NEW YORK, NY.-
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
in New York presents No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The New York presentation features work by 22 artists and collectives representing some of the most compelling and innovative voices in South and Southeast Asia today. Focusing on the region's shifting spectrum of creative practices, the exhibition traces networks of intellectual exchange and influence, and considers the various impacts of ethno-nationalism, colonization, and globalization on national identity. The exhibition features painting, sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and installation, the majority of which are on view in the United States for the first time. All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheims collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund. Following its presentation in New York, No Country will travel to Asia Society Hong Kong Center, October 2013-February 2014. The exhibition is also expected to travel to Singapore.
The exhibition both expands the Guggenheims global dialogue and significantly increases its holdings of art from these dynamic communities. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, stated: With No Country, we begin to take local, regional, and global audiences into a deeper, more rewarding, and, we hope, more nuanced cultural exchange. As the exhibitions title suggests, we have tried to take nothing for grantedincluding the concept of country itselfin thinking about the art that is now being made, in adding to our mutual knowledge and understanding across borders, and in building a vital area of the Guggenheims collection.
"The beauty of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is that it allows us to spotlight regions which have so far been rather under-represented in the largely Western-centric international art scene said CEO of UBS Wealth Management Jürg Zeltner. We recognize the immense economic potential, which these regions have, and they are high on our own list of priorities. But their importance will not only be measurable in business terms. They are challenging the Western world's virtual monopoly in many disciplines. Art is something which many of our clients are very passionate about, and our collaboration with the Guggenheim makes an ideal fit with our long-term objectives: the promotion, education and collection of art among a wide audience at an international and local level."
Launched in April 2012, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative is a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art in three geographic regionsSouth and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africaand encompasses curatorial residencies, international touring exhibitions, audience-driven educational programming, and acquisitions for the Guggenheims permanent collection. Conceived to engage a range of audiences, including artists, curators, and educators, Guggenheim UBS MAP seeks to stimulate dialogue and creative interaction both regionally and globally, fostering lasting relationships among institutions, artists, scholars, museumgoers, and online communities. The program builds upon and reflects the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundations distinguished history of internationalism.
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is curated by June Yap, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia, with assistance from Helen Hsu, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and guidance from Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, Alexandra Munroe. Additional curatorial staff members will provide expertise and oversight throughout the project. Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and Joan Young, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, provide curatorial oversight for the entire multi-year Initiative.
Drawn from the opening line in W.B. Yeatss poem Sailing to Byzantium (1928), which was later adopted by Cormac McCarthy for his novel No Country for Old Men (2005), the exhibition title No Country evokes the concept of a culture without borders. Investigating the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia through the work of a cross-generational selection of artists and in the context of the regions historically-shifting borders, the exhibition traces the complex relationships and cultural influences that connect the areas people to each other and the rest of the world. Among the works themes are: concepts of nation, identity, and religion; cross-cultural encounters and negotiation; and historical interpretation and narrative.
Of the works chosen for the exhibition, Yap notes: There is a tremendous diversity of artistic practice in South and Southeast Asia, and certainly more artists and artworks than any single project can accommodate. In this exhibition, the intention is both to present the range of aesthetic developments and subjects of interest to contemporary artists, and simultaneously challenge the privileging of nation and national narrative as the basis for understanding aesthetic practices from different countries. The hope is that these artworks will contribute to a deeper and more critical understanding of the region, both for audiences in the United States and those in Asia. Accompanied by programs for engagement with different local and international audiences, No Country is more than an exhibition alone, it is a platform for discussion and exchange, and for the undoing of barriers to mutual understanding.
The artists in the exhibition are:
Amar Kanwar (b. 1964, New Delhi, India)
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1957, Trad, Thailand)
Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo (b. 1978, Bandung, Indonesia)
Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar)
Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi, Pakistan)
Ho Tzu Nyen (b. 1976, Singapore)
Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan)
Navin Rawanchaikul (b. 1971, Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Norberto Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines)
Poklong Anading (b. 1975, Manila, Philippines)
Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia)
Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India)
Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore)
Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh)
The Otolith Group (est. 2002, London)
The Propeller Group (est. 2006, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Los Angeles, California)
Tran Luong (b. 1960, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Truong Tan (b. 1963, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon, Vietnam)
Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Wah Nu (b. 1977, Yangon, Myanmar) and Tun Win Aung (b. 1975, Yalutt, Myanmar)
Wong Hoy Cheong (b. 1960, George Town, Malaysia)
Following its debut at the Guggenheim, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia will travel to Asia Society Hong Kong Center, October 2013-February 2014. The exhibition is also expected to travel to a venue in Singapore. These exhibitions may be supplemented by additional works not originally shown in New York but acquired for the Guggenheim's collection. Guggenheim staff will collaborate with curators and educators at the tour venues to adapt these presentations to the specific interests and needs of audiences in Hong Kong and Singapore.