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Behind the Works at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018: Historic Images of an Important Time for the Art World

Behind the Works at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018: Historic Images of an Important Time for the Art World

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 has now finished up. Here we’ll look back at some historic images illustrating what was behind the scenes of this important page of Thailand’s contemporary art world, which brought many world-class artists – Marina Abramović,  Yayoi Kusama, Choi Jeong Hwa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and many others – to exhibit at 20 landmark locations in Bangkok.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

This is Tape Bangkok 2018, or “Adhesive Tape Tunnel,” by Numen/For Use Collective Design. The artists had a foreign team work closely with the Thai team to teach installation methodology during setup on the 7 th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.


Zero, an 8.2-meter-tall installation art sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset, required skilled Thai workmen using a crane to lift it into position in front of the East Asiatic Building.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Our team found that three pieces especially grabbed the public eye at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The “mother goddess of polka dots,” Artist Yayoi Kusama, sent a foreign work team to closely supervise the highly complex installation of her pieces after their arrival from Japan. The FAVForward/Lifestyle website in the Amarin Group, which monitored the installation, said, “The 14 Pumpkin balloons took a lot of days to set up, with meticulous attention to every detail by the Japanese team. Setting up “Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons” wasn’t simple: it required stringing electric lines and constructing beams and internal
supports to get the pumpkins to float high above.

I Carry On Living With The Pumpkins (Silver Pumpkin and Red Pumpkin), two large and heavy works composed of inflexible pieces with lots of angles, had a hard time making it through the door. It took the staff a big chunk of time, and they told us that putting it all together was no easy thing.

Your Dog, the work of Yoshitomo Nara, another Japanese artist, at BAB Box @One Bangkok, was in a single piece and didn’t involve difficult transportation or setup. The installation team simply lifted the 4.5-meter puppy, and in the clip below you can see the setup procedure.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Turkish female artist Canan’s Animal Kingdom involved installation of dozens of animals, large and small, at BAB Box @ One Bangkok. This animal kingdom took up nearly 10 square meters and was as tall as the 2-storey building itself. Installation required a work team to build scaffolding to fit.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018The work 2562++, by Tay (Patipat Chaiwitesh), was exhibited at the East Asiatic Building. It’s full of fun, but that is blended with biting satire. The backstory here, Patipat tells us, is that the animals displayed here were all stuffed. He himself found them all in the market (not alive at that point, of course), and worked with lab experts at the Veterinary Department of Chiang Mai University to stuff them, preserving shapes and eliminating decay. After that procedure, Patipat left the lab and continued working on them in ways you can see in the video below.

BAB Box, Creative Space for Art Lovers

BAB Box, Creative Space for Art Lovers

Passing by a futuristic real estate development on Wireless Road named “One Bangkok,” you’ll notice three large art works on the grass lawn, and not far away a boxlike two-storey rectangular building tagged with the name “BAB Box.” We’re seriously suggesting you check it out.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Taliw /// Photography: Wara Suttiwan

A lot of folks know that BAB Box is one of the international contemporary art festival “Bangkok Art Biennale 2018” sites, and indeed it is. But you might not know that BAB Box is more than simply an exhibition space.

“…We’d like everyone to have the time, space, and interest to come experience this that we call ‘joyous, energetic art,’ or ‘beyond bliss.’ Easy enough to hear us say it, but maybe harder to actually do it.”

—Professor Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale

BAB Box is the command center for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. It’s a creative space for art lovers to stop by and swoon. It’s a place to meet, a tourist destination, and a location for amazing world-class art. Perhaps most important, BAB Box tells us Bangkok will continue to host of international contemporary festivals in the future. This last is true for at least two more events.

We were lucky enough to speak with Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, who told us, “Bangkok Art Biennale will be here at least three times: this one (2018-19), next year (2020), and again in 2022. Since this will involve continuity and long-term planning, I thought we should have a designated Bangkok Art Biennale location, and that’s how BAB Box came to be.”

After the first Bangkok Art Biennale showing pulls up stakes in February, art activities will continue: films, performances, workshops. This is to be a creative space, providing elements of knowledge to Bangkok communities. On looking around it became apparent that this was a perfect place to hold activities for artists and art lovers.

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Name: The Adventure of Sinxay, from the Hooptam Laos – Thai Group
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Name: L’enfer, c’est les autres (Hell is the others), by Natee Utarit

“So . . . what were the selection criteria for the art works shown at BAB, and BAB Box in particular?” Dr. Apinan replied, “Our theme is ‘Joyous Energy, the Power of Art,’ or more simply ‘Beyond Bliss.’ Here is just one of the 20 exhibition sites, but this one is special in that we created it specifically for this showing.

“The idea was to draw out famous Thai and foreign artists to present here. We set it up to international standards of temperature and humidity control, security, and numbers of visitors. We had long discussions about the art, and were looking especially for content dealing with history and diverse cultures coming into contact and interacting with each other.”

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Animal Kingdom; Artist CANAN
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Standing Structures for Human Use; Artist: Marina Abramović
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Inverso Mundus; Artist: AES+F

BAB Box is a two-storey building full of open space. The first story contains the work Animal Kingdom by the Turkish artist CANAN. Next to it is Happy Happy Project: Love Me Pig I, by Choi Jeong Hwa of Korea.

The second floor showings are from a diverse selection of artists, beginning with The Adventure of Sinxay, a painting by Hooptam Laos – Thai. Walking deeper in we find wooden columns and crystals, interactive installation art entitled Standing Structures for Human Use, by famous artist Marina Abramović, followed by a canvas oil painting from Thai artist Natee Utarit entitled Allegory of the End and Resistance, and a video piece projected on three large screens by the Russian collective AES+F called Inverso Mundus.

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Happy Happy Project: Breathing Flower, Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa
Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree, Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Your Dog, Artist: Yoshitomo Nara

BAB Box isn’t merely a gallery limited to showing art works, but also a creative space. We can enjoy hanging out at the BAB Café, to sit, rest, sip our favorite drinks, hand in hand with the charm of the surrounding art.

“We think of it as a space to relax and contemplate the art we’ve seen, Thai or foreign, and talk about it. It’s a coffee house! Maybe after exercising in the park you’ll stop by of an the evening and drink something. There’s even a roof deck, perfect for shooting the breeze,” said Dr. Apinan.

BAB Café is an open space design accessible from above, with tables, chairs, and sofas, set out to accommodate customers in a simple atmosphere whose charm comes from choice of materials, dark colors, and a design pleasantly compatible with the overall BAB Box ambiance. And there’s a nice, diverse food menu you’ll want to check out.

BAB Café

The food on the menu is enticing, starting with a Ham & Cheese Panini (185 baht), warm toasted bread stuffed with ham and cheese, delicious fresh vegetables on the side: simple, but pleasingly mellow. Or there’s a Smoked Salmon Croissant (215 baht): salmon is stuffed into a freshly baked croissant and served with French fries. Don’t ignore the Caesar Salad (155 baht), made up of fresh, fresh vegetables with a side of crispy fried bacon.

Drinks? BAB Café has a nice variety, starting with basic coffee, but on to innovative tastes such as Mintchee (135 baht), a blended drink mixing lychee with mint leaves for an incredibly refreshing and cooling taste. You might want to sip some Strawberry Soda (85 baht), colorful and sweet (with a hidden sour) from strawberry syrup and a splash of soda, topped with a fresh strawberry. And there’s lemon or lime tea (125 baht), known by all, favorite of many.

BAB BOX
• Address: One Bangkok, Wireless Road (MRT Lumphini)
• Time: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., closed Sunday
• FB: www.facebook.com/bkkartbiennale/

Bangkok Art Biennale is held between October 19, 2018 and February 3, 2019 at 20 locations in Bangkok.

