Night Building (2009) / Kong Vollak



Kong Vollak (b. 1983; Phnom Penh, Cambodia) teaches drawing and Khmer art history in a high school at Svay Rieng Province and earns about US$30 a month to support his practice as a multi-disciplinary artist.

In Night Building (2009), Kong addresses the urbanization process that has come to Phnom Penh. The first few skyscrapers are being constructed across the city and Kong is ambivalent. In his wishful way, the artist hopes that the skyscrapers will be built surrounding the city centre, so that the history of Phnom Penh can be preserved “inside” the city.

Aesthetically, the artist aims to combine his knowledge of drawing and photography in Night Building. Taking the tourist boat by the RoyalPalace at night, he photographed the flight of the insects around the lamps on the boat. The patterns allude to human form. After printing the images, he scraped away the print using a nail to create drawings of skyscrapers. The work is not about today’s Phnom Penh. It is about Phnom Penh of the future.

[Untitled / From ‘Night Building’ / Courtesy of Kong Vollak]