ARTIST EM RIEM
With Phnom Penh enjoying a new sense of wealth, a Cambodian art scene is slowly emerging with artists and gallery owners exhibiting promising young artists.
Riem was born in 1977 in a small village in Cambodia, and left Phnom Penh at the age of 15. He studied in France at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Saint Etienne and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. In 2008 he opened the Gallery X Em Design, in Phnom Penh where he exhibits incredible Khmer Rattan furniture with a modern twist, paintings, and sculptures.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
My own culture, the past of the Khmer people, and above all the present life of my people, so poor and so dignified.
Contemporary art . I specially admire Bacon, Balthus, Freud.
Most interesting response or reaction to your work so far?
I often change my style of painting for every new series that I work on. I love my eclecticism and for me style is just an avatar of my state of mind, my world view in one short moment of my life. The reaction from the public is often negative...They feel that I betray them by changing.
Favorite websites or publications?
A French magazine titled Art Press
Most interesting work you have done?
A series of portraits of the victims of the Khmer Rouge using canvas support and black acrylic. Very realistic portraits very dense and strong. I put all my heart into this, but the most interesting work is always the one which is coming. As a designer, I am very proud to take part in a project launched by WWF in order to promote the design of the traditional Khmer rattan production.
Other artists you admire?
I recently traveled to Spain and in Madrid I had the incredible opportunity to see the works from the classic period such as Zurbaran, Murillo... Absolutely marvelous. You see, I am very ecclectic in who I admire as well!
Anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
There is not enough importance put towards the art world. We must live with passion for art. There is more truth in art than in politics. More dignity and greatness, too.