Marina Abramovic, the Icon of Performance Art

Marina Abramovic, the Icon of Performance Art

Marina Abramovic, a New York-based pioneer of performance art, became the hottest news early 2018 when she announced what she intended to do for her upcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2020. No, it will have nothing to do with living in an art gallery for days, or sitting in a chair for hundreds of hours, or looking strangers in the eye like in 2010.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: (100 Picasa / 100 Letters: 1965-1979) Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photo credit: Photos courtesy of the artist and the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI)

 

It will be entirely something new, a performance art show that will see Marina Abramovic being charged with electricity, a lot of electricity. The project is a collaboration with the Spanish art fabrication company Factum Arte to make art specifically for her exhibition in London. It will involve as much as one million volts of static. For that, Abramovic will be the first woman artist to occupy the entire main gallery of the 250-year-old Royal Academy of Arts.

People who are unfamiliar with the artworks of Abramovic may softly ask if she is crazy. Of course, not. To help you understand her innovative ideas and what she stands for, our baanlaesuan.com team presents a glimpse into her life and work. Some of her groundbreaking masterpieces are exhibited along with those of 75 other artists as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The country’s inaugural art festival is going on now and runs until February 3, 2019.

Marina Abramovic was born in 1946 in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia back in the day when it was part of a federation of republics known as Yugoslavia. After World War II ended in 1945, vast swaths of Europe were reduced to ruins and life under communist revolutionary Josip Broz, a.k.a. Marshal Tito, was tough for its citizens. But Abramovic’s family was safe and sound, albeit a far cry from being a happy one. She could still recall that her parents had a terrible marriage during a 2013 interview. Her parents became national heroes and were given positions in the post-war Yugoslav government. Her father was a high-ranking official in the security apparatus that protected the Yugoslav dictator, while her mother was director and curator of an art museum in Belgrade.

Despite her mother’s strict military style control of the household and an unhappy childhood, Abramovic developed an early interest in art and began painting as a child. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1970 and went on to complete post-graduate studies in Zagreb (now capital of Croatia) in 1972. At age 27, she returned to Serbia and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts and began making art for her first solo performances.

Marina Abramovic, 100 Picasa / 100 Letters: 1965-1979, a compilation of letters she received while living in Belgrade. The book is on display at the Art Books Fair 2018 at Bangkok CityCity Gallery.

Abramovic became known for staging a work of performance art, called “Rhythm O”, at Studio Morra in Naples, western Italy in 1974. The exhibition involved Marina Abramovic standing still for six hours while the audiences were allowed to do anything they wished to her using one of 72 objects she had put on the table. They included, among other things, bread, roses, honey, nails, a scalpel, scissors, even a pistol with a single bullet in it.

Dubbed one of her most challenging events, Rhythm O was a show that tested the limits of the relationship between the performer and audience members. It began gently. But later on as the show turned ugly, one person picked up a gun and aimed at her head, and another person jumped in and took it away. At the end of the day, her body sustained a fair amount of injuries from being attacked and treated badly. No doubt it was an experience that pushed her body to the limits.

Here is a video clip in which the artist talked about Rhythm 0. (Warning: The images and content may be disturbing to individuals under age 18.) Check it out.

Unlike most communist countries in Eastern Europe, post-war Yugoslavia had a liberal travel policy permitting foreigners to travel freely through the country and its citizens to travel worldwide. On the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990, Serbia remained in federation with Montenegro until 2006 when they split and became two separate republics. Marina Abramovic left Belgrade forever in 1979 first for Amsterdam, and then New York.

“Relation in Time” 1979 by Marina Abramovic and Ulay, a durational show in which their hair was tied together for 16 hours. Photo credit: © Marina Abramovic and Ulay, courtesy Marina

Two years after Rhythm 0, Marina Abramovic staged another performance at a show called “Relation in Time”, at Studio G7 in Bologna, Italy. A part of the live exhibition involved Abramovic and then-partner Ulay sitting together back-to-back with their ponytail hair tied together in a 16-hour marathon. They sat silhouetted against a bare wall witnessed by the audience until the final hour. Like Abramovic, Ulay also developed an interest in pushing the human body to the limits.

“Rest Energy”, a 1980 performance art exhibition by Marina Abramovic and Ulay recorded in Amsterdam. Photo courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives

In 1980, Marina Abramovic and Ulay came up with another performance art show called “Rest Energy”. The show involved severe tests of endurance that pushed the human body to the limits, while exploring human bonds and human behavior at the same time. The 4-minute live exhibition placed Abramovic at the receiving end of an arrow while Ulay held the trigger. The crux of the matter was about the difference between life and death and mutual trust.

Albeit short-lived, collaborations between the two artist partners produced some of the most intriguing works of art that the world has ever known. But everything good finally came to an end. In 1988, “The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk” became their last joint project, in which they went on a long arduous journey from different locations and came to meet at one point on the Great Wall of China where they said goodbye.

Marina Abramovic on a long journey to the Great Wall of China, where she ended the relationship with then-partner Ulay. The work is titled, “The Lovers: the Great Wall Walk” 1988 (Photo credit: Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Courtesy Marina Abramovic and Sean Kelly Gallery New York)

Marina Abramovic became a sensation once again in 2010 with her groundbreaking durational work titled “The Artist Is Present” hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The artist gave live performances from March to May that year, during which she sat in silence at the table throughout the run of the show for a total of 736 hours. All day Abramovic would not respond to anything that the people did to distract her. Yet, museum visitors were willing to stand in line for hours awaiting their turn to sit solo across from her and look her in the eye. Once they grabbed a seat, the audience members could sit there as long as they wanted.

The Artist is Present (Photo credit: Marina Abramovic´: Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2010 Marco Anelli)

The Bangkok Art Biennale, which is happening now and runs until February 3, 2019, offers the opportunity of experiencing the amazing works of Marina Abramovic right here in Thailand. Her exhibits are on show at two separate events. First, the show titled “Standing Structures” provides a glimpse into the world of silent communication. It’s taking place at One Bangkok, a mega development project located on Rama 4 Road. “Method”, the other show that involved an experiment about being present in time and space, was held from October 8 to November 12, 2018, and presented by a team from the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI).

Audience members participate in “Standing Structures”, an experimental exhibition at One Bangkok on Rama 4 Road. It’s part of the Bangkok Art Biennale that runs until February 3, 2019
“Method” an experimental exhibition hosted by the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) took place from October 8 to Novemer 12, 2018 as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale.
Huang Yong Ping, a Voice of Rebellion, Conflict and the Diaspora at BAB 2018

Huang Yong Ping, a Voice of Rebellion, Conflict and the Diaspora at BAB 2018

Born in Xiamen, Fujian Province in 1954, avant-garde artist Huang Yong Ping is arguably one of the most influential Chinese artists to gain international notoriety. In the mid-1980’s he founded an art group called Xiamen Dada, which explored similarities between Dadaism, an artistic and literary movement that began in Switzerland around WW1, and the Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty. Huang is one of six must-see international artists exhibited at the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale, which is running until February 2019.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: Portrait of Huang Yong Ping (top) by courtesy of the artist

The journey of the 64-year-old artist is manifested in his works that engage visitors actively with new kinds of experiences. Like those of co-founders Zha Lixiong, Liu Yiling, Lin Chun and Jiao Yaoming, Huang’s masterpieces are known for being experimental, radical or unorthodox with respect to art, society and culture. Together they combine to form a powerful medium of expression that’s though provoking.

An installation titled “The History of Chinese Painting and A Concise History of Modern Painting Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes” 1987 (reconstructed 1993). Image courtesy of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2001. Photo: Kristopher McKay, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2017

At age 35, Huang Yong Ping made his world debut during the Magiciens de la Terra exhibition at the Pompidou Center, Paris in 1989. The year was notorious for student-led demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. His participation in the show was a sculptural installation titled “Two-Minute Wash Cycle”, which was made by machine washing two books for two minutes. At a glance, the work of art looked like a modest pile of paper pulp on top of a wooden crate. On close examination, it was the conceptualization of a cultural assimilation, a place where many different people and ideas mix together producing something new.

By machine washing, the two books (“The History of Chinese Painting” by Wang Bomin, and “A Concise History of Modern Painting” by Sir Herbert Read) were reduced to fine pieces blended to portray a single entity. The work was reconstructed in 1993 for a show at the Guggenheim Meuseum, New York. Since then, the Chinese-born, French contemporary artist has exhibited at various art scenes worldwide, including the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, the Red Brick Art Museum in China, the Ludwig Museum in Germany, and the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysees in Paris.

