Au Sow Yee (Malaysia), The Kris Project, 2016 — Based extensively on archival material, Malaysian artist Au Sow Yee’s mixed media installation The Kris Project (2016) reimagines history by collapsing the divide between fact and fiction. Juxtaposing found footage from existing films with documentaries of wartime Malaya, the resulting narrative presents a fragmented, hypothetical history of Southeast Asia.
Bae Young-whan (South Korea), Abstract Verb – Can you remember?, 2016 — A contemporary take on traditional rituals, South Korean artist Bae Young-whan’s four-channel video, titled Abstract Verb – Can you remember? (2016), features a feather-clad performer dancing and gyrating to a pounding, percussive beat – an interpretation of shamanistic dance rituals of various communities for an MTV age.
Chikako Yamashiro (Japan), Mud man, 2016 — Japanese artist Chikako Yamashiro’s Mud man (2016) addresses issues of cultural identity, geopolitics and the persistence of historical memory. Through a video shot in Okinawa and Jeju Island, the work features a lyrical and enigmatic narrative of a community of people awakened to poems of their history, nature, and other similar communities.
Club Ate (Bhenji Ra + Justin Shoulder) (Australia), Ex Nilalang (Balud, Dyesebel, Lola ex Machina), 2015 — Ex Nilalang (Balud, Dyesebel, Lola ex Machina) (2015) by Australian artist collective Club Ate, comprising Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra, is a video trilogy that reimagines Filipino myth and popular culture as celebratory narratives, drawing upon the artists’ personal experiences as Filipino-Australians in an exploration of cultural and gender identity.
Fang Wei-wen (Taiwan), Republic of Rubber Tape, 2016 — Taiwanese artist Fang Wei-wen’s Republic of Rubber Tape (2016), features a structure that recalls his childhood home: the Kampong Ayer (Malay for “water village”) in Brunei Darussalam, built entirely of wooden stilt houses and connecting walkways. Tape that surrounds the installation recalls countries’ boundaries as depicted in maps, portraying an imaginary realm inspired by the artist’s adolescence.
Gede Mahendra Yasa (Indonesia), After Paradise Lost #1, 2014 — A painting teeming with depictions of everyday life in Bali, interspersed with the artist’s own versions of famous paintings from Western and Indonesian art history, Indonesian artist Gede Mahendra Yasa’s After Paradise Lost #1 (2014) portrays an entire imaginary universe. The work also serves as a political analogy, with divisions between important figures of history and ordinary crowds broken down.
Jitish Kallat (India), The Infinite Episode, 2016 — Sculptures of 20 sleeping animals make up Indian artist Jitish Kallat’s The Infinite Episode (2016), depicting a zoological utopia, where the state of rest renders aspects of size, location and hierarchy irrelevant. The work prompts questions on coexistence and inequity – urgent issues that remain relevant to the human species.
Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong (Hong Kong), Museum of the Lost and He was lost yesterday and we found him today, 2015 — Museum of the Lost and He was lost yesterday and we found him today (2015) by Hong Kong-based husband-and-wife duo Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong, portrays unidentifiable figures in a series of staged photographs that are based on images from their collection of archival material. Through the amplified presentation of these minor characters forgotten by history, the work questions the biases of historical representation.
Mata Aho Collective (New Zealand), Kaokao no.1, 2014 — Kaokao #1 (2014) by Mata Aho Collective from New Zealand is a sprawling installation of high-visibility tape produced from a form of Māori weaving, and featuring a chevron-sharped design called a kaokao. Conflating the military association of the chevron with the traditional use of the kaokao pattern on birthing mats, the artwork is a tribute to the strength and endurance of women.
Phan Thao Nguyen (Vietnam), Tropical Siesta, 2015-2017— Vietnamese artist Phan Thao Nguyen’s Tropical Siesta (2015–2017), is a 2-channel video installation that tells an imaginary tale of a rural Vietnam populated only by children. Set in an agricultural community, they reenact the observations recorded by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (considered the father of the romanised Vietnamese script) as he travelled through Vietnam in the 17th century.
Thasnai Sethaseree (Thailand), Untitled (Hua Lamphong), 2016 — Alluding to the recent socio-political turmoil in his home country, Thai artist Thasnai Sethaseree’s Untitled (Hua Lamphong) (2016) is a vibrant collage of coloured paper streamers overlaid on a canvas of Buddhist monks’ robes, enfolding into its surface images of modern architecture, political violence in Thailand and printed texts of the new Thai Constitution, fusing symbols of everyday life and political upheaval.
The Propeller Group (Vietnam), AK-47 vs. M16, 2015 — Vietnamese-American artist collective The Propeller Group’s AK-47 vs. M16 (2015) is a re-creation of the one in a billion chance of two bullets, shot from opposing sides of a battle, colliding into each other. The colliding bullets from an AK47, invented by the Soviets, and an M16, the brainchild of the U.S. army, highlights the horrifying scale of wartime and political violence throughout 20th century history.
Yerbossyn Meldibekov (Kazakhstan), Brand, 2014-2015 — Kazakh artist Yerbossyn Meldibekov’s Brand (2014–2015) comprise a series of leather panels crafted from the branded hide of the grunting ox, a species native to the highlands of Central Asia. Juxtaposing the use of natural materials from the region against the iconography of numeric symbols, the work also bears darker connotations, such as to similar atrocities committed during the second World War.
Yuichiro Tamura (Japan), Milky Bay 裏切りの海, 2016 — An installation comprising concrete sculpture fragments, found objects and several videos, Japanese artist Yuichiro Tamura’s Milky Bay / 裏切りの海 (2016) explores the image and the idea of the body, based on the life of famed Japanese author, Yukio Mishima. Also informning the work are various narratives that make reference to episodes of post-war history in which bodies and the male physique feature prominently.
Shubigi Rao (Singapore), Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book. Vol I: Written in the Margins (2014–2016) (2014–2016), 2014-2016 — Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao’s interactive installation, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book. Vol I: Written in the Margins (2014–2016) (2014–2016), interrogates issues surrounding the destruction of books and libraries. The installation includes drawings, a book on the topic written by the artist herself, and a series of videos featuring testimonies from individuals involved in such incidents, such as firefighters who tried to save libraries on fire, and cultural workers who smuggled books and paintings to safety.