Best of Art

The di­ver­sity and beauty of Asian art is as wide as the oceans sep­a­rat­ing the East from the West. Here are some of the most in­trigu­ing art pieces our team has cel­e­brated through the years

Asian Geographic - - CONTENTS -

The di­ver­sity and beauty of Asian art is as wide as the oceans sep­a­rat­ing the East from the West. Here are some of the most in­trigu­ing art pieces our team has cel­e­brated through the years

Re­vis­ited

No.65 Is­sue 4/2009

Ti­tle

In­sights into the Hu­man Soul

The mor­bid oeu­vre from pho­tog­ra­pher and artist ex­traor­di­naire, Do­minic Rouse, is not for the faint-hearted. It takes strength to con­front the deep­est abyss of man’s quin­tes­sence

Text

Lu­nita S V Men­doza

Pho­tos

Brooks Jensen Brooks Jensen – ex­cep­tional artist, visual ar­chi­tect and au­ral in­sti­ga­tor – com­ments that Do­minic Rouse would be the first to ad­mit that his use of the cam­era and the dark­room are unusual. “Rouse does not pho­to­graph the world,” Jensen muses. “He makes pho­to­graphs of his mind.” In Rouse’s The Philoso­pher’s Tomb, pro­found is­sues and chal­leng­ing ques­tions abound. It is as com­plex as his pas­sion, uniquely com­bin­ing pho­tog­ra­phy and fine art. Here, de­scrip­tion fails and provo­ca­tion be­gins. Per­haps the more recog­nised of Rouse’s com­plex com­po­si­tions and an ex­am­ple of the re­fined mas­tery of his unique craft is Ecce Homo. This creation comes from, in Rouse’s own words, “the most chill­ing place I’ve ever been in”. Fea­tur­ing a de­cay­ing fig­ure, it is an image in­spired in part by Rouse’s vis­its to Cam­bo­dia and the S-21 Mu­seum in par­tic­u­lar, the site of the Kh­mer Rouge’s prin­ci­pal in­ter­ro­ga­tion fa­cil­ity in Ph­nom Penh. On the 15th of April this year, 30 years af­ter the Kh­mer Rouge, a court in Cam­bo­dia tried the man, Pol Pot, who headed this fa­cil­ity for “crimes against hu­man­ity”, a phrase Rouse de­fines as some­thing that is “loudly trum­peted when­ever the Western Hypocrisie­s wish to visit their in­vid­i­ous sense of jus­tice on oth­ers.” “It is not pos­si­ble for an in­di­vid­ual hu­man be­ing to com­mit crimes against hu­man­ity. For crimes against hu­man­ity to oc­cur, whole so­ci­eties must be con­verted to the crim­i­nal cause,” Rouse adds. His pas­sion for truth trails the oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq and Afghanista­n by Amer­i­can and Bri­tish sol­diers, where ev­i­dence of grue­some tac­tics can be found by those pre­pared to look for them. “None­the­less, we can be sure that no Bri­tish or Amer­i­can soldier will be found guilty of any crime, not for a lack of guilt or the ev­i­dence of it but be­cause jus­tice on this planet is the per­verse play­thing of the vic­to­ri­ous.” In the be­gin­ning, I asked Rouse what ex­actly he was try­ing to por­tray in Ecce Homo’s hu­man pu­tre­fac­tion. “Do you still need to ask why Ecce Homo gives you a sense of de­cay?” the dis­cov­erer en­quires. Ob­vi­ously not any­more, I say to my­self. ”It is,” Rouse starts again, “a por­trait of hu­man­ity and our en­dur­ing lack of it.” Words to pon­der over. As Phil Coulter belts out his ev­er­green tune of be­ing just an­other writer, still trapped within his truth, Rouse’s own truth comes to mind. “Through­out hu­man his­tory, art has been as­so­ci­ated with man’s search for truth and beauty,” says Rouse. “But I am more in­ter­ested in ex­pos­ing the fal­lacy that is truth and I strongly sus­pect that beauty can be mea­sured in de­grees of de­ceit; the greater the beauty, the greater the de­ceit. Per­haps my images could be de­scribed as hav­ing the po­ten­tial for truth as they are in­ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tions of reality.” But why so glum, chum? “Those who know me would tell you, I feel sure, that I do not suf­fer from un­hap­pi­ness any more than the next man, though I do be­lieve that the ded­i­cated pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is in it­self a form of sad­ness,” Rouse con­cludes.

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