Contemporary Leang Seckon's 'Hell on Earth' extended!

27 JUNE–9 August 2014
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Asia House
63 New Cavendish Street
LONDON W1G 7LP

We are delighted to announce that Leang Seckon's exhibition Hell on Earth has been extended until Saturday 9 August 2014.

The exhibition has received a thoroughly positive response from visitors, and has received wonderful press coverage. This includes Leang Seckon's live interview on BBC World News' programme Impact (watch the video here) and and his interview with The Times' Catherine Nixey that was published in the Times Saturday Review (read the article here). Leang Seckon's discussion with SOAS researcher and lecturer, Dr. Peter Sharrock, can also be seen here.

The exhibition has also been featured in publications and online blogs such as Cambodia Daily, the Culture Trip and One World.

Image: Leang Seckon, King Sihanouk's Funeral, 2012, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 40 cm (19¾ x 15¾ in)

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Contemporary Tenzing Rigdol's 'Bringing Tibet Home' screening at Asian American International Film Festival

31 JULY 2014, 8:30 p.m., followed by Q&A with director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay

Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF)

City Cinema Village East
189 2nd Ave
New York
NY 10003

for tickets: AAIFF

Bringing Tibet Home, the documentary about the journey behind New York-based Tibetan artist Tenzing Rigdol's courageous installation, Our Land, Our People. The installation involved the smuggling of 20 tonnes of native Tibetan soil across the borders of three countries that border the Himalayas. The soil was finally isntalled on a platform in Dharamsala, India, giving the chance for thousands of Tibetans in exile in Dharamsala to set foot on their native soil.

The documentary will be screened in New York as part of the Asian American International Film Festival and will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Tenzin Tsetan Choklay.

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Contemporary Leang Seckon on BBC World News

On 7th July Leang Seckon was interviewed live at the BBC Broadcasting House by Karin Giannone for the programme Impact. The interview touched upon Seckon's experiences growing up in the Khmer Rouge, some of his works included in Hell on Earth and also his monumental installation Naga (2008).

A video of the interview can be watched on our website here: http://www.rossirossi.com/contemporary/exhibitions/hell-on-earth/video.2

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Classical Featured: Ming Dynasty ink on paper painting of The Lioness

Given that this year marks two major exhibitions on the Ming Dynasty at national museums, Ming: the Golden Empire currently on show at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, and Ming: 50 Years that Changed China to open at the British Museum this September, we felt it a great opportunity to highlight one of the stunning Ming Dynasty works of art Rossi & Rossi have to offer.

The Lioness
1483 (Chenghua Period, Ming Dynasty)
China
Framed ink and colour on paper
242 x 287 cm (95 ¼ x 113 in)

The Lioness is perhaps one of the most important and most interesting paintings from the period of the Chenghua Emperor. Near Life-size, the painting depicts two emissaries accompanying a lioness that is being offered to the Chinese court as tribute. The accompanying inscription, which runs along the top of the painting, is a prose-poem entitled, 'The Imperial Rhapsody on Lions' (Yuzhi shizi fu 御制狮子赋). Purported to have been written by the Chenghua 成化 emperor (r. 1464–1487), it is dated to the first of the lunar sixth month in the guimao 癸卯 year of the Chenghua Period, Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)—corresponding to the date of 5 July 1483—and features a large seal reading, ‘Treasures from Vast Territories’ (Guangyun zhibao 廣運之寶).

This offering of a lion as tribute to the court can be traced to a specific event referenced in the literature of the Ming Dynasty. Descriptions of this event can be found in the History of the Ming Dynasty (Mingshi 明史, completed 1739), the Veritable Records of the Ming Dynasty (Ming shilu 明實錄, compiled during the Ming Dynasty) and the Draft History of the Ming Dynasty (Mingshi gao 明史稿 by Wang Hongxu 王鴻緒, completed 1723) as well as in the inscription that runs above the painting. According to these texts, in 1483 the emir of Samarkand and Isfahan, Sultan Ahmad, offered tribute of lions to the Ming Dynasty court. (While the texts explicitly describe the offering of a pair of lions, only a single lioness is depicted in this painting.) According to the History of the Ming Dynasty, which relates the story, when the emissaries requested a minister to meet them and accept the lions as tribute, advisors to the emperor argued against accepting the gift, as the animals were seen as ‘useless creatures’ that could neither be sacrificed nor used to pull carriages. Emperor Xianzong 憲宗, however, decided to accept the tribute; the painting and the inscription attempt to justify this action by extolling the lioness as a fierce creature that should be read as a symbol of loyalty and regarded as auspicious sign.