2017 was an eventful year for Huang Yong Ping. His exhibit “Theater of the World” (1993), along with controversial works by two other artists, were pulled from a major show hosted by the Guggenheim Museum after a public outcry. Theater of the World is a wood and metal enclosure designed to hold insects and the reptiles that feed on them. The work requires that fresh supplies of insects be added regularly as others are eaten. Like a gladiator arena in ancient Roman, the live installation provides grim insights to the negative effects that globalization is having on cultures in China.

A live installation titled “Theater of the World” (1993). Image courtesy of the artist © Huang Yong Ping.

During the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale, outstanding works by avant-garde artist Huang Yong Ping are on view at:

  1. The Bank of Thailand Learning Center

A large sculptural installation titled “Dragon Boat” is designed to tell stories of the diaspora of Chinese people from their homeland into Southeast Asia in times past. The 4.2-meter-long replica of a rowboat of ancient China is on show at the Bank of Thailand Learning Center until February 3, 2109. The artist likened the dispersion of Chinese people in the past century to his own experience after having migrated to France in the late-1980s.

“Dragon Boat” tells stories of the diaspora of Chinese people into Southeast Asia.
  1. Sala Misakawan at Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho)

Sala Misakawan, a pavilion inside Wat Phra Chetuphon, also Wat Pho, is known for beautiful Chinese architecture and many mural paintings. It’s home to “Zuo You He Che”, a sculptural installation by Chinese contemporary artist Huang Yong Ping. The exhibition, which runs until February 3, 2019, features a pair of imaginary creatures whose body consists of three parts; the head, leg, and foot. A product of Xiamen Dada-style imagination, one creature has a head shaped like that of a deer, while the other has a growth of hair on the neck. Both of them carry a rolled up scroll in their mouths as if they were sent on a mission to guard a sacred document. Its meaning is up for interpretation. Art is fun. Look for yourself so you don’t have to believe what someone is telling you.

“Zuo You He Che”, an imaginary beast installation by Huang Yong Ping

In the world of art, imagination is everything. There is more to the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale than Huang Yong Ping, Many leading artists from Thailand and abroad are taking part in the show that began on October 19, 2018 and will run until next February 3. The exhibits are on view at 20 different locations throughout Bangkok.

 

 

How Will This Work: “City of Art” Exhibits in Temples?

How Will This Work: “City of Art” Exhibits in Temples?

Without doubt art has origins in faith and belief: the earliest cave murals and sculptures indicate rituals relating to nearly all aspects of life, and many of these evolved into religions and faiths of various kinds. Art works since have played a great role in the transmission of belief and faith, to the point where, by inference, art works are expected to manifest a sort of religious expression.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, or BAB 2018 marks the first time a major world festival of contemporary art has graced Bangkok with its exhibits for an extended period of time. Featuring contemporary works of more than 70 both Thai and international artists, Bangkok is hosting Festival showings at 20 locations from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019.

Exhibition sites range from the financial district office buildings to local communities, and, most significantly, to Bangkok’s temples, a cultural heritage for which Thailand is famous throughout the world. It seems fitting, then, to give our friends at Living ASEAN a glimpse of some of BAB 2018’s most creative art that is on exhibit in some of our most beautiful temples. 

Phra Chetuphon Wimolmangkalaram Ratchaworawihan Temple

Here we bring you to your first stop, the exhibits at Phra Chetuphon Wimolmangkalaram Ratchaworawihan Temple, or “Wat Pho.” This was the official temple of the first king of the Chakri Dynasty, H.M. Rama I, and is world-renowned for its beauty and historical value. Most Thais and foreigners alike want to come at least once to experience its beauty.

First, some highlights of Wat Pho, the temple itself …

Temple of the Reclining Buddha / Wat Pho Reclining Buddha


The Temple of the Reclining Buddha was built in the era of Rama I, with its primary image of worship “Phra Phuttharoup Proht Surin Sathu,” known popularly as “the Reclining Buddha.” The sculpture is 46 meters long and 15 meters tall. Each of its feet is 1.5 meters wide and 5 meters long and is decorated in 108 spots with pearls and auspicious images.

The “Four Reign” Chedis

The base of each of The Four Reign Chedis has notched corners, and the chedi is identified with a glazed tile showing the name of one of the first four Siamese kings: “Phra Maha Chedi Si Sanphet Yadayan” (Chedi of Rama I), “Phra Maha Chedi Dilok Dhammakaroknitarn” (Rama II), “Phra Maha Chedi Munibat Borikhan,” (Rama III), and “Phra Maha Chedi Song Phra Srisuriyothai” (Rama IV).

Rishi (Hermit) Statues

Wat Pho, aside from its beauty and historical value, is associated with the remarkable traditional medical arts and wisdom that have been handed down as a national heritage since the Ayutthaya period. The Rishi Statues were placed there in the time of the first Chakri king to demonstrate traditional medical arts with figurines posed in more than 80 different attitudes, though at the moment only 24 of these remain.

Giants of Wat Pho

The Wat Pho Giants are another highlight of this world-famous temple, giant statues personifying characters from the Ramakien epic colored red and green, located at the entrance to the Phra Mondop scripture hall.

The 6 Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works shown at Wat Pho are as follows:

 

Paths of Faith (Thailand)
Artist: Jising Somboon

Paths of Faith is a collection of white robes with the word “Faith” in Thai, English, and Chinese on the back. These are hung for tourists to wear while visiting the Hall of the Reclining Buddha.

 

Zuo You He Che (China, France)
Artist: Huang Yong Ping

It is well known that most of Huang Yong Ping works involve stories based in Chinese culture, and Zuo You He Che is no exception. It is a sculpture of imaginary animals holding scrolls in their mouths signifying wisdom, faith, and healing, all paths to peace and contentment in Buddhist and Chinese philosophy.

 

Knowledge in your Hands, Eyes and Minds (Thailand)
Artist: Phaptawan Suwannakudt

Knowledge in your Hands, Eyes and Minds is a mixed media (picture, scent, sound) art work located in a monk’s hut at the Wat Pho crocodile pond. It speaks to relationships between various traditional branches of knowledge: medical, design, literary, authorship, herbal massage, astrology, and communication between monks and the dead and dealing with the world after death.

 

Sediments of Migration (Thailand)
Artist: Pannaphan Yodmanee

Sediments of Migration is a free-standing sculpture in one of the rock gardens, where it is paired with the Rishi statuettes healing their bodies in contorted poses. Sediments was inspired by murals within the temple itself, and depicts commercial travel between Siam and China with contrasting views of merit, faith and, ethnicity.

A Shadow of Giving (Thailand)
Artist: Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

A Shadow of Giving is an experimental sculpture inspired by two-dimensional murals in poorhouses. It symbolizes giving, unselfishness, and respect. For the artist, accuracy of scale and mathematical fundamentals are a path to happiness.

Tha Tien (Thailand)
Artist: Sakarin Krue-on

Tha Tien is a silent movie accompanied by music inspired by Somphot Saengdueanchai’s 1973 movie of the same name, whose plot involves a quarrel about nothing important at all between a giant and a warrior. The story takes place at Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and when the two are unable to come to agreement, the ensuing fight causes the Wat Pho pier area to collapse flat as a drumhead. (shown October 16 – 20 and November 22 – 24 2018 at Wat Pho and Wat Arun)

Wat Arun Ratchawararam

Crossing the Chao Phraya from the Tha Tien pier near Wat Pho we quickly arrive at Wat Arun Ratchawararam, more simply known as “Wat Jaeng” or “Wat Arun.” This temple is no less important than Wat Pho, but dates from the Ayutthaya Period. It was named “Wat Makok” before King Taksin gave it the name “Wat Jaeng” when expanding the grounds of the royal palace, bringing it inside – along others there – as a court temple. It underwent continual restoration after that until Rama IV made a major restoration and placed the ashes of Rama II at the Buddha image there, giving it the name “Wat Arun Ratchawararam.”

Important Highlights of Wat Arun are ….

