Phnom Penh

10 October – 3 November 2019

10 October 2019, 6 pm Exhibition Opening

Today we will open the exhibition Folding Concrete!

The team of artistic directors of Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism will give a short introduction to the overall project.

Guests from Jakarta and Singapore will be present too, and give previews to the SEAM Spaces in their cities.

Please come and join!


#122E4, Alley lane behind St 107 (Sok Hok), Orussey 4, Phnom Penh
contact: 092 624 284
see map

11 October - 3 November 2019 Exhibition

The exhibition primarily considers the period of post-independence during the 1950s-70s, yet also extends its view back to the prior late colonial period and forward to the present time.

While architecture and urbanism are the main focus, intersections with the fields of art and visual culture are also shed light on. Drawing from archival materials, research projects, and artworks, the exhibition presents a rich texture of architectural and cultural language that shapes and is effected by Cambodian modernism.

Participating artists and projects for the exhibition:

Chhum Phanith
Humans of Phnom Penh
Loeung Sakona
Obayashi Corporation archive
Pen Sereypagna & Genealogy of Bassac
Poum Measbandol
Prak Dalin
Roung Kon Project
Sopheap Pich
Stéphane Janin
The Vann Molyvann Project
Vuth Lyno


Cambodia Film Commission
Jessica Austin
Masaaki Iwamoto

Further contributions:

The exhibition will also give a preview to the SEAM Spaces Jakarta, Yangon and Singapore exhibitions.

Ressource corner:

A ressource corner will present archival materials, personal collections, books and magazines.


#122E4, Alley lane behind St 107 (Sok Hok), Orussey 4, Phnom Penh
contact: 092 624 284
see map

The exhibition will be open from 11 October 2019 to 3 November 2019.

Opening hours:

Wednesday to Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday to Sunday 10am – 7pm

11 October - 3 November 2019 Lab

The lab will focus on archiving and documenting modernist architecture in Phnom Penh that has been overlooked or has already disappeared. In addition to documenting these buildings, the lab will work with a technologist to explore new ways of creating online archives.

The lab will be run by the Vann Molyvann Project and collaborators.

Working hours:

Monday to Friday from 9am – 6pm


#122E4, Alley lane behind St 107 (Sok Hok), Orussey 4, Phnom Penh
contact: 092 624 284
see map

12 October 2019, 2 pm Talk
Reflecting on Phnom Penh’s Urban Changes Through Modern Architecture

by Pen Sereypagna, architect, urbanist, director of the Vann Molyvann Project

This talk examines two distinguished projects, Olympic National Sports Complex and Bassac Riverfront Project, in Sangkum Reastr Niyum era that reflect both ideas of Cambodian modern movement and urban changes in Phnom Penh from the 1960s until present. Olympic National Sports Complex was designed by the prominent Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann and considered as the interpretation of Angkor Wat temple. Inaugurated in 1964, the sports complex hosted a number of historical events such as GANEFO Games and the visit of French President Charles de Gaulle in 1966, military parades in Khmer Rouge regime, and cultural spectacles. In connection with the sports complex, Bassac Riverfront project was designed as Sihanouk’s cultural precinct to showcase Cambodian modern culture and Sangkum Reastr Niyum’s achievements. It was the first experimental urban development project dedicated to modern living and cultural infrastructures. An international team of architects, urbanists, and engineers was brought in to assist Lu Ban Hap and Vann Molyvann, including Gerald Hanning, Vladimir Bodiansky, Robert Hansberger, Gyoji Banshoya, and Nobuo Goto.

Lu Ban Hap – A Cambodian Architect

by Moritz Henning, architect and independent researcher, Berlin

After returning from his studies in Paris in 1959, Lu Ban Hap was appointed Head of the Housing and Town Planning Department of the Municipality of Phnom Penh and founded his own architectural firm. Although he became one of the busiest architects of the New Khmer Architecture movement, little is known about his work, and many of his buildings have been demolished in recent years, such as the iconic White Building, others are expected to be demolished soon. The lecture gives an insight into the work and the exciting life of Lu Ban Hap.


in English and Khmer


Exhibition venue
#122E4, Alley lane behind St 107 (Sok Hok), Orussey 4, Phnom Penh