Exquisitely painted trees, alive with brilliantly observed birds, form the background and also partially frame the scene. Both trees and birds are highly symbolic, and have been incorporated more for their associations than to provide a realistic setting. The huai 槐, or locust tree, is commonly found in palace gardens, and is perhaps suggestive of the location of the offering. In poetic contrast, behind the locust tree is a peach tree—its ripe, subtly shaded fruit symbolic of prosperity and longevity. The songbirds that cluster in the branches include a pair of orioles and a pair of magpies, which are both also auspicious symbols. This favourable setting was probably chosen to equate the tribute with good omens.

Published:
Dubridge translation (1997), P.Hobson text (1989), Whitefield (SOAS, 2003),
Watson, William. "Chinese Style in the Paintings of the Istanbul Albums", Islamic Art I (1981), pg.76, n12.

For more information, including provenance and images, please contact the gallery.

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Contemporary Video: Leang Seckon in Conversation with Dr. Peter Sharrock

On Saturday 28 June 2014, Cambodian artist Leang Seckon was joined in conversation by Dr. Peter Sharrock at Asia House, London. For those who missed the event, the video can be watched online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3VrN88MYrQ

Contemporary Opening this month: Leang Seckon, 'Hell on Earth' at Asia House, London

27 JUNE–25 JULY 2014
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

PRIVATE VIEWING: 26 JUNE 2014, 6–8PM

ARTIST TALK: 28 JUNE 2014, 2PM (reserve seats here)

ASIA HOUSE
63 NEW CAVENDISH STREET
LONDON W1G 7LP

T: + 44 (0) 20 7734 6487

Rossi & Rossi is pleased to announce Hell on Earth, contemporary Cambodian artist Leang Seckon’s second solo show with the gallery. The exhibition, held at Asia House, London, features a body of recent paintings, collages and video works by the artist.

Seckon grew up during the devastating period of Khmer Rouge rule, witnessing firsthand the government-enforced policies that led to famine and disease, as well as state executions. He describes this period as “hell on earth”, when the haunting prophecies found in a set of popular nineteenth-century Buddhist texts, the Buddh Damnay, were realized: “war will break out on all sides…blood will flow up to the bellies of elephants; there will be houses with no people in them, roads upon which no-one travels; there will be rice but nothing to eat”. The prophecies provided Cambodians with an explanation for the violence and destruction of the Khmer Rouge, placing the period within the cyclical pattern of Buddhist history.

The artist’s collages and paintings are intimate narratives of his memories from the period and the civil war that followed. The process of creating artworks simultaneously allows him to experience and express the freedom that was denied to him as a youth. However, Seckon’s work also acts as a warning: like the Buddh Damnay, it cautions against corruption and the destruction of the environment, drawing parallels between Cambodia’s present and its past.

A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by renowned curator Jens Hoffmann accompanies the exhibition.

On 28 June, Leang Seckon will be joined by Dr. Peter Sharrock (SOAS) to discuss the artist's approaches to his work and the impact of Cambodia's turbulent and complex history on his practice. The talk is free to attend, however seat reservations are recommended. To reserve a seat please visit: leangseckon.eventbrite.co.uk

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Contemporary Opening this month: Impermanence at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong

21 JUNE–24 AUGUST 2014
PRIVATE VIEW: 21 JUNE, 3–7PM

Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong
Yally Industrial Building, Unit 3C
Wong Chuk Hang
Hong Kong

T: +852 3573 9417

Rossi & Rossi is pleased to present Impermanence, an exhibition of new and recent works by contemporary Tibetan artists living in Tibet and around the world. The first such exhibition devoted solely to contemporary Tibetan art to be held in Hong Kong, it features paintings, sculptures and installations by Benchung, Marie Dolma Chophel, Dedron, Gade, Tulku Jamyang, Kesang Lamdark, Nortse, Tsering Nyandak, Tashi Puncog, Tenzing Rigdol,Tsherin Sherpa, Sodhon, TaNor and Palden Weinreb.

The exhibition focuses on the concept of ‘impermanence’ (Pali: anicca, Tibetan: mi rtag pa, Chinese: 無常), which is considered to be one of the three essential doctrines of Buddhist philosophy. In short, while everything in the universe is subject to change, nothing is certain or lasts forever. The Upali Sutta recalls a conversation between the Buddha and a Jain householder named Upali, in which the Buddha argues, “whatever rises has the nature of ceasing”. At first glance, this concept appears to provide a negative outlook on life; however, ‘impermanence’ can also be seen as the vital component that allows for change to occur, whether for better or for worse. One only has to look around to realise how true this is, be it on a small, individual scale—aging, dying, learning, developing—or on a large, global scale: seasons changing, governments falling, national borders being redefined.

