Open Sesame



Opening reception: 19:30 Friday April 10, 2015

Exhibition date: April 11 – May 23, 2015


Featured participant: Gabi Dao

Curated by Sung Pil Yoon


Wood all around. No lifts but always someone eager to take your bags. Not much space, but just enough — quaint. Quite stunning actually. Good AC. A bit of a journey into town where all the shops and pubs are (if that’s what you like), some local restaurants are within walking distance. The wood that is everywhere makes it feel like it’s something out of the old time travel writers like Maugham or Greene, although I’m not too sure if either of them had ever travelled here.

(excerpt from a review on TripAdvisor)


SPARE ROOM presents Open Sesame, reflections on the fictive possibilities of various historical narratives, in particular around Angkor Wat, one of the oldest temple monuments in the world located in Cambodia.

The sculptures follow traditional modes of concentric design that are sampled into present-day normalcy through the use of everyday materials (LED lights, framing lumber and gelatin), in order to transfer the historically monumental imageries of the temple into the bounds of the uncanny. The transformation undergone by these historical monuments through international preservation efforts and the hospitality industry render these cultural remnants into a highly profitable and lucrative modes of economy.

A narration is written collaboratively with Linton Murphy — spoken verbosely with deliberate exotification of its history indulging in the inspirational fantasies and facts of David Attenborough, National Geographic, BBC’s Human Planet series, tourist traps, Tomb Raider, and various conspiracy theories surrounding the psychic properties of megalithic structures. [UPDATE: narration can be heard here]

Through this externalization of relics, artifacts and monuments, Open Sesame attempts to devise a parallel discourse indulging in the colourful mythology and its surviving rhetoric of old-world aesthetics.