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MoMARS (Museum of Modern Mars) at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014
by Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong
Location: Booth 1C40, Art Basel Hong Kong, HKCEC, Hong Kong
Artist(s): Kesang LAMDARK
Date: 15 May - 18 May 2014

For the second edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, Rossi & Rossi will present a series of recent works by Tibetan artist Kesang Lamdark. Entitled MoMARS (Museum of Modern Mars), the show will feature melted plastic thangkas, sculptures and lightbox installations that comment on the ever-increasing oppression of Tibetan people and culture.

At first glance, Lamdark’s brightly coloured and kitschy works belie their sombre focus. Fire is a prominent theme that unites the pieces, highlighting an increasing concern for the subjugation of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Numerous works directly reference the sharp increase in self-immolations by Tibetans since 2009. Fireproof Suit Over Palden Choetso (2013) is the artist’s symbolic attempt to offer a protective covering to a nun from Tawu County in the Kardze Tibetan Anonymous Prefecture in Sichuan, PRC, who set herself on fire in 2011. Shortly after her death, video footage of her self-immolation and subsequent protests at her funeral emerged on the Internet, quickly drawing the world’s attention to the brutal desperation of Tibetans living in China.

Lamdark’s works also express his anxieties about the future. His choice of medium—PVC and plastics, materials that do not degrade easily—attests to his desire to create works that last longer than our own bodies. The title of the show, MoMARS (Museum of Modern Mars), a play on the name of the famous New York City art museum, alludes to the distant future, when a colony on Mars could possibly become a reality. How will Tibet be viewed in this future? Perhaps in the MoMARS, Lamdark’s works will hang, just as vibrant and as colourful as today, as artefacts from a violent and brutal past.

About the artist:

Kesang Lamdark was born in Dharamsala, India, in 1963. He grew up in Switzerland, where he apprenticed and worked as an interior architect, and went on to study art at Parsons The New School for Design in New York; he eventually obtained an MA in visual art at Columbia University. Wherever he lived, the artist always felt like an outsider. His search for an appropriate cultural space ultimately turned inwards, and he came to understand and reconnect with his heritage while living in the West. In embracing his displaced, multicultural upbringing, he has discovered a wide-ranging personal energy.

-Rossi & Rossi

Image: © Kesang Lamdark
Courtesy of the artist and Rossi & Rossi

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