Tibetans are all too aware of the fragility of life. Impermanence therefore aims to provide a vantage point from which contemporary Tibetan art can be examined and interpreted.Given Tibet’s recent history, the works included in the exhibition are understandably political. Faced with the impact of globalisation, exposure to new cultures and modernisation, the featured artists have adapted traditional Buddhist iconography, media and motifs to reflect upon the experiences of Tibetans around the world. Their vivid works comment on identity, security, the environment and the future of Buddhism—all increasingly complex concerns for Tibetans living both in their homeland and in exile.

Image: Tenzing Rigdol, Monologue 2, 2014, 24-karat gold on treated canvas, 76 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in)

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Contemporary Event: Leang Seckon in conversation with Dr. Peter Sharrock

28 JUNE, 2PM

ASIA HOUSE
63 New Cavendish St
W1G 7LP

Rossi & Rossi is excited to announce that on the 28th of June, renowned Cambodian artist Leang Seckon will be joined by SOAS lecturer and art historian Dr. Peter Sharrock in conversation at Asia House. Their discussion will touch upon the unique and tumultuous history of Indochina – a history that both Seckon and Sharrock have experienced firsthand.

The event is free to attend, however reservations are recommended. Seats can be reserved online at leangseckon.eventbrite.co.uk or by contacting the gallery (info@rossirossi.com; +44 (0) 20 7734 6487).

Seckon grew up during the devastating period of Khmer Rouge rule, witnessing firsthand the government-enforced policies that led to famine and disease, as well as state executions. He describes this period as “hell on earth”, when the haunting prophecies found in a set of popular nineteenth-century Buddhist texts, the Buddh Damnay, were realized: “war will break out on all sides…blood will flow up to the bellies of elephants; there will be houses with no people in them, roads upon which no-one travels; there will be rice but nothing to eat”. The prophecies provided Cambodians with an explanation for the violence and destruction of the Khmer Rouge, placing the period within the cyclical pattern of Buddhist history.

The artist’s collages and paintings are intimate narratives of his memories from the period and the civil war that followed. The process of creating artworks simultaneously allows him to experience and express the freedom that was denied to him as a youth. However, Seckon’s work also acts as a warning: like the Buddh Damnay, it cautions against corruption and the destruction of the environment, drawing parallels between Cambodia’s present and its past.

Dr. Peter Sharrock made his first visit to Southeast Asia in 1970 as a Reuters’ correspondent. The war put the large Angkor temple complex out of reach and this was prolonged as Cambodia closed on itself. He finally reached Angkor in 1990, when landmines abounded and control of temples passed daily between the government and the Khmer Rouges. He obtained his doctorate on Buddhism and Imperial politics as discerned through the sacred art of the Khmer civilisation from SOAS, where he now lectures and researches.

ImagE: Leang Seckon, Bang Skol (Blessing to Heaven), 2013, mixed media and collage on canvas, 200 x 200 cm (79 x 79 in)

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Contemporary Chris Doyle interviewed as part of "Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK"

Christopher Doyle is interviewed about the influence of neon in his work, focusing especially on his work for films such as the Wong Karwai-directed films, In the Mood for Love, 2046 and Ashes of Time. The interview is part of the online exhibition "Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK" that celebrates a key feature of Hong Kong's streetscapes by exploring, mapping and docuemnting its neon signs - while inviting the public to upload images of their favourite examples throughout Hong Kong.

Watch the interview here: http://www.neonsigns.hk/neon-in-visual-culture/filming-in-the-neon-world/?lang=en

Classical Rossi & Rossi to participate in Asian Art in London pavilion, Art Antiques London

12 JUNE - 18 JUNE
PRIVATE VIEW: 11 JUNE, 11AM–9PM

Asian Art in London Pavilion
Art Antiques London
Albert Memorial West Lawn,
Kensington Gardens,
London, SW7, UK
(Opposite the Royal Albert Hall)

Rossi & Rossi is delighted to be a contributing participant at the Asian Art in London stand at this year’s Art Antiques London Fair. The fair will take place between 12th-18th June at the Albert Memorial, West Lawn, London.

Rossi & Rossi will be one of over 20 dealers from Asian Art in London exhibiting a wide range of antique and contemporary Asian Art. The exhibition will showcase a range of outstanding Asian art such as South Asian sculpture and bronzes, Chinese works of art and textiles, Japanese art, Indian and Islamic paintings and sculpture, and much more.

For more information and tickets, please contact the gallery.

Image: Vishnu, India, Kashmir, c. 8th–9th century CE, copper alloy inlaid with silver, 22.9 cm (9 in)

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