Pressetermin am 20.04.2017 17:00h

"Misfits": Pages from a loose-leaf modernity, exhibition, April 21-July 3, 2017, Opening: April 20, 2017, 7 pm (exhibition open from 7 pm), Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Kanon-Fragen | “Misfits”: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity

“Misfits”: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity
Tang Chang, Rox Lee and Bagyi Aung Soe
Exhibition April 21-July 3, 2017
Opening: Thursday, April 20, 7 pm
Exhibition Hall 2
Press tour: Thursday. April 20, 5 pm


The first exhibition to open in Exhibition Hall 2 on April 20, 2017 is devoted to three representatives of late modern or proto-contemporary art from Southeast Asia: Tang Chang, Rox Lee and Bagyi Aung Soe. Today, their oeuvres stand at the threshold of art historical canonization, revealing transnational trends in a time before the art market became globalized.

From the 1950s until the 1980s, the poet and painter Tang Chang (1934 -1990) developed a unique practice of calligraphic painting and visual poetry. In his works on paper, Chang, whose family was Chinese, opened a critical window on nationalism, and Thailand’s long struggle with authoritarianism. His paintings, meanwhile, reflect sustained engagements across the spectrum of postwar abstraction. Since the 1970s, filmmaker and cartoonist Rox Lee (born in Manila, 1950) has devised an original visual vocabulary in dialogue with both international experimental art and the Philippines’ rich vernacular and popular cultures. The painter and illustrator Bagyi Aung Soe (1923-1990) embodied an earlier internationalism. Born and raised in Rangoon (then Burma, now called Yangon, Myanmar), in the 1950s he travelled to Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, and studied at the legendary ashram-cum-academy founded by Rabindranath Tagore at Santiniketan in India.

David Teh, curator of the exhibition, writes, “These three singular careers open up unanticipated connections across time and space, around themes of nature and faith, the body and writing, and the emerging culture and politics of the then satellite age. Yet their greatest affinity was probably material, for like so many famous modern artists, these three could hardly make a living from their art. Based on careful examination of their work and detailed conversations with experts, “Misfits” considers what made these artists outsiders, what made them influential, and why their work is important today.”

The exhibition is curated by David Teh in collaboration with Merv Espina, Yin Ker and Mary Pansanga and is part of the long-term project Kanon-Fragen.

Kanon-Fragen was launched in March 2016 with the wide-ranging opening conference A History of Limits, as well as a further development of the exhibition Past Disquiet. On the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, 1978, curated by Rasha Salti and Kristine Khouri. Starting in June 2017, one of the central elements of Kanon-Fragen, the multi-year project Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology will begin with exhibitions in Portugal and Brazil. In autumn 2017, a large exhibition at HKW on the Congress for Cultural Freedom established in 1950 in West Berlin and funded by the CIA, which backed countless cultural bodies and events around the world, will be devoted to questions about the geopolitical and ideological framework of art and its institutional legitimation.

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“Misfits”: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity

Thu, Apr 20: Opening, free admission
Fri, Apr 21–Mon, Jul 3, 2017, Wed–Mon and holidays 11 am–7 pm
5/3€, Mondays free admission
10/7€ combined ticket for “Misfits” and 2 or 3 Tigers

Escape Trajectories: Art History’s Runaways
Public program Fri, Jun 30 & Sat, Jul 1: Talks, films, performances
with Merv Espina, May Adadol Ingawanij, Yin Ker, David Teh, Reiki Tomii and many more
10/7€ combined ticket for both days incl. exhibitions “Misfits” and 2 or 3 Tigers

Guided tours
Sun, May 7, Mon, May 15, Mon, Jun 12
3€ (in addition to exhibition ticket price)

“Misfits”: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity is part of Kanon-Fragen. Haus der Kulturen der Welt is funded by the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the German Foreign Ministry.

Press Contact:
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Anne Maier
Pressereferentin/Press Officer
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
D-10557 Berlin
tel. +49 (0)30 39787.153/196
fax +49 (0)30 3948679