November/December 2022

November/December 2022


Pacita Abad, Masai Man, 1982. Acrylic, plastic beads, rickrack, ribbons, painted cloth on stitched and padded canvas, 214 x 131cm. Courtesy the Pacita Abad Estate. 

November 8, 2022
November/December 2022
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So much of art is about surfaces and appearances. And yet with these visual cues, we are drawn deeper into other worlds and stories.

For our cover feature on Pacita Abad, the late itinerant artist from the Philippines, assistant editor Nicole M. Nepomuceno argues that readings of Abad’s dynamic works often focus on their vibrant colors while overlooking the material textures that reveal the varied visual cultures that influenced the artist. Homing in on Abad’s incorporation of ribbon, yarn, beading, buttons, and cotton padding, such as in the issue’s cover artwork, Masai Man (1982), Nepomuceno writes that Abad’s paintings accumulate “the artistic labor of peoples historically excluded from the global art world, or at best categorized as secondary producers of ‘craft’ compared to Euro-American ‘art.’ Each strata is informed by lasting textile practices which…thrive in homes, on bodies, and through memory.

Likewise going under the surface, the practice of Hong Kong-based multimedia artist Lee Kai Chung unravels official narratives of the Second Sino-Japanese War to reveal ideological inflections and omissions. But as managing editor Chloe Chu explains in the second Feature: “Far from being simply analytical, Lee’s works present their own fictions. Beneath their often-torpid rhythms and multiple, fragmented storylines, his videos capture moments such as the possible shoulder grazes between passersby who may have unwittingly influenced one another’s fates, and the psychological tensions experienced by individuals during conflicts and in their aftermath.”

Highlighting intangible forces, in Inside Burger Collection, artist Yehudit Sasportas explains her idea of “locked power” in a conversation with critic and curator Gesine Borcherdt as they discuss the energy around a swamp in northwestern Germany that the artist was drawn to, before she discovered a World War II bunker below the water. In Up Close, we spotlight three recent works by Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad TousiChang Yoong Chia, and Riya Chandiramani.

Profiles turns the spotlight on Baghdad-born artist Ali Eyal, who “contemplates the lasting impact of war traumas and examines the places where violence might dwell, from urban and rural landscapes to the unconscious,” as contributor Amin Alsaden describes. The second Profile looks at the practice of Radhika Khimji, whose multimedia works exploring depictions and perceptions of the female body are featured in the inaugural Oman Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale.

In Essays, contributor Louis Ho puts forward a history of queer art in Singapore, and evaluates what the recent repeal of a colonial-era law that had criminalized intimacy between men might mean for local practitioners.

Elsewhere in the issue, for Dispatch, we hear from Ann Phatarawadee Phataranawik about Bangkok’s busy year-end calendar, with the launches of the Bangkok Art Biennale and the Ghost 2565 festival. In the Point, curator and writer Naz Cuguoğlu reflects on her participation in the Whole Life Academy in Dresden. For One on One, Hong Kong artist Leung Chi Wo celebrates the installations of the late Christian Boltanski. In Reviews, we look at the biennales in Venice and Istanbul, and exhibitions from Auckland to Taipei, Hong Kong to New York.

Finally, for Where I Work, deputy editor HG Masters visited the working space of the young Hong Kong painter Henry Shum. In his precocious experimentation with paint as a medium, Shum builds up and strips away layers in his canvases, leaving viewers to uncover their own associations with his uncanny, dream-like imagery. Encouraging viewers to have encounters with realms beyond the visible, for Shum, like many of the artists in this issue, is one of the reasons they pursue art-making and why we’re drawn to them.

A digital edition of the full issue is now available for purchase on ZinioGoogle Play, the Apple App Store, and Magzter.

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