Khun Gechsoun (Kek soon)
Limited Edition Woodcut Prints
Khun Gechsoun’s latest series of woodcut prints is a stunning exploration of the image of Ruan Lingyu, the goddess of the silent screen in the 1930s whose incredible acting ability and tragic death led her to becoming an icon of Chinese cinema, and what it means to contemplate her life while looking back on 1930’s Chinese culture today.
Like many of the characters she played, Ruan Lingyu came from humble beginnings and had perpetual romantic trouble. When her complicated personal life became the fodder for press, she took an overdose of sleeping pills on March 8, 1935, leaving behind a note that read, “Gossip is a fearful thing.” She was only 24.
Ruan’s funeral procession was over three miles long and three women were reportedly so distraught over her death that they committed suicide. The funeral even ended up on the front page of the New York Times who called it “the most spectacular funeral of the century.”
House of Ruin – an improvised music trio featuring double bassist Dan Davies, drummer Clint Larson and J.M. Poulson on guitar – perform live to a cinematic screening of The Goddess at One Eleven Gallery on the first day of the Lunar New Year on 5th February.
EXHIBITION: 1 – 7 February 2019
MEET THE ARTIST: 6PM, Wednesday, 5 February 2019
© Khun Gechsoun
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Khun Gechsoun (aka Soon) was born in Kampot Province in 1986. Having lost her father when she was five years old, she was raised by her single mother who was often away collecting seaweed as a source of income. Her early years were of poverty and hardship. From a young age, Soon took on jobs such as washing fishing boats and collecting bamboo in the jungles to support her siblings.
After almost a decade in Malaysia working as a domestic maid, Soon returned to rebuild her life in Kampot by first becoming a waitress and then manager of a popular local café where she met her partner, musician/artist Julien Poulson. Soon assisted Julien in setting up KAMA (Kampot Arts & Music Association) and have since collaborated on producing the hugely popular Kampot Readers & Writers Festival.
Not limiting herself just to her artistic talents, Soon also runs enriching cuisine and culture tours of Kampot. A refined expert in the kitchen, Soon has recently been engaged by Christopher Mark of the highly respected Hong Kong-based Black Sheep Hospitality Group. Combining her art of storytelling, culinary knowledge and hosting skills, Soon and Black Sheep Restaurants are truly a perfect pairing.
Largely a self-taught Artist, Soon has learned from, hosted and worked collaboratively with a number of well-known international artists including Australian painter Helen Hopcroft, Borneo printmaker Rico Leong (both who supplied Soon with her first set of printmaking tools), renowned Australian book illustrator Sally Heinrich and a number of street and pop artists including Guatemalan Erick Gonzalez, and her partner Julien Poulson.
Influenced by the naïve style of pagoda painters, Khmer fable illustrators and tattoo artists, Soon also appreciates the work of revered painter Ken Svay and Kampot based British cartoonist Nicholas Grey. International artists who have influenced Soon’s work include Australian painter Helen Hopcroft (who created a large mural at KAMA), Frida Kahlo, Picasso, early 20th Century Chinese woodcut art movement and even Robert Crumb.