Participating Artists: Shadi Ghadirian, Morvarid K, Nge Lay, Ampannee Satoh, Maitree Siriboon, Manit Sirwanichpoom, Lale Tara, Pinar Yolacan
Following on from Yavuz Fine Art’s successful inaugural photography show Open Frame: recent landscape photography from China in June 2010, the gallery launches Idols and Icons: new photography from Southeast Asia & the Middle East this coming June. The series featured are either recent or specifically commissioned for the exhibition.
The exhibition concept is developed around the exploration of the building and meaning of icons. The curator is particularly interested in the shifting significance of icons, as well as the faith, often irrational, that people have in the protection that an idol or amulet is deemed to confer. The art will also probe the relevance of cultural icons, some series examining the surreal, disconnected aspect of iconic rituals opposed to their deeper, sacred meaning. How does one view ancient cultural institutions that survive in appearance, but perhaps not in essence, particularly in contexts that seem to negate them? How do audiences reconcile the outer appearance of people, things and phenomena, and a possibly contradictory inner core?
Spotlighting emblems that form part of our everyday, and sometimes positioning them incongruously in altered environments, the 12 artists included in Idols and Icons use playful, ironic and sometimes disturbing formal languages to translate their ideas. Though hailing from diverse cultures and regions, and using diverging expressive strategies, the photographers coming together in this exhibition, show how photography, through the its inherently ambiguous presentation of reality, is the ideal medium for the illumination of questions revolving around the ubiquitous icon.
The exhibition curator, Iola Lenzi, is a Singapore-based researcher and critic specialising in Southeast Asian contemporary art. She has curated exhibitions in Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, and conceptualised the recent blockbuster Negotiating Home, History and Nation: two decades of contemporary art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011 put up at the Singapore Art Museum.