13 October 2019, 9 am Architecture Tour
Free guided tour

23 people max
booking at: 089 821 712

Meeting point:

in front of the Post Office, 8:50am, see map

Tour covers:

– Post Office area
– religious temples including the Chinese Grand Temple and the abandoned Sisters of Providence Church
– the Institute of Foreign Languages in partnership with Khmer Architecture Tours

19 October 2019, 2 pm Film screening: La Joie de Vivre
La Joie de Vivre (The Joy of Living)

Directed by Norodom Sihanouk
65min, 1968
Khmer version with French subtitles

Police captain Siporak and inspector Sam Baun raid the gambling place at Kirirom owned by Prince Chantavong. This gambling place is disguised as an orchid flower shop. As soon as Prince Chantavong is detained in jail, his wife, princess Sulpra spends her time having fun with her husband’s nephew, and later with a wealthy hotelier. Prince Chantavong discovers everything after he is released from jail. But he still forgives his wife and starts a new life.

Screening at:

Bophana Audiovisual Research Center, #64, St 200
see map

26 October 2019, 2 pm Film screening: The Burnt Theatre
New Land Broken Road

Directed by Neang Kavich
15 min, 2018
Khmer version with English subtitle

Phnom Penh at night. Three young hip-hop dancers drive a single motorbike and stop on a muddy deserted road. Nick leaves the others to look for an iPhone he heard was lost in the area. Piseth and Thy discuss their hopes and doubts, and Piseth shows his best Michael Jackson moves. They meet Leakhena, a young female street vendor whose cart is full of colors.

The Burnt Theater

Directed by Rithy Panh
83 min, 2005
Khmer version with English subtitles

While much of Cambodia’s cultural heritage was eradicated through the deaths of many artists during the Khmer Rouge era, the Preah Suramarit NationalTheatre remained standing throughout the Cambodian Civil War. Ironically,it was while the theatre was undergoing repairs in 1994 that it caught fire, was heavily damaged and has never been restored.

The Burnt Theatre is a 2005 French-Cambodian docudrama directed and co-written by Rithy Panh. A blend of fact and fiction, based on the actual lives of the actors, the film depicts a troupe of actors and dancers struggling to practise their art in the burned-out shell of Cambodia’s former national theatre, the Preah Suramarit National Theatre in Phnom Penh.

The Burnt Theatre premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival as an official selection in the out-of-competition main programme, and has been screened at several other film festivals.

Screening at:

Bophana Audiovisual Research Center, #64, St 200
see map

2 November 2019, 6 pm Talk
Exhibiting the Contested Modern in Post-independence Cambodia

by Vuth Lyno, artist, curator and artistic director of Sa Sa Art Projects
in Khmer with English translation

This talk discusses various competing narratives of exhibiting modernity during Cambodia’s post-independence including the 1955 International Exposition of Phnom Penh, the American Festival 1956-57, and the display at the Exhibition Hall of Phnom Penh’s Bassac River Front during the 1960s. While Cambodia was seeking to position itself as an independent, modern state and a member of the international community, it also had to maneuver the contending cultural influences of the Cold War between the “Free World” and the Soviet bloc.


Dambaul #18E3, Sothearos Blvd.
see map

Folding Concrete

Cambodian modernism through various disciplines was already manifest during the late French colonial period – either through the colonial power or with the negotiation of Cambodian counterparts – such as in customary practices, education, literature, art and architecture. There was an insistence on departing from the previous or traditional frameworks of thinking and cultural language, into innovating new forms and expressions that were reflective of the conditions and realities of the time.

Folding Concrete presents some interwoven narratives of modernism in Cambodia through architecture and urbanism and their social and cultural histories.

Drawing from archival materials, research projects, and artworks, an exhibition presents a rich texture of architectural and cultural language that shapes and is effected by Cambodian modernism.

A series of public programmes, including talks, a tour, a workshop lab, and film screenings is also organised during the exhibition period to expand the conversation.

Curators: Sereypagna Pen and Lyno Vuth
Curatorial assistant: Many Sin

In partnership with:
Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center
Khmer Architecture Tours
Vann Molyvann Project

Updates and further information you can also find on Folding Concrete’s facebook page.