Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers
5 3/8 x 8 3/4 in, acrylic on paper,
Collage and paint on journal book
169 pages (not including the cover)
The entire book is priced at $1500
Images can be scanned, photoshopped, and enlarged into prints
For exhibition purposes. It can be reworked into a larger installation or artwork, copied and collaged to fill an entire wall. A collector has the book at his or her disposal.
Painted over a span of ten years, The Book of Numbers is part of the first trilogy (that includes The Book of Love and The Book of Names) that Chath started to paint simultaneously in 2006.
The three books were exhibited by Java Gallery in 2018.
The Book of Numbers consists of 169 pages, not including the cover. It is painted on an actual journal book gifted to him as blanks. Chath collaged and painted it into his daily visuals, alluding to the lives of people and the natural world as expandable numbers.
Here, Chath explores his own insignificance to the larger universe. He explores the cruelty and destruction of man. The numbers are stained with blood. He returns to Cambodia in an attempt to count losses and to reconstruct the war-torn nation into the relevance of his own contemporary life. He finds torture prisons, killing fields, killing caves, bones, and skulls covering the map of Cambodia. He sees the wounds and scars on the living and walking, breathing, and talking flesh. Capitalism now runs by a hoard of oligarchs, generals that cut down the forest to get rich. The prime minister is a strong man who sells his country to foreign investors so as to benefit his own immediate family and sycophants. The return of pre-Khmer Rouge is blatantly clear. The inequity and injustice, rich and powerful over poor. What the Khmer Rouge had tried to eliminate returned ten folds as strong. The landscape of his childhood, his birthplace is severely scarred. The hopeful young born after the Khmer Rouge are bustling for their own survival, gravitating to globalism, opening themselves up for further exploitation. The poor working class of Cambodia is on an economic limb. There are corruption and bribery. A culture of violence remains steered by a tyrant, suppressing the freedom so guaranteed by a democratic process. The election is rigged
multiple times in favor of one man. He has ruled for the last forty years. Numbers float like dust particles that people breathe into their lungs. They plan and think of ways to buy and sell. They sell their children into prostitution. They sell their souls to live for another day. The impoverished are no longer self-sufficient. The breaking down of a helping system has gone awry. Everything is up for grabs. As the capital grows, so does the gap between rich and powerful and the poor and powerless.
The Book of Numbers keeps count. It’s a record of a kind. A visual reminder of our invisibility on planet earth. No matter how hard we try, we can’t escape tyranny and oppression. We can’t reduce suffering to a level we all can live with. We can do it, but it takes a very, very long time. By then, the destruction and self-annihilation of the few greedy people would have already done
so much damage to reverse course.
Enter The Book of Numbers. Count the blaze. Count the beats of tyranny. One to a hundred, where are you in line? Are you a possible subtraction or an addition? Are you clonable to double the digit on Wall Street? Which country in the world will stand to lose the most?
One, two, three, go!