Oeur Sokuntevy participates in New Icon: Pop in Asia
Oeur Sokuntevy is one amongst 13 artists invited to participate in New Icon: Pop in Asia curated by Jeong-Ok Jeon. The exhibition will open on August 15, 2014 at Galarie Salihari, Jakarta, Indonesia.
On the Facebook event, they state: “Center for Art and Community Management Surya University is pleased to announce New Icon: Pop in Asia, a contemporary art exhibition featuring works by 13 Asian artists. Inspired and influenced by Pop Culture, the artists incorporate images and mass media mechanisms, and transform them into various styles. The exhibition aims to explore the differences in each artist’s sensibilities and styles, and also increase the connection and mutual collaboration amongst them.”
Three paintings by Oeur are included in the exhibition. These works, through her distinctly surrealistic narrative, calls into question human nature in the face of pop culture and current affairs. The figures and objects form a coded vocabulary from which a complicated tale unfolds.
In the painting, Replacement, a woman squats in her home while talking on the phone. Her body is composed of mechanical parts with an electrical current flashing in her chest and in her mind (represented by a three walled house). In the background we can see a figure, embracing a dog and their brain exposed. A human-shaped arm extends from the galaxy above and reaches out to finger the brain with starry digits.
When looking at the figures, there seems to be one major distinction: human/nature vs. human/technology. Whilst reserving judgment, Oeur asks what is the impact of technology on the body and mind? Ultimately, what is the impact on humanity itself?
With Novelty, Oeur continues to explore the impact of technology, specifically media content delivered through television. Two women, perhaps a mother and daughter, sit at home on the floor watching TV. The younger woman is naked, representing the new generation and its freedoms, and bears a tattoo of the Batman symbol with the figure of Spiderman resting on her feet. From the TV emerge other pop culture icons of Iron Man and Psy dancing Gangnam Style. In the scene, an overgrown vine asserts itself from the periphery, a reminder of humanity’s origin and link to nature.
In For Sale, a woman, masked in elaborate make up and apathy, spoons the earth into bowls for waiting customers. An older woman leaning on a cane and clutching indistinct money waits patiently. In the background are two children—one eats the earth-soup without much concern, while the other grows angry at the division and sale of the earth. The angry girl wonders what will be left for her after the earth is consumed by greed, war and environmental disasters. From her head grows colorful flowers in contrast with the stark trees and fields behind.
A fifth figure stands quietly by—she is probably the most disturbing as she looks at us. We are no longer an observer of the scene, but a participant. With this very simple gesture, Oeur confronts us with our own humanity and where do we stand.