Imagining Cambodian Cinema, A Multi-Media Exhibition at Rosewood Phnom Penh's Art Gallery

January 22, 2019

The Art Gallery of Rosewood Phnom Penh presents a multi-media exhibition “Imagining Cambodian Cinema” -- an ode to Cambodian cinema, past and present -- from January 16 to March 31, 2019. The exhibition spotlights less-considered yet essential elements that enable cinema, such as cinema architecture, film posters and their graphic design, and developments in technology.

Cinema architecture is presented in three unique contributions. Local architectural and research collectives Roung Kon Project and Vann Molyvann Project bring together archival images and maps, which provide insight into the architectural design and landscape of cinemas and their social and cultural importance across Cambodia, especially during Cambodia’s independence era between 1953-1970 during former King Norodom Sihanouk’s reign.

The collectives also display modern ruins through select physical remnants of former Capitol cinemas.  Artist Roeun Sokhom complements the collective’s archival materials with a series of intricate watercolor paintings drawn from archival images, which document famous cinemas across Cambodia.  While at times Sokhorn’s embellishments bring life to the cinema façade, other compositions contain empty spaces symbolic of the impermanence of modernist cinema architecture in light of rapid development.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on the graphic design of film posters from different eras, both in paint and print. It honors elder sign painter Moeun Chhay (1952-2018), whose early career in the 1960s was dedicated to large-scale painting on canvas advertising Cambodian films screening in his hometown of Battambang. Chhay’s exhibited painting, Twelve Sisters, advertises the celebrated film directed by legendary Cambodian filmmaker Ly Bun Yim. This undated painting-in-progress reveals and remembers the hand-drawn, gridded technique in representational painting before print technologies came to dominate. Also focusing on sign painting is younger generation artist Kun Sotha who exhibits a series of bold, textual and brightly colorful acrylic paintings that reference the design tendencies of 1960s Cambodian film poster design.

The artist, with the help of Cambodian film research collective Preah Sorya Group, created the compositions and colors using rare collections of cinema lobby cards. The exhibition turns towards today’s graphic design with the work of film collective and company Anti-Archive, leaders in Cambodia’s independent film movement. Exhibited for the first time is a selection of its sophisticated poster designs, signed by actors and directors, representing its prolific productions, while showing the design sensibilities of their generation.

Audiences can also discover a range of recording and viewing technologies, from early film reels and apparatus contributed by Bophana Center to Anti-Archive’s slick teasers and trailers played in high definition on a flat screen.  Other highlights include fashionable garments worn in modern, celebrated films and examples of books and programs showing Cambodia’s enthusiasm for film.

“By bringing together and celebrating images of cinema in different forms and across different generations, audiences have the opportunity to learn and be inspired by numerous souvenirs of the moving images they represent,” says Erin Gleeson, Rosewood Phnom Penh’s art gallery curator.

About Rosewood Phnom Penh

Rosewood Phnom Penh presents an ultra-luxury hospitality experience in the Cambodian capital. The hotel is located on the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower in the central business district, with unobstructed views of the city and the fabled Mekong River from its position within the tallest building in the capital.  Rosewood Phnom Penh embraces the A Sense of Place® philosophy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® and reflects the location’s history, culture and sensibilities. It features 175 rooms and suites; five restaurants and lounges, including Sora, a sky bar on a cantilevered terrace; Sense, A Rosewood Spa; a fitness center; a 20-meter indoor lap swimming pool; and meeting facilities that include The Pavilion residential-style meeting and function space.  For more information or reservations, please contact your travel professional, the hotel directly at or telephone +855 239 36 888.


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