phnom-penh-cambodia

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

Tith Kanitha

SA SA BASSAC

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

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 other Cambodian artists whose work circulates internationally, she does not overtly manifest such fraught legacies in her art. Her commitment to an open-ended and largely abstract playfulness is rare among artists of her generation in Southeast Asia.

Repeatedly turning to the same kind of wire

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