The Central Prang of Wat Arun

The Central Prang of Wat Arun is a prime example of Thai sacred architecture. There is a main prang and four secondary ones, all of mortared brick adorned with seashells, glazed tiles, and beautiful Chinese benjarong designs, replete with representations of mythical figures such as kinaree, giants, angels, and garudas. The Central Prang of Wat Arun was also refurbished in the time of Rama II, when the Wat Arun Central Prang was raised from 16 to 81.85 meters, making it the highest in the world.

Wat Jaeng Giants

The Wat Jaeng Giants are among of Thai Buddhism’s most famous statues, no less than the Wat Pho Giants. The Wat Jaeng giants represent the giants Thotsakan (green) and Sahat Decha (white) from the Thai epic Ramakien, and shine in their glazed tile apparel as they stand guard before the entrance gate to the ordination hall.

The two Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works exhibited in Wat Arun are:

 

Across the Universe and Beyond (Thailand)
Artist: Sanitas Pradittasnee

Across the Universe and Beyond brings lost and forgotten principles to life again, as the designs of space and light call on visitors to look within themselves when they step into the area. This installation art piece is intended as a reminder in this moment of existence, impermanence, and emptiness, for us reflect on ourselves as simply particles in the vastness of the universe.

Giant Twins (Thailand)
Artist: Komkrit Tepthian

Inspired by the stone statures of ancient Chinese warriors and divinities, as well as people and animals China sent to Siam, the art work Giant Twins is a mixture of China and Siam. It recalls the legendary Siamese Twins Eng and Chang, as these two historical figures are transformed into the shape and form of giant warriors to symbolize Thai-Chinese relations.

Wat Prayurawongsawat

Near Wat Arun and Memorial Bridge is Wat Prayoonwongsawat, the last temple where we’ll bring you to view BAB 2018 art works. This temple was built as a royal monastery in 1828, during the reign of King Rama III, by Somdet Chao Phraya Borom Maha Prayurawongse, or “Dit Bunnag.” He gave it the name Prayurawongsawat, but it became known as Wat Rua Lek, “Temple with the Iron Fence.”

Important highlights of Wat Prayurawongsawat are….

Sacred Heart Buddha Temple

Sacred Heart Buddha Temple exemplifies Thai architectural work. At 16.99 meters wide and 20.19 meters long, its interior is split into 5 sanctuaries. Here cast Buddha images from the Sukhothai period are enshrined: an ancient image named “Naga Buddha,” is paired with “Phra Sri Sakyamuni,” which is also the principal Buddha image of Wat Suthat Thepwararam.

Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi

The Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi is 60.525 meters tall, with a base width of 162 meters and diameter of 50 meters. It was built by Dit Bunnag, completed during the reign of King Rama IV, and contains Buddha relics.

Khao Mo Park

Khao Mo Park, better known as Turtle Mountain, is a small artificial mountain built and surrounded by a pond in front of the temple. A stairway to the top takes you to a gilded, lacquered, brass cast stupa containing important Buddha images. The pond has many turtles of different varieties, hence the name “Khao Tao,” or “Turtle Mountain.”

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works shown in Wat Prayurawongsawat are altogether 6, being

Chat…Naa (Thailand)
Artist: Arnont Nongyao

This artist  has experience in the arts of sound and animation, so Chat…Naa (“the next life”) is a mixture of  installation art, experimental animation, and experimental sound performance art, all touching closely on the roles of people, materials, the environment, and society.

 

WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? (Thailand)
Artist: Nino Sarabutra

WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Is a scattering of more than 125,000 unglazed white ceramic skulls on a walkway surrounding the primary chedi of the temple, transforming it to a space that encourages visitors to think, “If today were the last day of my life, what good would I be leaving in this world?”

Zodiac Houses (Thailand)
Artist: Montien Boonma

Zodiac Houses is a set of sculptures in black gothic style, full of astrological symbolism, that Montien has created as a search for peace, rebirth, and communication with the world after death. It was constructed in the Buddhism instruction hall of the temple so as to face the instructor’s lectern, suggestive of communication with the dead and the world after death.

 

Sweet Boundary: In the Light Tube (Thailand)
Artist: Kamol Phaosavasdi

The installation art piece Sweet Boundary shown at Wat Prayurawongsawat has origins in historical research about the establishment of the temple and nearby areas. The iron fence here features a representation of sword, arrow, and spear. The actual fence was imported from England in the time of King Rama III in exchange for its equivalent weight in sugar. This piece harks back to the prime relationship between Thailand and China at a time when maritime trade could be held as a monopoly in the region; this was before the worldwide market glut in sugar and the arrival of Western nations on the scene.

Monuments of the Memory, the Golden Room (Italy)
Artist: Paolo Canevari

Monuments of the Memory, the Golden Room is a painting in shades of gold, but devoid of internal content, to symbolize sanctity, significance, memory, and prayer as they exist in both Buddhist and Christian religions. It is on display in the Temple’s religious instruction hall.

 

Turtle Religion (Thailand)
Artist: Krit Ngamsom

Turtle Religion is at Khao Mo, set by the pond, itself full of turtles and catfish. Here we find iron turtles carrying various objects on their backs that reflect the unity of religious beliefs and cultures which in the Khlong San area are so thoroughly mixed as to become one substance.

Altogether, including these three abovementioned temples, under the concept of “joyous, energetic art” the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 International Festival of Contemporary Art has exhibits at 20 landmark location in Bangkok landmarks on display until February 3, 2019.

A City of Art Takes Thailand by Storm With 6 Big Names: Experience It at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

A City of Art Takes Thailand by Storm With 6 Big Names: Experience It at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Don’t prejudge beauty: just look deep, seek the true inspiration at the center of a single art work, a particular piece that gives an extraordinary reflection of society, ideas, and culture, or perhaps may take you straight down into the depths of the human soul.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Nirin P. /// Photography: Wara Sutthiwan

If you have time, we hope you’ll use some of it each day visiting the Bangkok Biennale 2018 Art Festival, with exhibitions in urban settings and along the Chao Phraya riverside. Here we’re calling your attention to six artists whose work you should experience for guaranteed insights into the world we live in.

Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons / Yayoi Kusama
Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons / Yayoi Kusama 

Let’s start with “Auntie Polka Dot,” Yayoi Kusama, famous for her characteristic repetitive use of those quirky dots on all sorts of artistic media. Some of the beauty in Auntie Yayoi’s work comes out of her reflections on struggles for gender equality and women’s rights. She uses netting, pumpkins, and mirrors to show relationships, as you’ll see in the piece named Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons on display at Central World. There you’ll see 14 pumpkin-shaped balloons suspended, chandelier-like, from the ceiling, in an environment dominated by red polka dots.

Why pumpkins?

Everyone asks this question! In a Louisiana Channel interview, Auntie Yayoi answered, “I love pumpkins because of their funny shapes, sometimes even quite like human facial features, and they give me a warm feeling.” And the pumpkin shape has been a staple of her art since she her youth in the 1950’s: she’s always been attracted to materials whose natural forms had an unevenness to them, as well as showing repetitive patterns. Adding to her perception has been a neurological condition causing her to have double vision since age 10, which has actually contributed to her producing such world-class artistic work. Watching the dedicated performance of Auntie Yayoi’s Japanese work team, we were amazed at how no tiny detail escaped them. This involved not only inflating and hanging the colorful balloons, but creation of beams and internal supports, and stringing wiring, finally resulting in the spectacle of gorgeous pumpkins floating high above which you can see today.

Location: Floor G, Central World

Yayoi Kusama
“I Carry On Living With The Pumpkins” (Silver Pumpkin and Red Pumpkin)

Another two of Auntie Yayoi’s signature pumpkin works are on display at Siam Paragon, one a sculpture featuring silver dots in subtly detailed mosaic patterns reflecting various things hidden in them, and the other in the same area, a red pumpkin with black polka dots, called I Carry On Living With The Pumpkins, both definitely worth close-up observation.

