In Search of South East Asia at M+ Hong Kong: West Kowloon, Hong Kong

In Search of South East Asia, a new exhibition that runs until 30 September, 2018 at M+, Hong Kong’s museum of 20th and 21st century visual culture, is ambitious in scale and focus. Featuring 70 works by 28 artists, architects, and designers from nine Southeast Asian countries, plus Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and the United States, it’s the first exhibition by M+ to address South-East Asia specifically. Exploring the historical and cultural complexities of the region through an interdisciplinary lens and a transnational framework employed by M+ for its curatorial approach, the exhibition gives special attention to layered conditions of place. By featuring works from the fields of design and architecture, moving image, and visual art, the exhibition uses the museum’s growing multidisciplinary holdings to shed light on the diverse and wide-ranging cultural practices within the region over the last half-century.

Executive Director Raffel says, “This exhibition is an important opportunity for us to develop connections between cultural production in Hong Kong and wider Asia.” It’s curated under three themes, Conditions of Place, States and Powers and Transnational Flows, with work by amongst many others, Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich, Indonesian visual artist Eko Nugroho, and Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija alongside archival material documenting American architect Buckminster Fuller’s engagement with South-East Asia. The exhibition represents design and architecture, moving image, and visual art practices from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Curators Pauline J. Yao and Shirley Surya explain their approach: “Given that South-East Asia is one of the most diverse and fascinating regions in the world, we wanted to honour its vast assortment of cultural expressions by concentrating on isolated moments, individual perspectives, and under-represented microhistories, rather than any overarching narrative or unified perspective.”

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