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Metaestetica Lab bridges the eras through artistic experimentation

Metaestetica Lab founder Carlo Santoro (right) looks at a piece from the exhibition on September 25. The exhibition offers fresh perspectives on contemporary art in Cambodia. HONG RAKSMEY
Metaestetica Lab founder Carlo Santoro (right) looks at a piece from the exhibition on September 25. The exhibition offers fresh perspectives on contemporary art in Cambodia. HONG RAKSMEY

Metaestetica Lab bridges the eras through artistic experimentation

In the cutting edge setting of Metaestetica Lab@Museum, a blend of the past and present takes shape. (Visions) on the Future at the “laboratory of artistic experimentation” offer fresh perspectives on contemporary art in Cambodia.

Metaestetica Lab welcomes visitors daily from 10am to 11pm to explore these visionary artworks.

An old wooden window, originally light blue and gently weathered, now graces the gallery wall, transformed into a contemporary masterpiece. This window, framed as an artistic statement, sparks imagination and invites viewers on a journey through time. It serves as a canvas for reflection, echoing the words of prominent Cambodian artist Suos Sodavy during the event A-N-T-O-P-I-A Phnom Penh 2023 at Seekers, curated by Metaestetica Lab and Meta House: When you look out the window, you can see the world.

A-N-T-O-P-I-A Phnom Penh is an innovative participatory installation and performance proposed by Metaestetica Lab founder Carlo Santoro. In this living artwork, the past and present converge, offering a unique vantage point to contemplate the ever-changing world beyond its weathered frame.

Metaestetica Lab aims to become the sole contemporary art museum in Phnom Penh. The visionary behind the Metaestetica multidisciplinary research laboratory, it resides within a compact 10sqm space in the Cambodian-German Cultural Centre, commonly known as Meta House.

Its existence is supported by the Italian-Cambodian Business Association (ICBA).

“Metaestetica Lab@Museum is a socially grounded space that will temporarily inhabit Metaestetica Lab, inviting engagement in a conversation on the meaning and significance of art and culture in relation to lived life and digital experiences in our diverse contemporary societies,” Santoro said.

The space facilitates research, knowledge sharing, workshops, and visual presentations through various media, including videos, prints, installations, and fine art displayed in participatory, immersive events and live performances.

On the left side of the entrance, a captivating painting by Cambodian artist Tor Vutha, originally known as Prisoner when exhibited at the French Institute of Cambodia in 2013, catches the eye.

This 150x150cm acrylic work depicts a face contorted in anguish, seemingly releasing years of pent-up pain and anger. Renamed The Scream, it transcends its original context, becoming a powerful statement on personal suffering and resilience.

Chhim Sothy’s artwork, Impact, serves as a poignant reflection on Cambodia’s journey through the 21st century. Emerging from the aftermath of the civil war, Cambodia remains marked by social conflicts. Sothy’s mixed media collage, measuring 102x102cm and belonging to the artist’s personal collection, masterfully weaves together layers of stories, forming a tapestry of narratives, representing a web of experiences and emotions.

Notably, a pair of cowboy blue jeans emerges as a symbol of the artist’s personal connection to the evolving urban landscape.

(Visions) On the Future, located at Meta House Phnom Penh, #48 Street 228, showcases an impressive array of works by talented artists including Sodavy, Sothy, Vutha, Santoro, Ernst Altmann, Gregory Gosselin, , Khun Vannak, Vuth Lyno, Lim Sokchanlina, Robit Pen, Yen Entearak, and many others who participated in the A-N-T-O-P-I-A Phnom Penh event.


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