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In Conversation with Lim Sokchanlina

By: Hannah Sender Posted: March-14-2012 in
Hannah Sender

Lim Sokchanlina has his audience sit in a 'pop-up' narrow corridor; pop-up because Sokchanlina created it in a room of Sa Sa Bassac using a brand new, racing green fence. Confronting this steel fence in the middle of the room establishes the emotions which are about to be questioned and transformed as the conversation between the artist and his audience develops.

Sokchanlina’s portfolio of fences might be described, to appropriate Rothko,

as the simple expression of complex thought. The dichotomy of the photograph as documentation and simultaneously as an image of an interruption, the end point of seeing, makes these (anti-)landscapes multifarious. Sokchanlina contemplates the fences as indicators of Phnom Penh’s current state of economic development and private ownership.

Fences deny access, but in terms of photography, they deny the right to see what’s happening behind them. Do the private enterprises in Phnom Penh thus effectively own our blind spot? Are the people of Phnom Penh being denied a right to see something, and thus perhaps know something, they might have previously seen (and known)?

The artist encourages his audience to think of the dichotomy of seeing and blindness differently. He calls the fences beautiful. Lim Sokchanlina’s fences have been chosen for their diversity. Each one has a story to tell: they are interesting in themselves. Instead of looking at Independence Monument (which can be seen peering over the green fence in this photograph) Sokchanlina appeals to his audience to see the beauty in the fences. The photographs show us something worth looking at. Sokchanlina’s fences empower our vision: though we may not see what lurks behind, they show us the power of our own sight to notice, to document and to know.

Lim Sokchanlina's exhibition 'Wrapped Future' is showing at Sa Sa Bassac until 1st April.

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