As i have said already a lot on Villa La Repubblica i just leave you here with some impressions and a few remarks.
The show is staged in Huegetan House, Lange Voorhout, originally built in the 18th century by English King/ Dutch Stadtholder William III’s own designer Daniel Marot for banker’s daughter Adriana Huguetan, whose family became rich from investments in the Dutch East Indies.
That seems to be the right backdrop for an exhibition curated by Thai artist Arin Rungjang and featuring works by other Southeast Asian artists. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s (Thailand) monumental movie Lung Neaw visits his neighbours is exhibited, showing a former rice farmer in Thailand living a life full of gentleness and friendliness.
Rungjang’s Bones, books, artificial lights and fireflies is a multidisciplinary work and, together with his Judea, the centre piece of the show.
The movie part digs into memory and history, to the memories of Rungjang’s grandmother, the military dictatorship in Thailand, the Second World War and to Siam (as Thailand was formerly known) in the 19th and 17th centuries.
The movie is accompanied by a video loop with colour lights and fire flies.
There are two loops by Lee Kit (from Hong Kong), one showing the legs of somebody vacuum cleaning (in Huguetan House with a stylish backdrop).
Another impressive movie, that counterbalances Rungjang’s own work, as Tiravanija’s film does, is Letters from Panduranga by Nguyen Trinh Thi (from Vietnam).
The film is about the demise of the once powerful Cham people and culture in Viëtnam and about culture and power in general.
In the Garden room are the material parts of Rungjang’s Bones, books, etc. There are some relics of his grandmother’s funeral,
a Japanese translation of a book about Siam by a 17th century Dutch East India Company’s administrator,pages from a late 17th century Dutch book with the administrator’s Dutch text as well as a story about Phaulkon, a Greek adviser or contriver at the Siamese court and a description of the coup in Siam and the expulsion of the French in 1688,
as well as some reproductions of a 17th century painting by Johannes Vingboons representing Ayutthaya, the then capital of Siam. The name Ayutthaya was corrupted in Dutch to Judea, hence the name of the exhibition.
as is the other loop by Lee Kit, a double channelled one showing a hand replacing pieces of beans on the right channel and a slightly wrinkled and stained piece of cloth on the left channel. Even our smallest daily activities leave traces.
Do take your time to see this wonderful show, as it is quite unique being a many-sided narrative by Southeast Asian artists in a Dutch 18th (and 19th/20th ) century interior. There are comfortable seats everywhere and it’s worth spending the whole afternoon there (it’s your summer break anyway!). All works have a relaxed pace. Hint to West: serve coffee or tea to your visitors. It is always good to sip some postcolonial drinks under the circumstances.
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]