Featuring Michele Chu, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Maya Lin, columns on Hindu Nationalism and Riyadh’s art scene, and an artist project by Eddy Susanto
The Spring issue of ArtReview Asia considers the intimate and personal stakes of artistic practices, looking from the past to the future.
Ahead of her debut solo exhibit at Hong Kong’s PHD Group Gallery opening 20 March, Fi Churchman interviews Michele Chu for this issue’s cover. Chu’s practice intervenes in different aspects of human connection, often grounding her experiments within the personal. Her largescale installation Inti-Gym (short for ‘intimacy gymnasium’, 2021) facilitated the chance encounter between two strangers who would meet in the middle of a tunnel and speak to one another through a semi-transparent wall made of fabric, prompted by questions set out by the artist. The forthcoming exhibition titled You, Trickling builds upon Chu’s ongoing exploration of intimacy, but as she tells Churchman, taking on “more of the themes of anticipatory grief, the passing of time and the body.”
Kamin Lertchaiprasert merges the conceptual with the spiritual. Max Crosbie-Jones visits Lertchaiprasert at his Chang-Mai gallery which he calls his ‘31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit’ and they discuss the artist’s life’s work as it has come to draw from Buddhism, quantum mechanics, environmentalism and Asian arts & crafts, to name a few influences. Often looking inward through his ongoing Self-Enquiry Projects, Lertchaiprasert attempts to reconcile his younger and older selves, meditating on their intertwined existence. He claims this search for the ‘spiritual aesthetics’ is an undertaking of what Crosbie-Jones asserts is ‘societal, as well as personal, consequence.’
With Jakarta experiencing constant catastrophic flooding, Adeline Chia writes on Nusantara – Indonesia’s answer to their old, sinking capital. Designed by architecture and design firm Urban+, Nusantara promises to be a ‘city of the future’ resplendent with nature, net-zero emissions target and green space. Chia questions the project’s contradictions, particularly its attempt to reconstruct Indonesian national identity, its political elitism over public interest, and its idealistic ambitions make Nusantara’s critics skeptical. Still, Chia writes, ‘Perhaps the most optimistic thing to do is to focus on local conditions instead of applying grand theories, and to actively search out potential strategies and propositions Nusantara can offer to global sustainability.’
Maya Lin’s artworks unite different disciplines, writes Andrew Russeth, bringing together art, architecture and memorials. Lin rose to prominence when, as an undergraduate student, her proposal for the Vietnam War Memorial won a blind competition in 1981. Since then, Lin has obviously continued to work, but Russeth writes her practice has matured into one of ‘beauty tinged with melancholy’ that touches on ecological activism and political policies. For her recent solo exhibition at Pace Gallery, Seoul, Lin mapped Korea’s Imjin and Han rivers to emphasize nature’s permanence in face of relative political boundaries. What is Missing (2009–ongoing) is Lin’s ‘fifth and last’ memorial – it is a multifaceted project that addresses the ongoing rapid loss of biodiversity, mapping the planet’s ecological history and decline.
Also in this issue
Eddy Susanto’s artist project features a series of Southeast Asian maps that combine aspects from texts of Javanese history know as the Babad Tanah Jawi and the Pararaton. Based in Yogyakarta, Susanto’s layered artworks focuse on the intersection between local histories and global narratives to explore the ways in which history and culture combine to create identity. Meanwhile in the columns section, Deepa Bhasthi writes on how Hindu nationalism has reshaped Indian identity; Rahel Aima visits the budding art community in Riyadh and Martin Herbert asks if art critics have gone soft. Plus our usual selection of exhibition and book reviews from around the world.