Tyler Rollins Fine Art is pleased to present Body in Landscape, a group exhibition bringing together a diverse array of works that examine the complex presence of the human body in environments it occupies, whether ecological, physical, cultural or spiritual. This presence, which calls out for examination, is especially germane today, with pressing questions of human conflict, migration, and ecological change dominating our consciousness. The exhibition reflects on the possibilities of how the human presence can interact and exist within natural, emotional, and imaginary landscapes.
Although their artistic practices are quite varied, each of the nine artists in the exhibition shares certain commonalities, balancing a deep grounding in his or her local context – its history, artistic traditions, and socio-political realities – with a perspective that is informed by active engagement in the global scene. Their works in this exhibition delve into the function of the body, both in its presence and absence. Please see below for more detailed information about each artist.
One of Indonesia’s most seminal and respected contemporary artists, Arahmaiani has long been internationally recognized for her powerful and provocative commentaries on social, political, and cultural issues. Born in 1961 in Bandung, Indonesia, she established herself in the 1980s as a pioneer in the field of performance art in Southeast Asia, although her practice also incorporates a wide variety of media. A major mid-career survey of her work was presented at Museum Macan in Jakarta, Indonesia, from November 17 – March 10, 2019. Entitled The Past Has Not Passed (Masa Lalu Belumlah Berlalu), it featured over 70 works from the 1980s until today, including paintings, installations and re-enactments of iconic performances presented alongside some of her most recent projects. These performances foreground a long and enduring personal and spiritual journey, a process whereby nothing is spared, all is equally scrutinized. They form an ongoing exposé of narrow dogmas, destructive patterns of thought and action, and misguided government policies, all of which plague humanity – a critique that is manifested in her peaceful, symbolically rich, and often hauntingly beautiful ceremonies, collective marches, and texts that instigate individual and collective vigilance against ignorance and injustice. They point to a common humanity that transcends divisions. Through her performances and other artworks, she acts as a formal and conceptual medium for communication, connectivity, and cooperation between individuals, communities, and nations.
Tiffany Chung is known for her research-based multi-media installations and hand-drawn topographic maps and data visualizations that reference the history of specific places, showing the lingering effects of social disruption, conflict, and environmental change. One of the most respected and internationally active Vietnamese-born artists of her generation, she currently has a major solo exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue (March 15 – Sept. 2, 2019), which was organized as a response to the museum’s groundbreaking group show, Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975, taking place at the same time. Chung’s meticulously detailed works on paper combine precise cartography with abstract motifs that reference microorganisms and molecular structures. Their lush, beautifully colored surfaces, with jewel-like tones rendered in ink and paint stick on translucent vellum, contrast starkly with the somber historical realities they chart out. Her work studies the geographical shifts in countries that were traumatized by war, human destruction, or natural disasters, unveiling the connection between imperialist ideologies and visions of modernity. Her maps, based on rigorous ethnographic research and archival documents, interweave historical and geologic events – and spatial and sociopolitical changes – with future predictions, revealing cartography as a discipline that draws on the realms of perception and fantasy as much as geography. Exploring world geopolitics by integrating international treaties with local histories, her work re-maps memories that were excluded from official records.
Tracey Moffatt is one of today’s leading international visual artists working in photography, film and video. Many of her photographs and short films have achieved iconic status both in her home country of Australia and around the world. Her photographs play with many different printing processes and have a filmic, narrative quality. She approaches all her photographic and video work as a film director, and she is known as a powerful visual storyteller. Moffatt represented Australia for the 2017 Venice Biennale, with an exhibition of two new photographic series, Passage and Body Remembers, in the Australia Pavilion. She was the first Australian Indigenous artist to present a solo exhibition in the biennale. These series were subsequently shown at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2018. Born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1960, Moffatt studied visual communications at the Queensland College of Art, from which she graduated in 1982. Since her first solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney in 1989, she has exhibited extensively in museums all over the world.
Manuel Ocampo has been a vital presence on the international art scene for the past thirty years, with a reputation for fearlessly tackling the taboos and cherished icons of society and of the art world itself. Now based in Manila, the Philippines, he had an extended residency in California in the late 1980s and early 1990s and continues to spend significant time working in both the US and Europe. Ocampo was featured in the Philippine Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale, with a selection of paintings from the 1990s in dialogue with his recent work. This marked his third showing in Venice following the 1993 and 2001 biennials. In recent years, Ocampo’s works have featured more mysterious yet emotionally charged motifs that evoke an inner world of haunting visions and nightmares. He often makes use of an eclectic array of quasi-religious, highly idiosyncratic icons featuring teeth, fetuses, sausages, and body parts alongside more traditional Christian motifs.
Pinaree Sanpitak is one of the most compelling and respected Thai artists of her generation, and her work can be counted among the most powerful explorations of women’s experience in all of Southeast Asia. Her primary inspiration has been the female body, distilled to its most basic forms and imbued with an ethereal spirituality. The quiet, Zen-like abstraction of her work owes something to her training in Japan and sets it somewhat apart from the colorful intensity of much Thai art. Her rigorous focus on the female form, explored through a variety of media – painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, performance, and culinary arts, to name but a few – has resulted in an astoundingly varied and innovative body of work. For the past twenty years, a central motif in her work has been the female breast, which she relates to imagery of the natural world and to the iconic forms of the Buddhist stupa (shrine) and offering bowl. Often called a feminist or Buddhist artist, she resists such easy categorizations, preferring to let her work speak to each viewer directly, to the heart and soul, with the most basic language of form, color, and texture. Her work is not lacking in a conceptual framework, but it is one informed primarily by a deeply felt spiritual sense rather than by rigid dogmas or ideological constructs.
Sopheap Pich is widely considered to be Cambodia’s most internationally prominent contemporary artist. Born in Battambang, Cambodia, in 1971, he moved with his family to the United States in 1984. After receiving his BFA (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1995) and MFA (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1999), he returned to Cambodia in 2002, where he began working with local materials – bamboo, rattan, burlap, beeswax and earth pigments gathered from around Cambodia – to make sculptures inspired by bodily organs, vegetal forms, and abstract geometric structures. Pich’s childhood experiences during the genocidal conditions of late 1970s Cambodia had a lasting impact on his work, informing its themes of time, memory, and the body. His sculptures stand out for their subtlety and power, combining refinement of form with a visceral, emotive force. In 2013 he became the first contemporary artist from Southeast Asia to be given a solo exhibition the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Cambodian Rattan: The Sculptures of Sopheap Pich, which constituted a survey of his recent work, including both large organic forms and two of his grid-based Wall Reliefs, a series which debuted in a room-sized installation at Documenta in 2012, and which reflects his ongoing interest in abstraction and conceptualization, and especially in the expressive possibilities of the grid, which has always served as the basic structural unit for his sculptural work.
Manit Sriwanichpoom is the most prominent and internationally active photographic artist of his generation in Thailand, known for his relentless socio-political critiques that combine formal elegance with ironic humor. His first solo exhibition in the United States took place at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2018. Born in 1961 in Bangkok, Thailand, where he continues to live and work, Manit received his BA in Visual Art from Bangkok’s Srinakharinvirot University in 1984. His commitment to social activism developed while still a student, and during the 1980s he established himself as a photo-journalist, working for an international news service to document Thailand’s volatile political scene and rapidly developing consumer culture. Always with an artist’s sensitivity to the interplay between the sensuousness of surface aesthetics and the emotional and ideological contents they embody, he sought to develop a deeper critique that could convey what he calls “emotional truth” while giving free rein to his urge toward visual exuberance.
One of Indonesia’s most revered and internationally active contemporary artists, Agus Suwage is known for his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations that relentlessly investigate the interrelationships between multiple forms of identity – touching on issues of ethnicity, religion, and politics – as viewed through a very personal lens. Over the course of his thirty-five-year career, he has continually returned to the self-portrait as a primary motif through which not only to address these broader socio-political issues but also to probe what it means to be an artist. He has had a longstanding fascination with the process of artistic inspiration, with notions of artistic influence, and with the role of the artist in society. Appropriation, particularly from his own work – but also from the works of his peers, of iconic works of the past, and of the contemporary mass media – is a central, ongoing strategy for Suwage, a process of recycling and recontextualizing that parallels the cycle of life and death that has been an underlying theme throughout his career, and which is grounded in the spiritual traditions of Java’s ancient Hindu-Buddhist culture.
Yee I-Lann‘s primarily photomedia-based practice engages with archipelagic Southeast Asia’s turbulent history, addressing, with wit and humanity, the socio-political impact of current politics, neo-colonialism, and globalization. Born in 1971 in Kota Kinabalu, capital of Malaysia’s northern Borneo province of Sabah, Yee received her BA in Visual Arts from the University of South Australia, Adelaide, in 1993. She has established herself over the past 20 years as one of the Southeast Asia’s leading contemporary artists, known for her digital photocollage series that deftly employ a complex, multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from historical references, popular culture, archives, and everyday objects – works that speculate on issues of culture, power, and the role of historical memory in social experience, often with particular focus on themes and motifs that reference the indigenous cultures of Borneo.