Major Project: Pavilion of the naked-Claus Carstensen

Pavillion of the naked is a solo Exhibition by Danish artist Claus Carstensen. Carlstensen is one of the two western contemporary artists I am investigating who have created art in direct relation to the Khmer Rouge atrocities.

The Exhibition website has an interview with he artist unfortunately it is not in English as I would have been very interested to hear his own interpretations of the events. There is however a quote from the artist.

“All revolutionary situations must be about annulling time in one great now. A form of permanent presence as a freedom from death and representation, and representation here should be understood as the ability to re-present or as a repeated presence as in a dammed past repeated presence, to which there is tied a certain work of memory and mourning”

Carstensen seems to be implying that as an artist there are no limits in time or history to the ability to represent or re-represent an idea or statement. In other words he uses the historic Khmer Rouge atrocity to show the present day viewer what has and therefore could still happen and showing that what happened in Cambodia then is most certainly still relevant today.

I find this helpful as I wonder how my own view of the events are relevant today. I have mentioned in the past that I use the Khmer Rouge atrocities not only as a reminder of what happened in Cambodia but also what can and is happening all over the world.

The following Pictures resonated with me especially due to their similarity to some of the defaced pictures I had taken myself in the S-21 prison. Carlstensen used spray paint to deface old pictures of rural Cambodian life, before Pol Pot designated his ‘Year One’ to begin the cleansing the cities of their habitants. The photographs taken by myself showed the old leaders of the Khmer Rouge, their images scratched away and graffiti drawn over them in Khmer possibly by one of the many school children who visit the site daily,  a generation now far too young to directly remember.

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