“Anywhere But Here” (N’importe où sauf ici, គ្រប់ទីកន្លង លើកលងទីនះ) brings together artworks that seek out some circulations of objects, figures or gestures in relation to Cambodia, and more broadly within the geopolitical context of Southeast Asia. With a focus on deterritorialization – whether they would be forced or driven by free will, consequences of uncontrollable slippages or transfers carefully orchestrated – these collected stories of movements draw vanishing points within prevailing processes of history-making and patrimonial heritage.
Numerous shifts of power in Cambodia have repeatedly recast the conception of culture and historialization of facts and patrimony, including the seemingly timeless and ongoing tensions with its neighbors Vietnam and Thailand, the colonial French Protectorate (1863-1953), the 1970 coup leading to the assumption of power of Lon Nol, the following four years of civil war (1970-1974), meanwhile the rise South-East Asian Communist parties and the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge Regime (1975-1979), to the Vietnamese ruled People’s Republic of Kampuchea (1979-1991), the rule of United Nations Transitional Authority over the country (1992-1993), which led to the autocratic rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen (since 1998).
The works presented in Anywhere But Here address marginal movements developping within historical moments, such as the forced exile or voluntary displacements of intellectuals to France and its colonies (Hàm Nghi, Tran Minh Duc). The works of Thao-Nguyen Phan evoke the after-effects of French and Japanese intrusions on the evolution of agrarian landscape and deference gestures, while others invent new scenarios in patrimonial spaces (Shooshie Sulaiman, Pratchaya Phinthong). Some works trace the intimate trajectories of objects and anonymous persons (Felix González-Torres, Khvay Samnang, Vuth Lyno), while others take as their starting point former artists’ journeys that lie ambiguously between a quest for disorientation or a quest of tangible origins (Albert Samreth, Singapore Art Archive Project, Vandy Rattana)