Kong Siden, the well-known artist and interior designer, has unveiled his first solo exhibition, Moments in Light, an exploration of the changing urbanscapes and landscapes of Cambodia.
The exhibition introduces a series of digital works, including a light box, dynamic video projections, and immersive video installations that blur the boundaries between reality and illusion.
Moments in Light serves as a captivating journey through the artist’s memories of Cambodia’s evolving urbanscapes and landscapes.
Siden ingeniously employs digital technology to compress and transform hundreds of photographs and videos captured between 2018 and 2023 into collages of experiential illuminated colours and textures.
“I wanted to show the change in the city from the past few years to the present, focusing on my memory,” Siden explained.
His vision is brought to life through video projections that move and evolve over time, inviting viewers to experience the gradual transformation of the city.
Siden, born in 1997 in Phnom Penh, is an artist renowned for his ability to bridge the gap between physical and emotional connections in changing physical spaces.
His work encompasses various media, including photography, video, installation, light, and sound. Siden’s educational background includes graduating in interior design from Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts, as well as contemporary art courses at Sa Sa Art Projects.
The exhibition welcomes visitors with the centrepiece, a light box also titled Moments in Light. At its core, a silhouette of a tree emerges over a large circle.
Upon closer inspection, layers of recognisable mini-pictures of natural and man-made environments superimpose one another, creating a tapestry of distorted colours.
The juxtaposition of the central circular form and the rotated images evokes a thought-provoking relationship between nature and human-built structures.
As visitors navigate the exhibition space, they encounter a wide array of multimedia installations. Seven flashlights, two video projectors, two TV projections, one light box, and a video projector with sand and glass installations grace the venue.
“Each variation of the show has a different look, with some of the work highlighting the true nature of the forest landscape through the gradual changes until it disappears,” said Siden, who has earned such accolades such as the Dogma Prize in Ho Chi Minh City in 2023, the Treeline Grant in Siem Reap in 2020, and the Java Creative Generation 3 Award in Phnom Penh in 2020.
“For example, some videos show an abstract landscape, gradually merging to create an image of a reconstructed building,” he added.
His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Creative Generation: Worlds Unknown Art Festival in 2022 and the Photo Phnom Penh Festival in 2018.
Phantasm, a mound of sand covered with shattered pieces of glass and mirror, reflects video projections from the ceiling, casting scattered light shapes across the walls and ceiling.
Siden’s photographs and videos transform into fragmented light, creating an immersive kaleidoscope of visual experiences.
“I project a video by flashing light on those explosive packages, scattering light all over the space, showing the meaning of building something that could affect the environment,” Siden told The Post.
One of the most intriguing pieces, Gleam Light, takes the form of a floating projected video disk. It appears as an ever-changing-coloured planetary object or microscopic organism, morphing in harmony with an electronic soundtrack.
This work blurs the boundaries between the macro- and micro-universe, offering viewers a continuously evolving visual narrative.
The exhibition culminates with Light in the Wilderness, a massive projection that immerses visitors in a breathtaking visual journey.
Starting with an image reminiscent of his light box work, it gradually disintegrates, turning visitors’ bodies into dancing pixels collaged with the projection.
Siden’s Moments in Light invites visitors to explore the intersection of reality and illusion, motion and stillness, and visual perception and bodily experience.
His innovative use of technology and his profound connection to Cambodia’s evolving landscape make this exhibition a must-see for art enthusiasts and those interested in the ever-changing nature of our world.
Visiting this exhibition does not mean guests must fully understand the feelings that the artist wants to show. Siden claimed that visitors can simply enjoy the beautiful lights, especially the light boxes that highlight images of trees, buildings and other found documentary film footage which he has compiled since 2018.
“A western guest might see broken glass in a piece as a bad omen for his life, which could cost him seven years,” he said.
“But some spectators see it as a beautiful light shining on the wall,” he added.
Moments in Light is an exhibition that truly captures the essence of Kong Siden’s creative spirit and his unique perspective on the evolving landscape of Cambodia.
The highly anticipated exhibition opened its doors on September 14 and will run until November 30 at Sa Sa Art Projects.