Việt Lê: ‘boy bang’ at Java Gallery in Phnom Penh

Exhibition opening with special guest band Cartoon Emo:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

6pm exhibition opening & 7:30pm concert

FREE Artist talk: 5:30pm Sunday, November 7

Java Gallery – 56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Việt Lê, a conceptual artist currently living in Phnom Penh, will be presenting his first solo show in the Kingdom of Wonder, boy bang, at Java Gallery in November 2010.

The boy bang/ gang band project consists of campy images of fake Asian boy bands and solo performers in various personas and costumes which examines the borders of spectacle, (homoerotic) desire and audience. Through the creation of faux boy bands and stars, he questions the boundaries of community and identity.

Việt Q

Lê states, “Almost everywhere in the countryside and the city in Cambodia, Việt Nam and Thailand one can hear the latest Korean pop hit, pumping hip hop rhythms, or cover songs of stars such as Akon echoing from cell phones, nightclubs, pools and pool halls.” In this ongoing photographic series (2008-2010), the artist explores the explosion of pop culture (music, films, soap operas) in contemporary Cambodia, Japan, Việt Nam, China, Korea, among other Asian countries. “One of my fictitious bands, ‘Việt Q’ is a take on term Việt Kiều. Q can also reference many terms: queen, queer, quality, quantum, qualudes, and so on,” Lê explains. “The project examines how popular culture is created and consumed within Asia, its diasporas and beyond.” Further blurring the line between fiction and reality, Cambodian boy band Cartoon Emo will be rocking live at the opening.

“Solo acts and boy bands such as Jay Chou, Fahrenheit, Rain, Super Junior have legions of local and international fans, ranging from screaming teeny boppers to desperate housewives and queer eyes for these (questionably) straight guys,” observes Lê. He continues, “Gay Asian porn magazines and DVD covers have aped the look of boy band CD covers and posters, redefining the term heart throb.” The images from the series look like posters of all sizes for concert tours, movies, and so on—a teen’s dream, but with a critical edge.

The artist states, “I’m interested in desire, especially what the nation-state desires and what consumers desire. These desires are reflected in pop culture.” He asserts that pop may also be a way of addressing the twin traumas of modernization and history. Through parody and play, the series deals with issues of cross-cultural translation, mistranslation and the blurred boundaries of desire.

About the artist

Lê’s artwork has been exhibited at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada; dobaebacsa Gallery, Seoul, Korea;Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, USA; among other international venues. A 2009 Sovereign Art Foundation Asian Art Prize finalist, he has received fellowships from Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Italy), the Center for Khmer Studies (Cambodia), Banff Centre (Canada), Fulbright-Hays (Việt Nam), Fine Arts Work Center (USA), and PEN Center USA.

About the venue

Established in 2000 by Dana Langlois, Java is one of Phnom Penh’s leading contemporary art spaces. It has hosted over 90 exhibitions featuring international and local artists as well as forums, international exchanges and artist presentations.

About the exhibit

Dates: November 4 – November 28, 2010
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7 am – 10 pm

Opening Reception:
Date: Thursday, November 4, 2010
Time: 6 – 9 pm

For Further Information, Please Contact Việt Lê:

[email protected] |  tel. +855 89882340  |

Java Arts

56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dana Langlois, Director
+855 12 894 180 |  [email protected]

[email protected]


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