ARTURO LUZBlack Temples, Orange Sky (detail), 2012, acrylic on canvas, 61 × 91.4 cm. Courtesy the artist and Manila Contemporary, Manila. 

Always Be Searching

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No matter where you live, exhibition openings in the final months of the year come thick and fast. One meets the same old faces in familiar surroundings, catching up on gossip from the off-season, enjoying the work of established artists, rarely venturing into fresh territory. As the season begins, however, this issue of ArtAsiaPacific focuses on much that is new.

Features spotlights two pioneering figures who are increasingly coming to the attention of the wider world. Arturo Luz, now in his 80s, has been a key figure in the art scene of the Philippines for almost six decades. Speaking with Manila desk editor Marlyne Sahakian, Luz reveals how his practice is inspired by his love of travel, and reflects on his time as a gallerist and founding director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the former Museum of Philippine Art at a pivotal period for the emergence of modernism in the country. Similarly, Shooshie Sulaiman, born in 1973, has long been at the cutting edge of conceptual art in Malaysia, mixing the personal and historical in installations, books and performance. Singapore-based curator Melanie Pocock investigates a hitherto unexplored aspect of Shooshie’s diverse practices—her invention of alternative locations for association, engagement and transaction, which critique current notions of the public sphere and of the art space in the process.

Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres—an independent Beijing-based curator who practices Chinese ink painting—concludes her two-part exploration of today’s renewed interest in this traditional medium in China, which is taking minimalist, sculptural and digital forms.

Finally, in 20/20, AAP’s yearlong project to mark the magazine’s 20th anniversary, contributors look back at projects that mark significant moments in the practice of individual artists. We hear from Russell Storer, Queensland Art Gallery’s head of Asian and Pacific art, about Simryn Gill’s photographic series “A Small Town at the Turn of the Century” (1999–2000), which depicts residents of her hometown in Malaysia. Curator Alexandra MacGilp revisits Lida Abdul’s performative videos made in 2005–06 following her return to her native Afghanistan. Speaking with editor-at-large HG Masters in Istanbul, Hale Tenger recounts the creation of her installation Where the Winds Rest (2007), a haunting meditation on Turkey’s long-suppressed history of political violence. And finally, longtime AAP contributor Maymanah Farhat reflects on the groundswell of interest in poet and painter Etel Adnan, which arose following a 2010 exhibition of her landscape-abstractions in Beirut.

In Profiles, Chinese photography duo Birdhead celebrate their nomination for the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award, chatting with AAP contributing editor Michael Young in a smoky Shanghai bar. Susan Acret, who was editor of AAP from 1997 to 2001, catches up with the Sydney-based, Pakistan-born miniaturist Khadim Ali, who employs Persian mythology to explore both his own past and that of the Hazara people. In the studio of young Hong Kong artist Kong Chun Hei, assistant editor Sylvia Tsai enjoys his meticulously crafted drawings, while Catherine Milner escapes from the whirl of the Istanbul Biennial to meet Tansa Mermerci Ekşioğlu, the co-founder of SPOT Contemporary Art Projects and one of Turkey’s leading collectors.

In Essays, contributing editor Chin-Chin Yap outlines the legal, ethical and artistic implications of DNA analysis raised in the work of the New York-based information artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg. Writing from New Zealand, Andrew Clifford wonders whether the recent trilogy of exhibitions in Wellington derived from the Moving on Asia video archive tells New Zealand more about Asia, or vice-versa, while Dubai-based critic Kevin Jones takes a close look at the implications of “Possible and Imaginary Lives” (2012), the prize-winning exhibition-cum-photobook by artists Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Rozenn Quéré.

For Where I Work, Singapore desk editor Ho Rui An visits the London studio of Korean sculptor Do-Ho Suh, renowned for his shimmering fabric installations. The calm, ordered space reveals the artist’s predilection for model-making and also hints that he has come to terms with a lifestyle of frequent displacement.

Our Dispatch takes us to Yangon, where the vibrant art scene is expanding rapidly, yet faces challenges that range from the city’s conservative institutions to the escalating tensions in Myanmar’s border regions. In One on One, Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich reveals a longstanding admiration for Nhek Dim, the country’s leading painter in the 1960s and 1970s, while for The Point, curator David Elliott defends the vital importance of the public institution today in the valuing, rather than merely pricing, of art.

Rounding out the issue, Enrique Liberman explores the susceptibility of the art market to money laundering in Fine Print, and we finish with an exuberant sketch from the notebook of the Yogyakarta-based sculptor Entang Wiharso. In both geographical scope and range of subject matter, in this issue of AAP we hope that even the most ardent seekers of new territories will find their cravings satisfied.