The Possibility of an Island
Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia
03.11 – 11.12.2020
Venue: Pavilion Gallery, Cromwell Place, London
Presented by Arndt Art Agency (A3)
Abdul Abdullah (Australia)
Zico Albaiquni (Indonesia)
Zean Cabangis (Philippines)
Marina Cruz (Philippines)
Kawayan de Guia (Philippines)
Nona Garcia (Philippines)
Mella Jaarsma (Indonesia)
JC Jacinto (Philippines)
Yeo Kaa (Philippines)
Danie Mellor (Australia)
Eko Nugroho (Indonesia)
Alvin Ong (Singapore)
Handiwirman Saputra (Indonesia)
Svay Sareth (Cambodia)
Rodel Tapaya (Philippines)
Natee Utarit (Thailand)
Entang Wiharso (Indonesia)
Pannaphan Yodmanee (Thailand)
Arndt Art Agency (A3) is delighted to be part of the inaugural exhibition program at Cromwell Place, London, for the landmark presentation “The Possibility of an Island”. This show aims to provide an introduction for Western audiences into the incredibly vast, diverse and extremely vibrant contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific Region. Curated by A3 founder, Matthias Arndt, this in-depth focus is the result of a decade-long exploration into the innovative creative figures within an array of vibrant contemporary art scenes arising within countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia.
Arndt is an expert in Southeast Asian contemporary art having edited and produced a range of major publications and exhibitions, such as “SIP! Indonesian Art Today” (2013), “ASIA: Looking South” (2011) and “WASAK! Filipino Art Today” (2015). He organised monographic exhibitions for many leading Southeast-Asian artists and recently worked as a Curatorial Advisor on the recent group exhibition “Contemporary Worlds – Indonesia” (2018) at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and is a member of the “Asia Pacific Acquisition Committee of Tate.
The Agency’s innovative international advisory and global artist management model was conceived in 2015 in response to the shifting needs of the arts industry and is thrilled to join forces as a founding member with Cromwell Place; a revolutionising organisation within the art world. Sharing an awareness of the need for innovation and new ways of working outside of traditional gallery formats, Cromwell Place serves as an ideal platform and partner for the agency’s broad range of international curated projects.
“The Possibility of an Island” includes key artists from specific regions who are celebrated extensively in their own countries. In many cases, this exhibition represents the individual artist’s debut on the London stage. These creative positions are united by the fact that they originate from islands; thousands of archipelagos, surrounded by water. The incredibly diverse cultural threads and languages located within the distinct artworks in the show are held together by this commonality that is communicated inherently within their lived experiences in order to express their differences and similarities.
In grappling with these similarities, distinctions and physical borders, Britain is a unique location by which to discuss and gain perspective from abroad about such topics. Existing as an island also is of huge importance in relation to the way the United Kingdom also expresses itself and deals with its close neighbours across the water. The British are keenly aware of the challenges and opportunities that an island status provides: protection and safety from outside influences, but also understanding the necessity of trade, engagement and exchange with partners across the world.
These complex discussions engage directly with a Western approach towards Southeast Asia and Pacific regions from the view of the colonist, the explorer and the invader, while also investigating the concept of bringing civilisation and culture to areas deemed in need. And thus, the connection between Southeast Asia and England is directly addressed. By virtue of the manifold artistic offerings within this unique presentation, the rich and complex art from Southeast Asia is acknowledged while a reassessment of the Western art world’s Euro-American lens is called into focus.
Credit: Lucinda Emms