"Curiously enough..." - A Contemporary Insight into Southeast Asia -


Dates|2019. 05. 18 - 2019. 07. 07
Reception|2019. 05. 18 (Sat.) 16:00
Venue|galerie nichido Taipei

Dusadee Huntrakul
Samak Kosem
Tammy Nguyen

galerie nichido Taipei is pleased to present “Curiously enough… - A Contemporary Insight into Southeast Asia -” with works by Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul, Samak Kosem, and Vietnamese American artist Tammy Nguyen. In tandem with the exhibition "SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now", collaboratively presented by The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and Mori Art Museum, Galerie Nichido Taipei seeks to carry on our mission as a platform for cultural exchange by creating exhibition programs through curatorial themes that resonate and open up new dialogues and explorations of the regions of Asia.

The exhibition title “Curiously enough…” draws inspiration from the English idiom, which expresses an attitude of curiosity or surprise to facts or things that differs with one’s preconception. Using different mediums and tackling from different angles, the artists simultaneously explore curious concepts and circumstances found in human world for the endeavor to contemplate on the relationship between human and nonhuman.

Dusadee Huntrakul is skillful in using ready-made objects, painting, and installation to express his idea. Inspired by anthropology and ethnography, his works gain new meanings by borrowing, disintegrating, and recreating from sources as diverse as tribal as well as from contemporary art. "Snake from Toilet" is a series of color pencil drawing from original images found on the internet. The Hyperrealism not only points to the craft, labor, and materiality of the work, but also exemplifies the post-internet ways of transferring, receiving, revising, and re-sending information in our contemporary lives. "Snake from Toilet" asks how we have turned from relieving ourselves in the jungle like no other species with the possibility of encountering snakes, to something unlike them through the development of urban planning, aesthetic, consumption, technology and hygiene. "Snake from Toilet" can be seen both as an anthropological record to imagine certain aspects of current lives in Thailand and beyond, and an index to think about the development of local art history under globalization after Duchamp’s urine.

Samak Kosem works in the field of anthropology, and his ongoing research at the Deep South of Thailand focuses on Muslim culture and non-human relation. "Pondan" and "Neverland" uses photography and video respectively to show portraits of isolation of the Muslim LGBTI+ community, whereas "Nonhuman Ethnography" presents itself as a multimedia installation project consisting of videos, photographs, writing, drawing, and objects that further reflects on discoveries of the Deep South through a nonhuman lens. Instead of revealing images of conflict and turmoil often portrait as such by the mass media, Samak depicts his studies on nonhuman species(sheep) and landscapes(waves) that coexist with human to express the violence and oppression perpetrated in the social hierachy, religion, and sex of mankind. The subversive position between human and nonhuman in "Nonhuman Ethnography" not only highlights the inter-subjectivity of human and nonhuman, but also seems to suggest a queer method as an alternative approach to understand the world more holistically.

Multimedia artist Tammy Nguyen took classes in biology and anthropology when she was an art student in Yale. She worked as a volunteer and learned taxidermy at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History that owns one of the most comprehensive bird collections in North America.The experience triggered her interest in researching on birds. The works exhibiting here is her reflection on her identity and memories of growing up as a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, and the terror and diaspora brought about by human war. The lives terminated during the Vietnam war are similar to the chickens killed and cooked by her mother in that it was precisely these sacrifice that gave specific urgency to the artist’s well-being. Through unrestrained imaginations and critical research on geopolitics, Tammy creates a multilayered visual narrative that traces the history of the local environment as well as the multiple idea of being one of the survivors and the beneficiary on earth.

Just as “Curiously enough” is a way to express self awareness, the exhibition does not aim to provide solutions to those cognitive gaps. Instead, it goes back to the Latin word curiosus "careful," and cura "care", and asks such questions when confronting something curious as how do we not succumb easily to the idea of categorizing the superiors and the inferiors? How do we continue to hold an open mind that cares and understands whilst having the courage to refuse seemingly obvious knowledge or judgements? “Curiously enough” tries not to complete a sentence, but to open up for different possibilities of conversation.

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