Location:  Fashion Gallery 3, 1st Floor, Siam Paragon

Lost Dog
Lost Dog 

This title translates word for word between language, no room for misunderstanding. If you’re an animal lover and see a lost dog poster, what’s your first reaction? Naturally we feel sorry for both dog and owner and want them to find each other quickly. But more than that, imagine yourself in the dog’s place: scared, anxious, unfamiliar with everything. Aurèle Ricard’s Lost Dog may represent a person living in modern society, trying to find a path home in the confusion of today’s world. And Lost Dog is a reflection of life not only under problematic social conditions, but also afflicted by the continuous environmental deterioration and decay caused by limitless and increasing human consumption.

Lost Dog CO2 is a huge 3.8-meter tall dog sculpture made entirely from more than 1500 plants, mainly ferns and climbing vines, vegetation helping to reduce air pollutants. We are the lost dog’s owners: human beings who suffer from the pollution and confusion of the city. Although lost and stumbling around in the dark, by starting with ourselves we should be able to change the world, developing towards a good future for the young and the next generations.

Location: Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Choi Jeong Hwa

Choi Jeong Hwa

If you like balloons or animated 3-dimensional representations, you’ll like Choi Jeong Hwa’s work, as these sorts of things give life to his works. Abundant happiness is an ever-present theme which Choi likes to express by playing with space, large shapes, and sharp perspectives. Many of his works are best first seen from some distance. He makes use of unexpected materials, and takes great care to exhibit in locations where the art will have the greatest effect on viewers. One project he’s given us is

Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree 2017 and Flower 2016, at BAB Box @ One Bangkok, directly across from Lumpini Park: a giant flower whose motion simulates breathing, and a tree bursting with all manner of fruits. Choi says that he doesn’t have words to describe his works, that instead he feels he is creating openings for people to appreciate and interpret according to their own experiences. His personal favorite phrase is “Your heart is my art.”

Location: BAB Box @ One Bangkok

Driving, come just a little further down the road to Central Embassy for more Choi and more large pieces. Robot is a black, awesomely scary giant and The Joker is a huge golden crown that looks as if it’s been dropped there. We don’t know if there’s any relationship between these two, but it’s fun to strain the brain coming up with one. The black robot god can get up and lie back down as if fatigued from work. What’s he been up to? Use your imagination.

Location: Central Embassy

Standing Structures for Human Use (2017) / MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ 

Marina Abramović’s fascinating performance art, revealing intention through an interplay of the human body and spirit, is at the core of all the works that made her famous, one of which is Rhythm 10 (1973).

Rhythm 10, her first solo performance, features knife play. Spreading her hand wide, she slams the points of the knives (there are 20 of them!) rapidly in each in-between space, all the time recording the sounds. Then she plays the recording and repeats the process in synch with the recorded rhythm. Spooky, no?

Marina says she’s neither crazy nor has a death wish. Even if many of her works appear life-threatening, she is simply testing the extent of the body’s powers. She’s discovered it isn’t so much the body, but the mind that enables us to go beyond our limitations. For her, performing before an audience merely means pushing her own limits to be able to do things normally impossible.

The works she has brought to Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 are retrospectives of her installation art. Visitors to Standing Structures for Human Use (2017) participate in activities by responding to the structures. A person stands on one side and communicates with another through a crystal. Marina believes that if our minds are still enough, they can send energy to each other.

Location: BAB Box @ One Bangkok

Diluvium / Lee Bul

This work is eye-catching from the first moment, a futuristic installation art uses reflective silver-colored plastic panels built on a temporary framework of connected steel boxes covered over with reflective plastic sheets. The name Diluvium, known in a very wide circles, has a Latin root meaning “flood” or “gush to overflowing.” Artist Lee Bul says, “I’m always asking questions about mechanisms of the human body. This piece does that in a site-specific way: here we transform a large space into something completely different by playing with gravity. There’s no place here where visitors stand up naturally straight, so they have to find their own balance, which means the brain is forced into constantly controlling the body.”

Lee Bul’s BAB festival works are found in the East Asiatic building, a splendid example of Renaissance revival architecture. This makes for a perfect blend of history and fascination.

Location: East Asiatic Building

Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018 / Sara Favriau

Wood is valuable in all its forms; a tree has value, whether standing, cut into many forms, or even as wood chips, to get every possible use from it. Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018 is the name of a sculpture work by French artist Sara Favriau. Her remarkable strategies create installation art from teak, tembusu, and sandalwood to communicate a colonial flavor that reflects the exhibition building itself. But for the vision she brings to Bangkok, and how she makes use of wood materials in the tropics . . . ah, but yes! You must see this for yourself!

Location: East Asiatic Building

Beyond the 6 artists we’ve mentioned here, Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 offers countless works from many you have likely never seen, in a great number of locations across the city and along the river. The festival runs from October 19, 2018 through February 3, 2019 at 20 Bangkok venues.

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Manual for Art Viewing 101: the Professional Approach to Art Exhibitions
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ASEAN Art Plays Vital Social Media Roles

ASEAN Art Plays Vital Social Media Roles

The art of the ASEAN is shining with excitement at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Besides encouraging creative thinking through their works, artists from around the Region see their expressions as a tool to communicate their enthusiasm, raise their concerns, and get people to think about various social and environmental issues. Their thought-provoking visuals and other artistic designs reflect how art is playing a vital role within the community much like social media is used to connect with people and foster new ideas. Our Living ASEAN team has explored the works of visual art on display and filed this report. Check it out!

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Anupong Chaisukkasem, Singhanart Nakpongphun, Woradon Chansiri

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN for short, is a regional organization committed to promoting cooperation and facilitating economic and sociocultural integration among its ten member states, which include Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The ASEAN population is estimated at 635 million.

Country: Cambodia
Title: National Road No. 5
Artist: Lim Sokchanlina
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor

Lim Sokchanlina is a photographer and founder of the artist group “Stiev Selepak” that’s known for works in various disciplines ranging from photography to installation to performance art. His expressions often reflect with gloominess on socio-economic conditions in Cambodia. Worthy of attention is the work of visual art titled “Sa Sa Bassac Art Project”, which he recently exhibited at the Sydney Biennial, Australia. He also debuted his latest work titled “Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia from the 1980s to Now” at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2017.

“National Road No. 5”, his exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, tells stories of overwhelming distress after people’s homes have been torn down to make room for the development of a project along the Thai-Cambodian border. Timber that’s eroded by being exposed to the weather tells an unforgettable tale of heartbreak after people’s lives have been altered by the expansion process of a capitalist economy.

A sculptural installation titled “Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN) by Heri Dono. Press the button to get the message.
A sculptural installation titled “Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN) by Heri Dono.
A work of visual art titled “Flying Angels” on show at the East Asiatic Building
A work of visual art titled “Flying Angels” on show at the East Asiatic Building

Country: Indonesia
Titles: “Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN), and “Flying Angels”
Artist: Heri Dono
Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor; the East Asiatic Building; and the Hotel Peninsula

“Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN) is sculptural installation by Indonesian artist Heri Dono. Surprising in a way that’s unique to his artistic ability, the exhibit is appreciated for its beauty of non-verbal expression and strong emotional power. The human like sculptures showing the effect of mutation get their inspiration from Indonesia’s shadow puppetry known as Wayang. The sculptural works are made of a variety of objets trouves ranging from fiberglass and wood to electronic gadgets and electric fans. Art lovers can interact with the exhibits by pressing the button provided. Besides the mutants, Heri also debuts “Flying Angels” at the East Asiatic Building for the duration of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Meantime, another squadron of “Flying Angels” are on view at the Hotel Peninsula Bangkok.

