Khvay Samnang | Jeu de Paume commission exhibition
The Jeu de Paume in Paris has commissioned Cambodian artist Khvay Samnang to make a work for the Satellite 8 series. The Rubber Man video installation can be seen at the Jeu de Paume 2 June - 27 September.
For Khvay Samnang’s Satellite 8 commission Rubber Man (2015), the artist responds to the specific colonial legacy of land use. French Indochina privatized the Khmer monarchy’s land 131 years ago, in 1884. Soon after, rubber seeds arrived, imported from Brazil. And soon after that, the French imported an economic equation that began the physical, conceptual and spiritual transformation of Cambodia’s nature into exploitable land. Cambodia’s first land concession was established in 1922 for a rubber plantation, which, until 1975, was the largest in the world.
For over a year, Khvay Samnang repeatedly returned to Rattanakiri, Cambodia’s northeastern highland province, to survey the altered environment—from the remaining villages to the strategic clearings, from rubber tree saplings to mature plantations.
His three-channel video installation frames these landscapes, in which the artist pours fresh liquid rubber over his body, then sets about walki ng in and out of the rati onal cash crop lines, as if a lost spectre.
As the forests disappear, Khvay Samnang asks, "Where will the spirits live?
Subtly and often with humour, Khvay Samnang offers new interpretations of history, current controversial issues and longstanding cultural practices.
Khvay Samnang (born 1982, Svay Rieng, Cambodia)
has a multidisciplinary practice spanning performance, photography, video and installation. Prompted by instinct and hearsay, direct experience and media sources, Khvay Samnang follows unresolved stories he believes require intervention. Employing symbolic and intentionally futile gestures, he offers new interpretations of history and contentious current affairs events that resist the polarizing language known to media and legal reports.
Image: Rubber Man [L’Homme-caoutchouc] 2015 | Khvay Samnang
Installation : 3 vidéos HD, couleur, son, 4 minutes 4 secondes chaque.
Coproduction : Jeu de Paume, Paris, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques et CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux.
Courtesy de l’artiste. © Khvay Samnang, 2015