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27.01.2009

 

Walsh Gallery, Chicago : Von Kommanivanh presents *You Are Ugly*

The unjust categorizations of a xenophobic society, omnipresent chaos, and the extinction of beauty and humanity on individual and collective levels are just a few calamities of the 21st Century which occupy artist Von Kommanivanh. His intention to promote an active awareness of contemporary issues is mirrored in the paintings and installations. These very aspects of his work are reflected in his solo exhibition, “You Are Ugly”, which opens January 30, at the Walsh Gallery. The show will close on March 21 2009.

The raw elements of Von Kommanivanh’s earlier paintings and drawings have been integrated into this new body of work. A stunning palette of intense colours is paired with graffiti-inspired animal and human figures in the painting “All Hoods”. This large-scale piece reflects a critique of the ugly socio-political reality and increasing material and moral poverty in contemporary American society. Similarly, the suspended installation “Un Man Airplane” addresses issues of power on one side, misery and powerlessness on the other. As Von Kommanivanh says, “I’m always striving for balance while I explore the forces of good and evil, yin and yang. I’d like to stimulate the viewer’s frame of mind. I want to create a reality in which the viewer can live in a point of time where being poor does not equal irrelevance.”

He is one of those exceptional artists who dares to transcend the world of the establishment, to go beyond what is said in the media and to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought. His painting “W” describes a person who was believed to be the best to run the world’s most powerful country. Symbols of hate, horror, death, and false angelic benevolence are adorning and surrounding the figure that menacingly gestures on the blood-red background.

The painting “Obama”, with its serenity rendered on a blue background, stands as an antithesis to the intensity of “W”. The eyes of the subject evoke present-day desolation, but also hope and the chance to change the status quo in the near future.

Von Kommanivanh’s personal life journey is poetically incorporated in his paintings. His cartoon-like imagery sparks the viewer’s imagination and contemplation of our emotional and vulnerable side. His embrace of tattoo and graffiti art has allowed him the freedom to express emotions through these media while preserving the humour in portraying people and situations.

Laos-native, Von Kommanivanh lives in Chicago. He is a self-taught artist whose work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Walsh Gallery in Chicago (USA). “You Are Ugly” is Von Kommanivanh’s second individual exhibition at the Walsh Gallery.

WALSH GALLERY
118 N. Peoria St., 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
312 829 3312
Tue - Sat 10:30 - 5:30
www.walshgallery.com

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WALSH GALLERY : VON KOMMANIVANH

WALSH GALLERY : VON KOMMANIVANH