KHMER FEMINITUDE IN FOCUS – Christian Develter


Bronwyn Burns
Arts Lounge Curator
22 January 2007

KHMER FEMINITUDE IN FOCUS
The Arts Lounge at The Hôtel de la Paix, Siem Reap, features “Khmer
Feminitude”, a solo exhibition by Christian Develter from February 14th
until April 15th 2007.

As he continues to explore the aesthetic mystery of Asian culture,
Bangkok-based Belgian artist Christian Develter presents his latest series
of paintings at The Arts Lounge, a hip gallery bar in the hub of Siem Reap’s
up-’n-bustling town. Inspired by Christian’s impressions and experiences of
Cambodia over the past ten years, the “Khmer Feminitude” collection is a
tribute to the grace and elegance of Cambodian women both traditional and
contemporary.

In each painting, from his interpretation of the deity Apsara, to the
highlight of the exhibit, H.M. Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearireath, Christian’s
brush conveys a sense of festive celebration with an indulgence in colour
distinctive of his style. Though his flamboyant use of colour and costume
may tempt one to define Christian’s works as pop-art and leave it at that,
his works are far from random flights of fancy. Christian’s appreciation of
colour nuance is a calculated one, giving his canvas a depth that is at once
playfully sensuous yet simultaneously contemplative with a resonant respect
for his subjects.

“A lot of contemporary art tends towards expressing the difficulties of
life,” says Christian, “I enjoy portraying a sense of optimism and beauty,
and this is so inherent in Asia with its emphasis on make-up, colour and
costume.” His technique of balancing hues, combined with his simple
uncluttered use of shape and form, encapsulates the coy confidence Asian
women have for all time intrigued and mystified the western world.

Christian’s fascination with the ambiguities of Asian culture has become the
focal point of his artistic expression over the past twelve years. He has
exhibited extensively in Thailand and Belgium as well as in China and India.
“Khmer Feminitude” is his first exhibit in Cambodia and the opening will be
held on Wednesday, February 14th from 7 – 9pm. The Arts Lounge, located in
the hip-chic Hôtel de la Paix, is open to the public from 10am till late.

The Arts Lounge not only supports the Cambodian art scene but also promotes
a borderless exchange of ideas, encouraging expression of thought from both
international and local sources. This interactive gallery space revolves
exhibitions bi-monthly, showcasing original artworks and performances that
connect visitors to a unique experience of Khmer culture.

Hôtel de la Paix is operated by Bed Management Company, Bangkok, which is
recognized as a creative and successful developer of independent boutique
hotels and destination restaurants and bars in Southeast Asia. In Siem Reap,
Bed Management also operates a hospitality training institute at the 18-room
sister hotel, The Shinta Mani.

For media information on current and upcoming exhibitions at the Arts Lounge
please contact Bronwyn at bbu...@hoteldelapaixangkor.com. For reservations
contact: b...@hoteldelapaixangkor.com

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