paintings in this exhibition, a portrait of the Cambodian Queen Mother, was given to the royal family.

Dishman said, “I really enjoyed the show at La Paix, and I knew his work would be eye-catching and bring life to our lobby gallery.”

The work on display in the One Hotel lobby is part of the Chasing the Dragon collection that exhibited at the Chinese House in Phnom Penh in mid-November last year.

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