Roger Nelson

  • Chen Cheng Mei in her Singapore studio, circa 1965. Image courtesy of the family of the artist.
    passages February 27, 2021

    Chen Cheng Mei (1927–2020)

    CHEN CHENG MEI, who died last December at the age of ninety-three, will be most remembered as the woman behind the Ten Men Art Group. This loose collective of Singapore-based artists made work inspired by their travels around Southeast Asia in the 1960s, and China and India during the 1970s, marking a decisive turn toward a distinctly regional sensibility in Southeast Asian artistic practice and exploring affinities shared across diverse cultures and geographies. This attitude and approach remain crucial in defining the region’s art and curating today. In 1960, Chen initiated a trip to peninsular

  • Trần Lương, _Sun Reflection, 1997, ink and natural color pigments on dó paper, 24 3/8 x 32 1/4". From “Gang of Five: Chancing Modern.”

    Gang of Five

    The Gang of Five are “a very famous yet mysterious group of painters,” according to Lê Thuân Uyên, curator of “Gang of Five: Chancing Modern.” Though they are widely known in Vietnam as pioneers of abstraction, their practices are not well understood, and their early works in particular have rarely been shown. Formed in Hanoi in the late 1980s, the group comprises Hồng Việt Dũng, Hà Trí Hiếu, Đặng Xuân Hoà, Trần Lương and Phạm Quang Vinh. (Lương is better known to international audiences for his performances and videos, which have been exhibited extensively in biennials and museums across Asia,

  • View of “Tith Kanitha,” 2018. Photo: Prum Ero.

    Tith Kanitha

    Tith Kanitha describes the plain, medium-gauge steel wire she used to make the sixteen sculptures in her exhibition “Instinct” as an “insignificant material whose primary function is to support others.” She speaks of how the labor-intensive processes of twisting, then weaving, then shaping the wire takes on a meditative quality, offering time for reflection on myriad personal, social, political, and historical issues. Such matters are felt especially keenly in Cambodia, where Kanitha lives and works; a “post-conflict” narrative dominates most discussions of arts and culture. But unlike most