Ru En

Angkor Once More Angkor

Angkor Once More Angkor
Dates: December 21, 2012 — February 11, 2013
Venue: Gallery 21

Gallery 21 presents Angkor Once More, an exhibition at New Year's Eve.

At different times, the artists turned to images of civilizations bygone. There they saw an ideal source of mysterious revelations, and screens for projections of their own expectations and anxieties. Each historical moment has its antiquity, so, our knowledge about the long-vanished societies is rather an unseparated mix of documentary evidences and fiction, the past and the present. This knowledge circulating in communication networks, forming all the new cultural forms; the industry of images brings ancient monuments to everyday life. There is a certain increase of ruin production: the lots vacant, the city abandoned, and the monuments destroyed have become such familiar images of modernity as are skyscrapers or gadgets.

Now the ruins have lost their traditional status of lofty objects for contemplation. The artists work rather with the very idea of ruin, than with an image of it, seeing a universal structure thereof, the prototype of artistic expression. Ruin is the meeting place of culture and nature, a rule and a haphazard, the documentary and the imaginary. Pieces of art have the same dual nature. The aesthetic tension between a fragment facticity and the atmosphere saturated with associations, typical for the ruins, becomes a tool of a present day archaeology in the art. Without seeking to create a complete image, the authors sometimes only outline details by which one can finish the building, leaving the product open for interpretation.

The artists need studies of the role the ruins and image of the archaic play in modern culture rather for rereading of the present and its possible effects and consequences, than for making reconstructions of the past. What if the search of forgotten and lost meanings, dotted knowledge melting into the mists of time, and the charm of the lost civilizations are a specific feature of the present? Perhaps art is a way of understanding the historical forces that periodically draws the present off from itself, to dissolved fragments of time, storing the unexpected message about the future past of present.

Stas Shuripa