Country: Myanmar
Title: The Check Point
Artist: Nge Lay
Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor

The Check Point by Myanmar artist Nge Lay sends a tactful reminder that says, “Everyone must come through that door.” It reflects a situation in which people experience a clash of opposing needs or wishes in daily living. A graduate of the Yangon University of Culture, the artist pursued a career in ornaments and accessories design until 2003 when she made the switch to live performance art and photography. Her works of visual art oftentimes touch on the perception of social and historical circumstances and the prospects of Myanmar’s politics. Since 2009, she has exhibited at various art scenes including the Singapore Biennale 2013 and the 8th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

The artist’s entry in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is a bloggable installation that calls attention to gender inequality. Through it, she deals with the subject of different treatment or perceptions of individuals due to their gender. The most important point at issue is whether it be good or bad, rich or poor, saint or sinner, everyone is born into the world through that door. Yet, the idea that men and women are not equal remains a major barrier to human development. Aptly named “The Check Point”, the installation tells their stories of what seems like the eternal conflict between the sexes. The artwork that resembles a woman’s outer garment consists of eight types of Longyi or sheets of cloth worn by people from various ethnic groups across Myanmar. As the artist puts it: “The work is a combination of different feelings, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, pride and sadness that comes with being a woman. I want to send a message that the door through which we are born into the world should not be regarded as unclean. Hence, the weaker sex should not be oppressed nor treated badly by people in power. A part from motherhood, they represent cultural values, the beauty of nature, and healthy pride in a country.”

Country: The Philippines
Title: The Settlement
Artist: Mark Justiniani
Venues: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 1st Floor

“The Settlement” is a small room that stretches into infinity. Its outer covering is made of timber and old galvanized sheets. Step into the world of Mark Justiniani, and you come before an amazing installation. The visual artist uses mirrors to create an illusion that shows smaller and smaller reflections that appear to recede into endless space and time. In so doing, Justiniani combines his artistic skill with a high degree of knowledge to relive an experience and feelings from the history of the Philippines. He gets his inspiration from stories of national heroes, such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and their struggle to free the island country form colonialism. Justiniani sees understanding of past events as a means to recuperate from unpleasant memories. Illusions come in handy to stimulate a passion for learning and happiness. For those wanting to escape from confused and noisy disturbances, “The Settlement” is a place to be. (Viewers are required to take off their shoes to enter the exhibit.)

Justiniani is among the artists who took part in social movements in the Philippines from the 1980s to the 1990s. Through the years he has earned affection and esteem for contributing to positive change. He won the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1994. Since then, he has exhibited at major art events worldwide, among them the Asia-Pacific Triennial, the Yokohama Triennial, the Asia Society in New York, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and the National Art Gallery of Singapore.
Country: Malaysia
Title: We die if we don’t dream.
Artist: Sherman Ong
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor

Winner of the 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, Malaysian artist Sherman Ong has worked in motion pictures and photography in Singapore. She is passionate about the circumstances affecting the relationships between humans and the environment as well as change that’s taking place in modern-day Southeast Asia. Sherman is widely known for her work titled “NUSANTARA: The seas will sing and the wind will carry us” that chronicles long journeys by sea through the Region from past to present. It tells stories in a non-verbal way of movement of people from one area to another as well as cultural assimilation that has come to characterize the social landscape. Over time, as people came in contact with one another, the individuals or groups of different ethnic heritage are absorbed into and become a part of the culture of a society. For the Bangkok Art Biennale, Sherman Ong debuts “We die if we don’t dream” (2018), a thought provoking exhibit about the experience, ideas, and memories of Afghan people in Malaysia.

The Adventure of Sinxay

Country: Laos
Title: The Adventure of Sinxay
Artists: The Thai-Lao Group Hooptam
Venue: BAB Box @ One Bangkok

“The Adventure of Sinxay” is a full-size wall painting in vivacious colors by the Thai-Lao group Hooptam. The painted picture is the result of a confluence of ideas between Songwit Pimpakun, Tanupon En-on, Home-Sawan Umansap of Thailand and two artists from the Lao PDR Tiane Vilayphonechith and Amphonesouk Phaysourine. The amazing work of visual art gets its inspiration from oral literary works about the basic goodness of mankind and courageous character. It tells a story in a powerfully irresistible way about a young man who goes on a long journey to rescue his relative abducted by a giant. Along the way, the story of imaginary persons and events makes reference to the basic teachings of the Buddha, the beliefs associated with the local people, and the mottos that guide them through pain and suffering. For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, the artist group gives a different interpretation to the classic story so as to fit in with modern-day circumstances. The leading character begins his journey from the Laotian capital Vientiane, crosses the Mekong River into Thailand, and soon heads for Bangkok. On the way, he confronts many obstacles, among them devils and evil spirits as well as an army of soldiers. Overall, it’s a confusing world dominated by technological advances and online social media.

 

Country: Vietnam
Title: Jrai Dew: A radicle room
Artist: Art Labor
Venue: O. P. Place, 3rd Floor

Artists from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam came together in 2012 in a bid to find ways of presenting their ideas through non-formal visual art forms. The result was a series of artistic expressions from a unique cultural point of view. The group consisted of artist Thao Nguyen Phan, curator Truong Cong Tung, and author Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran. Together, they experimented with new ideas that went beyond the limits and ventured out into unfamiliar territories. In the process, they discovered “Jrai Dew”, a belief traditional to an ethnic group called Jarai who inhabits remote areas in the highlands of central Vietnam. According to an explanation by Art Labor, the Jarai people believe that humans are an inextricable part of the cycle of nature, a process in which everything is continuously cycled in various forms of the environment. After death, everything begins again like tiny drops of water that form in the cold of night and evaporate when temperatures rise. Likewise, people and the forest in which they live go through a never-ending cycle of change. As the gems of morning disappear, they signal the opening of new opportunities for other things to grow. For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Art Labor debuts “Jrai Dew: A radicle room”, a unique installation that took three years in the making. It’s designed to communicate such a thought provoking idea from the highlands of central Vietnam to its audiences beyond borders.

 

Country: Singapore
Title: A Parade for the Paraders
Artist: Kray Chen
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor

“A Parade for the Paraders” is a triple-screen piece of video art by former members of the Singapore Military Marching Band. The musicians come together to play “Steamroller” in a lively and animated fashion that has made the soldier jogging song more interesting and exciting. The band members are seen without full dress regalia as they march past a deserted school. The relaxed and unconcerned parade may be an unfamiliar sight to see, but the music and the formation are a serious matter. Kray Chen, formerly a member of the marching band, explained that his video art presented a contrast between playfulness and serious performances. The real military marching band spent many hours practicing to achieve perfection before they could play as part of National Day Parades on August 9. His band did not. A harsh reality of life that few people knew was that military marching music was taken so seriously that under normal circumstances, its members weren’t even allowed to perform live in public.

Country: Thailand
Title: The Outlaw’s Flag
Artist: Jakkai Siributr
Venue: The Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), 7th Floor Ambulatory

“The Outlaw’s Flag” by Thai artist Jakkai Siribut is an installation that calls attention to the plight of the Rohingya refugees. Like a very exciting contest, the work of visual art consists of 15 flags that no one knows to what country or people they belong. The only known truth is that the humanitarian crisis caused by violence and discrimination in Myanmar has sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into neighboring countries. The imaginary flags on display send a message of hope for the future of the Rohingya and urge countries in the region to cooperate in a bid to end terror and suffering that the refugees are facing. The artist is regarded with respect and warm approval for drawing attention to pressing socio-political issues, most notably the challenges faced by the followers of Buddhism in Thailand. He sees the tendency to consider material possessions more important than spiritual values as having a detrimental effect on the Thai way of life. A versatile artist, Jakkai is skillful in using textiles, embroidery techniques, photography and video art in creating beautiful installations that get people to think about the problems that need to be dealt with. He has exhibited at various art destinations in America, Europe, and Asia, most notably the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore, and the Vebih Koc Foundation in Istanbul.

Manual for Art Viewing 101: the Professional Approach to Art Exhibitions

Manual for Art Viewing 101: the Professional Approach to Art Exhibitions

In earlier times, an “art work,” for the most part, simply reflected the ways of life and daily routines of human beings at the time. Stone age cave paintings tell us of the progression of early civilization from tribal animal hunts to creation of tools & utensils by shaping and carving done with the human knowledge and experimentation of that time.

Nowadays, though, art has become a reflection of the progress of the human mind and of creativity itself, distilled and filtered through experience, imagination, and the fashions of the time, to express personal insight and inspiration through visual arts, sculpture, painting, and even architecture. In bringing art works together for exhibition, care must be taken that each work, full of historical value, is experienced according to specific requirements and protocols so that it will not be harmed or deteriorate before its time.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Because these art works are so precious, we are offering Living ASEAN readers some guidelines for their proper viewing and study.

