Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s sacred city

I caught Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s sacred city at the ACM just before it ended 22 July and found it fascinated.

As a French person whose visited Angkor several times over the past 15 years and who now lives in Asia in Singapore it was utterly interesting to understand how the “re”-discovery of Angkor by French colonialists portrayed an exotic Asia and represented illustrations of manicured temples in harmony with nature… when the first photography from 1866 and 1873 expeditions show that half of the temples were destroyed or taken over by the jungle. It was also funny to see the reproductions of pagodas or temples (mis-mash of Ta Prom and the Bayon and/or Angkor Wat at the International Exhibitions in Paris and Marseille). I don’t blame the architects who produced them. Can you imagine the gap between everyday people living in Europe and explorers traveling to Asia without today’s aviation system? Any mean to make this distant Asian country accessible to the largest audience was probably the only way.

I really liked the technics used to show some bas-relief to the French public with plasters or some paint on wet sheets to showcase life during the Khmer civilisation at its peak. 150 years later these are artifacts of pieces of Angkor that have now disappeared and I’m thankful that somehow we have a record of it given that Angkor is a UNESCO Heritage site.