Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Asian pop culture inspires artist

Asian pop culture inspires artist

Asian pop culture inspires artist

VIêT Lê, a Vietnamese artist currently living in Phnom Penh, will open his first solo show titled Boy Bang, tonight at Java Café and Gallery on Sihanouk Boulevard, in an exhibition that runs until November 28.

The project, which started three years ago, consists of campy images of fake Asian boy bands and solo performers in various personas and costumes. Posters of all sizes for concert tours as well as movies are arranged in a photo installation.

The artist aims to explore the explosion of pop culture in several Asian countries. “I’m interested both in what a nation-state desires and what consumers desire and how these desires are reflected in pop culture,” he says.

Through parody and word play, the series deals with issues of cross-cultural translation and mistranslation. A boy band is thus called Viêt Q, referring to a viêt kiev, a Vietnamese person who migrates overseas. Viêt Lê also plays with the numerous stereotypes on Asian men, often seen as “geeky, nerdy and awkward”, he says.

“Humour is a way to tackle serious issues,” explains the artist. Inspired by his own history – his parents escaped the war and went to the United States – he wonders whether pop is a way of addressing the twin traumas of modernisation and history.

Lê is also a researcher who, before having his friends pose for him, first thinks of the message he wants to transmit. Playing with fiction and reality, he questions the boundaries of community and identity.

“I like to show how pop culture crosses the borders. It’s interesting to see that with Japan and Singapore, which are really developed, young people can look at Asian models.”

For the opening tonight, Cambodian group Cartoon Emo will be rocking live at 7:30pm. Posters will be sold during the exhibition and will range from US$200 to $2,000.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh