GA TALK 016 “Festivity and Contemporaneity: worldly affinities in Southeast Asian art” by David Teh (curator)

Performance by Jian Jun Xi at Tha Pae Gate, 'Second Week of Cooperative Suffering', Chiang Mai, 1996. Photo courtesy Uthit Atimana.

GLOBAL ART TALK 016 “Festivity and Contemporaneity: worldly affinities in Southeast Asian art”
by David Teh(Independent Curator and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore)

What is the place of the festival in contemporary art, and in its history? Can today’s biennial and triennial surveys even be considered festivals? What becomes of community and locality, of spontaneity and participation, as the lesser-known fringes of contemporary art’s sprawling geography are tidied up by a ‘global’ market, and growing institutional appetites for a ‘global’ art history? This talk stems from my recent research on artist-initiated festivals held in Southeast Asia during the 1980s and 90s. These gatherings show that while national representation was the usual ticket to participation on a global circuit, the currency of national representation wasn’t an essential determinant of contemporaneity; and that it was localism, rather than any internationalism, that defined the affinities discovered amongst Southeast Asian artists at the time. The sites of this becoming contemporary were mostly festive, sites of celebration rather than ‘work’ as such. What does this mean for the study of contemporary art, and how might it change our understanding of this region’s art in its current global context?
- David Teh

About the Talk

Time/Date:19:00-20:30 2019.6.8 Sat
Venue:Lecture Room 3, Campus Plaza Kyoto
Address: 939, Higashishiokoji-cho, Nishinotoin-dori, Shiokoji kudaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Access: Take JR or Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Subway Karasuma Line and get off at ‘Kyoto Station’.
Admission:Free (Booking required)
Seating Capacity:100
*English>Japanese consecutive translation available

Organized by: Kyoto University of Art and Design, Graduate School of Art and Design Studies / Higashiyama Artists Placement Service(HAPS)

download the flyer

About the Speaker

David Teh is a curator and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, specialising in Southeast Asian contemporary art. His curatorial efforts have included Unreal Asia (55. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, 2009), Video Vortex #7 (Yogyakarta, 2011), TRANSMISSION (Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, 2014), Misfits: Pages from a Loose-leaf Modernity (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2017) and Returns (12th Gwangju Biennale, 2018). David’s writings have appeared in journals including Third Text, ARTMargins, Afterall and Artforum. His book Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary was published in 2017 by the MIT Press and he recently completed a multi-authored volume, Artist-to-Artist:Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992-98 (co-edited with David Morris) for Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series.


For Booking and Inquiries:(
*Please send 1.Name, 2.Number of participants, 3.Phone number or email address, 4.Occupation (for student, please note the school name./for KUAD student, add the student ID)


Connecting Kyoto and the World through Contemporary Art

The environment surrounding contemporary art has become vastly more complex over the past few decades. Faced with this situation, it is no easy task for artists to find a way to be active at a global level. Naturally, it is virtually impossible to get a firm grasp on the art scenes that are being produced concurrently all over the world. In particular, in neighboring Asian countries that are seeing rapid economic growth and modernization, there are more opportunities than ever before to show one’s work, taking into account the new art museums and art fairs that are being established, and the flourishing numbers of international exhibitions. Although global attention focused on this region has increased, the situation is quite different in Japan, where there is a general sense that the work of developing art-related institutions has been finished. However, it is precisely this state of affairs that has led to a renewed questioning of how global networks are constructed, a reconsideration of how institutionalization works, and the role of artists in society.
In Kyoto, art schools produce a large number of new artists each year. But what kinds of connections might one discover today between this center of traditional Japanese culture and the world of contemporary art that has grown ever more complex in this way? “Global Art Talk,” presented by HAPS and Kyoto University of Art and Design, is a program where internationally active artists, curators, collectors, researchers, and gallerists, among others, are invited, and, through a series of dialogues, strives to provide a global perspective as well as deepen understanding. (Until last year it ran under the title of “ULTRA x HAPS.”)

The “GLOBAL ART TALK” is part of the Resident Curator Program of the Higashiyama Artist Placement Service (HAPS), which seeks to provide support to young emerging artists.

The Kyoto University of Art and Design is dedicated to establishing an institution that will foster artists from Kyoto who aim to work in the contemporary art world at a global level.


Lee Wen, Journey of a Yellow Man performance at Thammasat University, Bangkok, 15 October 1993 as part of 'Sense Yellow.' Photo: Koh Nguang How, courtesy Koh Nguang How.

Cover and last page, Wai art zine #2, 1996. Courtesy Thanom Chapakdee

Cover and last page, Wai art zine #2, 1996. Courtesy Thanom Chapakdee