Upside Down – New paintings by Oeur Sokuntevy

The new work of Oeur Sokuntevy is a colourful and chaotic study of her new life in Berlin. Sokuntevy is a meticulous observer, and when she moved to Berlin from Phnom Penh she was presented with a unique opportunity to record her new, unfamiliar surroundings. Confronted with new sounds, colours and strange habits, her desire to record and interpret these new sensations created a new body of work soon to be shown in her native Phnom Penh. In Upside Down she has transferred these encounters across a series of canvases on which she has constructed colourful urbanscapes, inversed and contorted, that are populated by people carrying out everyday tasks, riding transportation, and tapping their phones. These works touch on a sense of the other, a concept closely linked to the identity of the self, something that is often inherent to the role of artistic observer, something which comes out of Sokuntevy’s paintings and makes her audience complicit in the observations, part of the otherness.

Unlike her previous work which is very closely linked to storytelling, this series has much more in common with a documentary style praxis. The notion of the outside observer, unbiased, almost alien to their surroundings, has long been recognised as one of the most honest means of documenting a culture in art practice. Outside observations captured by an artist one step removed from the culture, an artist not yet entirely immersed in their new surroundings. This imposes a distance from the subjects that has allowed Sokuntevy, with her observant eye, to define moments through colour and movement, an intuitive narrative that is intuitive rather than constructed.

To start the exhibition off, Oeur Sokuntevy is making the most of her brief return to the capital by presenting an artist talk on Wed. Jun. 29. Sokuntevy speaks about her new work from Upside Down and explains the recent developments in her work since moving to Berlin.

Exhibition, Jun. 28 to Aug. 31
Opening, Jun. 28, 6:30pm
Artist talk, Jun. 29, 6:30pm

Java at Independence Monument, 56 Sihanouk Blvd