Refrain from taking pictures

Museums and art exhibition centers generally make it a priority to ask visitors not to take pictures. This is because some paintings and sculptures may have reactions to flash photography that cause premature deterioration of the pieces being photographed. Both cinnabar and yellow from lead chromate darken over long-term exposure to light. Realgar yellows may become fine powder incapable of restoration to their original condition. This is why many museums enforce standards for direction and intensity of light, and why museums are often darker than one might expect.

The use of photographic accessories such as tripods and selfie sticks can block people from easily walking around as well as diminish the aesthetics of other visitors’ viewing experience.

Refrain from touching materials on display

It is also important to avoid physical contact with exhibits. Many art works are labeled “Don’t touch,” or are protected by barriers, since some art works may react to human body temperature much as they do to light. Certain paintings may change color or retain fingerprints if touched, and direct touch can cause abrasion, scratching, or punctures from fingernails or palms, causing breaks, tears, disfigurement, or premature degrading. On the other side of things, though, some artists use art as a more direct means of communication, and give visitors the opportunity to interact freely with their works, so some art pieces actually may be touched! Just watch for a “Please touch” sign at the exhibit area.

Refrain from loud noises or running and playing within the building

Basic art show etiquette calls for limiting vocal communication. Museums and art exhibitions are common areas with large numbers of visitors, and loud noises or conversation can disturb others. Running or careless walking, as well, may cause collisions both with people and with exhibits. Many museums insist that children under 18 be under the close supervision of their parents or guardians at all times.

Refrain from bringing bags/gear into art exhibition areas

Many museums or art exhibitions forbid carrying personal bags into exhibition areas; this may include backpacks, suitcases, or large shopping bags, as they may annoy or block the path of other visitors, or cause damage to works on display. A suitcase on rollers can collide with a display, or a backpack strap can catch on one.

Refrain from smoking or eating at in exhibition areas

Smoking, eating, or drinking near exhibited art seriously risks damaging it, which is why many museums do not allow bringing food or liquids in, or even in outdoor exhibit areas. And simple good manners would obviously mandate not smoking in an exhibition area.

Keep an appropriate distance

Many art works need to be viewed in specific ways. Some large paintings need to be viewed from a certain distance to properly experience them. Besides giving consideration to not blocking the view of others, we need to be sure we get a full impression of the meaning the artist is communicating, which too much attention to a single point may make difficult.

 

Dress respectfully

Some museums have dress codes. If planning a visit to an art exhibition or museum, be sure to dress up to international standards: fully dressed, no open-toed shoes): this shows respect and is acceptable almost anywhere. This may depend on local traditions: for instance, museums in some countries require women to wear head coverings. In any case we should educate ourselves about such things before embarking on international travel to visit art exhibitions.

 

Always study the manual before attending an exhibition

Finally, before visiting an exhibition always read signs, announcements, or guides provided by the curator or institution: this will help you have a worry-free experience. Each location involves different customs and viewing rules, and studying and understanding these details aids us in developing a truly professional approach to the enjoyment of art.

The contemporary international art festival Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 had its formal opening last October 19th. This fair has reinvented our own Bangkok as a major art venue on a level with Venice, Berlin, Paris, and Singapore. Here, now, more than 75 famous domestic and foreign artists have showings at various important locations for us to enjoy what has been called “resplendent, energetic art,” as Bangkok itself becomes a prominent landmark in the contemporary art world.  From now until February 3rd, 2019.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, (BAB) is an art fair which will transform Bangkok into a city for art lovers. Famous artists from many corners of the world have brought their works here to be shown at 20 landmark sites.  (Download here)

Thanks for information provided by:
– Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
– Museum Siam
– National Palace Museum

Find a Place To Crash Between Visits to BAB: 5 Convenient Hotels with Super-Cool Designs

Find a Place To Crash Between Visits to BAB: 5 Convenient Hotels with Super-Cool Designs

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is an event that will for the first time transform metropolitan Bangkok into a world-class art destination. People coming from every corner of the globe to see the incredible art on display creates a need for world-class accommodations, so we’ve put together some suggestions. These are places with standout designs that will not only put you in the mood for each BAB visit, but facilitate convenient and comfortable travel for you and your friends to and from all the many venues.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Taliw /// Photography: Wara Suttiwan

Amdaeng Hotel

Amdaeng Hotel

Beside the Chao Phraya in the Khlong San neighborhood stands the remarkable Amdaeng Hotel, eye-catching for its vermilion color and charming architecture.

The hotel’s name came from the name “Amdaeng Li,” the name on a deed for the property from the time of Siam’s King Rama V. “Amdaeng” is a lofty honorific for ‘lady,” for a concept that extends to the hotel’s design as well as its name: a beautiful, glamorous lady.

Amdaeng Hotel Amdaeng Hotel

The Amdaeng Hotel has 10 rooms, with the style of each designed to reinforce the sense that this is, as they say, “the most romantic hotel in Bangkok.” It includes the NYE Café Restaurant, where we can partake of delicious cuisine and drink in the delightful Chao Phraya riverside ambience. The café interior is darker and relies less on the color red than inside the hotel proper. Here there’s also a roof deck where we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the evening atmosphere.

Amdaeng Hotel

Traveling to BAB:

The Amdaeng Hotel is convenient to BAB exhibition sites from the nearby Lhong 1919 pier, which offers ferry service to the Si Phraya Pier on the opposite side. From there visitors can hop on the Chao Phraya Express Boat and speed off to see world-class art works of their choice.

Chann Bangkok Noi

The name “Chann” comes from the Thai word for the porch deck of a traditional house, and wood is the hotel’s primary construction material, harking back to the houses of an earlier Thailand and filling the hotel with a contemporary version of that easy Thai charm to match its motto: “Simply at Ease.”

Chann Bangkok Noi

The lower floor of the two-storey Chann Bangkok Noi reflects an essential element of the traditional Thai home: the tai thun lower space which is home to a variety of activities and opens onto the Chao Phraya riverside atmosphere. The floor above is designed as four separate houses with an interconnecting porch deck.

Chann Bangkok Noi

But what will capture your heart here is the sense of peace along the riverside, the river seen through the natural light shining freely into open areas and the green of garden plants, bringing the feeling of being out in the countryside. The guest rooms retain that relaxed atmosphere, with high gabled roofs that make them feel open and airy, reminiscent of the simple charms of old Thailand.

Chann Bangkok Noi

Traveling to BAB:

It’s easy to get from Chann Bangkok Noi to the BAB Chao Phraya “Riverside Zone”:  the Tha Rot Fai Pier, one of the main stops for the Chao Phraya Express Boat, is right next door. The hotel also has its own private pier where you can hire a longtail boat to take you wherever you want for as long as you want.

Siam Plug In Boutique Hostel

Plug in here and get acquainted with Thainess” is this hostel’s defining concept. Its aim is to bring  “Thainess” to foreigners and for Thais to experience their identity in a contemporary format, as it is set in an old commercial building in the Charoen Nakhon area that was renovated in a Thai/Industrial Loft style, featuring walls of bare cement and brick for a perfect blend of Thai flavor and modern stylishness.

Siam Plug In Boutique Hostel

The half-reception, half-café area is between one wall of show brick and another of wood, and features vintage furniture, for a combined sense of being in a house and sitting relaxed on a porch. Further in is a concrete wall decorated with gilded patterns and a staircase of bare concrete leading up to the second floor.

The rooms at Siam Plug In follow that Thai/industrial style, with a brighter décor suggesting an atmosphere of comfort. Rooms are named after Chao Phraya piers, a cute touch. Here the walls are a gallery of photographs to tease the touristic imagination. And whoever would like to sit and chill in the Thonburi evening can relax at the Sky Lounge, whose uneven brick walls were inspired by ancient temple and palace ruins.

Traveling to BAB:

From Siam Plug In it’s easy to get not only to BAB exhibitions in the Chao Phraya Riverside Zone, but also to all the ones in the Urban Zone. The hostel is near the Thonburi SkyTrain station, so for riverside sites, get off at Taksin Station and transfer to the Chao Phraya Express Boat. For urban art displays, simply continue on the SkyTrain to your chosen destination.

