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This exhibitions presents work by Cambodian artist Vandy Rattana serve to contradict the classic images of Cambodia that are usually captured.
From the early ethnographic point of view during the French Protectorate to recent decades of war reportage, genocide studies, and cliché’s of tourism, a disproportionate engagement with Angkor Wat and the Khmer Rouge perpetuates a static imaginary of a place and people incapable of continuity.
Born in Cambodia after the official fall of the Khmer Rouge, Vandy Rattana began photographing as a form of continuity, concerned with the lack of physical documentation of the history and culture of his country. His early serial works was bouncing between photojournalism and conceptual practice.
Vandy picks his subjects in casual situations and day to day's life, from his family to today's labors. His aim is to create archive of Cambodia for future generations.
MONOLOGUE is a portrait of his land, with physical and physiological scar. The only sound in the film —the artist’s monologue— is directed at the sister he never met, who rests somewhere beneath a small, measured plot of land, alongside his grandmother, and five thousand others who were discarded during the Khmer Rouge regime in 1978. There is no signage, no skulls on view, no annual reenactment of killing for spectators.
Vandy’s sister’s grave resembles thousands of others around the country as they are today: unmarked, fertile, agricultural land. The film approaches the site by overlapping these past and present histories.
The artist’s dramatic voice and the dream-like sequences in MONOLOGUE counter that of the journalist, that of the official Khmer Rouge trial testimonies. MONOLOGUE destabilizes time, the distance of history, bipolar ideas of justice, the possibility of logic, and of peace.