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Corey, Pamela (2016) 'Beyond yet Toward Representation: Diasporic Artists and Craft as Conceptualism in Contemporary Southeast Asia.' The Journal of Modern Craft, 9 (2). pp. 161-181.

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This article focuses on craft as a conceptual mediation within selected artworks by Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968, Vietnam) and Sopheap Pich (b. 1971, Cambodia), two of the most internationally successful artists to represent Vietnam and Cambodia in the global art world. Through an analysis of earlier works that responded more immediately to time and place, I consider broader questions concerning diasporic subjectivity and the relationship between craft, conceptualism, and politico-historical representation in Southeast Asia. This reading finds a confluence between discourses of craft and conceptualism, particularly in the meeting point between abstraction and representation. The act of representation is interrogated in different ways, in which craft (as process) indexes a haptic gesture with ethnic identity, and craft (as form) operates in contemporary art’s discursive regime as an exemplary return to material objecthood. In the examples discussed here, the artists have introduced a genre of conceptualism that is contingent upon a narrative, representational function, one still deemed vital in Vietnam and Cambodia, where a democratic historical project continues to be repressed by current political regimes. As such, I situate the artists’ works beyond their predominant readings as signs of trauma, instead emphasizing the ways in which the artists have contributed to, and expanded, understandings of conceptual art in the context of Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Accepted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis. Available at:
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History of Art and Archaeology
Regional Centres and Institutes > Centre of South East Asian Studies
ISSN: 17496772
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2016 12:48

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