J No. 14

The 50-year-old J building was renovated as a chic hotel with an “industrial/vintage” atmosphere, exposing the building frame to convey a fashionable sense of rawness. The hotel owner put his own hand to the design, which gently masks a classic European style –suggested by tasteful collectible items found everywhere – that give J No. 14 a remarkable and unique identity.

J NO 14

While the industrial vintage design and décor is based in the roughness of its building materials, the hotel feels light and airy. A skylight brings in natural light to brighten the ornamental plants placed throughout the hotel. The many guest rooms retain the style and are furnished with vintage pieces, many of them true antiques. This hotel has an irresistible charm, and we can’t help but give it high marks.

Traveling to BAB:

From J No. 14 it’s not far to the Pepsi Pier, where you can take a boat across river to Saphan Taksin, a perfect starting point for visits along the art festival’s Chao Phraya Riverside Zone.

Glur Bangkok Hostel

Though Glur is not large, it has important advantages. Travel is convenient and comfortable because of proximity to the Saphan Taksin pier and SkyTrain station. The warm familial atmosphere here is a major plus. A stay here feels like sleeping over  at a friend’s home. After all, “Glur,” means “friend” in Thai!

The front side of the hostel is a travelers’ café open for service 24 hours, which noticeable for its atmosphere reinforced by intense navy blues. Upstairs are rooms of many sizes, but Glur is primarily designed for the “backpacker” traveler.

Guest rooms primarily stress functionality, and décor is simple. The dorm-style common sleeping spaces are great for coming with a group of  friends and keeping it economical. However, more privacy is also available here, from 2-person to family-size rooms.

Traveling to BAB:

As already mentioned, Glur Bangkok has significant advantages in location, at Saphan Taksin with both the Skytrain station and the pier where the Chao Phraya Express Boat stops just 150 meters from the hotel. This makes for very easy travel to either Urban or Riverside BAB festival zones.

These are just a few selections we came up with for you art lovers to think about when making plans for visiting Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, which is – don’t forget! – between 19 October 2018 and 3 February 2019, at 20 different metropolitan Bangkok landmarks.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, (BAB) is an art fair which will transform Bangkok into a city for art lovers. Famous artists from many corners of the world have brought their works here to be shown at 20 landmark sites. (Download here)
BAB Artists in Collaboration with Famous Fashion Houses

BAB Artists in Collaboration with Famous Fashion Houses

Among the 75-plus artists exhibiting at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, there are some distinguished names who have collaborated with world renowned fashion houses. Others have managed to put themselves on the map by creating products that are their signatures.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Nawapat Dusdul, Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul, Singhanart Nakpongphun

Over the years, so many collaborations have taken place to the extent that they are blurring the lines between haute couture and visual art. It comes as no surprise that here and now the sky is the limit. When beautiful works of art have left the confines of gallery life and landed in the atelier of a fashion house, the results can be far-reaching. In this presentation, we at Living ASEAN use the symbol x to designate a collaboration. 

01 | Christian Dior x Lee Bul

THE LADY DIOR SEEN by Lee Bul | Photo courtesy of ©Lee Bul from Dior
THE LADY DIOR SEEN by Lee Bul | Photo courtesy of ©Lee Bul from Dior

54-year-old South Korean artist Lee Bul is widely known for her works in many artistic disciplines, among them sculpture and installation art. Driven by a passion for modern art and design, she lets her talent shine in everything she does. The artist regularly collaborates with the European luxury goods company Christian Dior. Some of the highlights of her contributions include Dior Lady Art #2, which came out in the fall of 2017. Interpreting design and manufacturing techniques in a different way, Lee Bul affixes pieces of plexiglass mirrors to the original Lady Dior handbag to imitate the appearance of a single sheet of broken glass. The new couture technique evokes memories of Lee Bul’s “Cella”, her display for the Miss Dior Exhibition at the Grand Palais Paris in 2013. Our editor for art and culture Singhanart Nakpongphun was there to see it and came away very impressed. As he put it, “Cella inspired a sense of peace in an unusual way. Same objects are reflected multiple times in multiple directions. I stood there motionless for quite some time.”

Lee Bul’s Cella for the Miss Dior Exhibition in 2013 | Photo courtesy of ©LEE BUL form Dior
Lee Bul’s Cella for the Miss Dior Exhibition in 2013 | Photo courtesy of ©LEE BUL form Dior

See also:

In this video clip, Lee Bul gives an interview about how she works. Every morning, the Seoul-born artist keeps a detailed log of her activities. It keeps track of the process of developing until she puts the finishing touches to her work of art.

Those interested in Lee Bul’s way of conveying ideas through art shouldn’t miss Diluvium, her architectural installation for the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The striking exhibit crafted of multiple metal frames wrapped in silver foil tapes is currently on view at the East Asiatic Building that’s well known for its old world charm.

Bangkok Biennale 2018
Diluvium, an architectural composition by Lee Bul | Photo courtesy of Singhanart Nakpongphun

 

02 | Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama

 Louis Vuitton - Yayoi Kusama Collection | Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton – Yayoi Kusama Collection | Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Mention polka dots, and the name Yayoi Kusama springs to mind. The Japanese legend was among the first artists to have collaborated with the French fashion house and luxury brand Louis Vuitton. She began working with the atelier of Louis Vuitton in 2012, the most visible result of which being the Louis Vuitton – Yayoi Kusama collection. At the time, bold yet playful polka dots artwork, also known as “Dots Infinity”, began appearing on Louis Vuitton’s Vernis handbags. It wasn’t long before other bestselling models followed suit, most notably Speedy and Neverfull monogram canvas series, not to mention shoes, wallets, scarves … you name it. Yayoi Kusama is also known for her work in store decoration and brand awareness ideas.

Flashback: Here’s a video clip from the fashion blog stylerumer recorded on the day Yayoi Kusama attended a product launch at Louis Vuitton on Fifth Avenue, New York back in 2012.

Handbags, shoes, and clothing aside, it’s time to appreciate the beauty of installation works by the “Queen of polka dots”. Her entries into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, which include the Red Pumpkin with black polka dots, and the Silver Pumpkin with multiple color dots, are currently on view at Central World and Siam Paragon shopping malls.

“Red Pumpkin” with black polka dots, which is part of the “I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins” visual art collection, is on view at Siam Paragon (First floor, Fashion Gallery 3) | Photo courtesy of Anupong Chaisukkasem

 

“Silver Pumpkin” with a mosaic of multiple color dots, which is part of the “I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins” visual art collection, is on view at Siam Paragon (First floor, Fashion Gallery 3) | Photo courtesy of Anupong Chaisukkasem
“Silver Pumpkin” with a mosaic of multiple color dots, which is part of the “I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins” visual art collection, is on view at Siam Paragon (First floor, Fashion Gallery 3) | Photo courtesy of Anupong Chaisukkasem
Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons, an installation by Yayoi Kusama, is on show at Central World | Photo courtesy of Methee Samantong

03 | Prada x Elmgreen & Dragset

A visual art piece titled “Prada Marfa” | Photo courtesy of the Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
A visual art piece titled “Prada Marfa” | Photo courtesy of the Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The artist duo, Michael Elmgreen of Denmark and Ingar Dragset of Norway, are widely known for creating “Prada Marfa”, an installation featuring a small Prada store somewhere in the middle of a desert in Taxas. Despite it being located just 42 kilometers from the nearest airport, exotic travels take a good three hours to reach it. The crux of the matter is a strong message about capitalism and how it affects the way people think. The visual art piece is created with Prada support.

“Zero”, a sculptural installation by Elmgreen and Dragset | Photo courtesy of Rithirong Chanthongsuk
“Zero”, a sculptural installation by Elmgreen and Dragset | Photo courtesy of Rithirong Chanthongsuk

For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Elmgreen and Dragset present “Zero”, an 8-meter-tall sculptural installation made to look like the circumference of a swimming pool set at right angles. The thought provoking artwork is on show in front of the East Asiatic Building on the Chao Phraya River for the duration of the festival.

 

04 | