And in the Chapel and in the Temples: research in progress by Buddhist Archive of Photography and Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho —News |  NTU CCA Singapore
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NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is pleased to present in The Lab "And in the Chapel and in the Temples," a research presentation conceived and organised by Dr Roger Nelson, Postdoctoral Fellow at NTU CCA Singapore and the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, featuring two ongoing research projects that draw on histories of modern art in Southeast Asia with radically unlike methodologies. The experimental curatorial juxtaposition of the two projects explores unlikely resonances between them, suggesting unexpected connections across the region, and across time. Among these surprising synergies are the presences of spirituality and the Cold War, and the refiguring of forms and images within differing developments of the modern.

29th Nov, 2018

PRESS RELEASE

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is pleased to present in The Lab And in the Chapel and in the Temples, a research presentation conceived and organised by Dr Roger Nelson, Postdoctoral Fellow at NTU CCA Singapore and the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, featuring two ongoing research projects that draw on histories of modern art in Southeast Asia with radically unlike methodologies. The experimental curatorial juxtaposition of the two projects explores unlikely resonances between them, suggesting unexpected connections across the region, and across time. Among these surprising synergies are the presences of spirituality and the Cold War, and the refiguring of forms and images within differing developments of the modern.

Images from the Buddhist Archive of Photography are being exhibited for the first time in Asia outside of Luang Prabang. The presentation includes three series of photographs from a unique collection of 19th and 20th-century modern photographs that have recently been digitised and catalogued, using innovative methodologies attentive to climatic, cultural, and religious circumstances.

The first is a series of portraits of the late Most Venerable Pha Khamchan Virachitta Maha Thera (1920–2007), co-founder of the Buddhist Archive, taken every year from the age of seven until his death. These images were used by the late Abbot as a pedagogical tool for teaching about anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (non-self), the three marks of existence in Buddhist thought. The second selection comprises photographs collected by photographer-monk Pha Khamfan Silasangvaro (1901–1987), which protest the effects of civil war in Laos from 1959 to 1975, as well as photographs taken by another photographer-monk Pha Oun Heuane Hasapanya Maha Thela (1928–1982), who chronicled rarely seen aspects of Buddhist life, such as women’s vipassana meditation retreats. The third selection of images depicts the 1950s modernising renovations of Wat Saen Soukharam temple, under the direction of the late Most Venerable Pha Khamchan. These photographs, and the publications which accompany them, reward historical, spiritual, aesthetic, and other modes of attention and analysis.

Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho (Philippines/United States/Germany) are collaborating contemporary artists, whose practice often draws on translocational formations of culture and discourse. This presentation, taking the form of an expanded mural and shown here for the first time, includes fragmented glimpses of their research material and work-in-progress relating to the artists’ ongoing research on the internationally-acclaimed Filipino-American modernist painter, Alfonso Ossorio (1916–1990). Ossorio lived and worked for many years in New York, where he became close to Jackson Pollock and other artists associated with Abstract Expressionism. For Lien and Camacho, the figure of Ossorio constellates a diverse range of intersecting lines of inquiry, including around the Cold War and culture, spirituality and abstraction, agrarian and industrial economics in the postcolony, and gender and “genius.” Lien and Camacho focus on Ossorio’s 1950 mural, commonly called the Angry Christ, painted in a modern chapel located alongside a sugar refinery owned by the artist’s wealthy family, in Victorias, Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Lien and Camacho question whether the Angry Christ can be “radically reprogrammed” from the specific and highly privileged subjectivity of Ossorio, its maker, and the Ossorio family’s sugar dynasty, its commissioning patron. As well as making repeat visits to the chapel and Victorias over several years, Lien and Camacho have conducted archival research in Ossorio’s alma mater, Harvard University, and at the Ossorio Foundation, New York.

And in the Chapel and in the Temples draws on Dr Nelson’s ongoing art historical archival research in the Buddhist Archive of Photography, and his ongoing curatorial dialogue with Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho.

A Fringe Programme of the 6th Singapore International Photography Festival.

Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho’s travel is generously supported by the Goethe Institut, Singapore.

More details on And in the Chapel and in the Temples can be found on our website: http://ntu.ccasingapore.org/events/in-the-chapel-and-in-the-temples-buddhist-archive-of-photography/

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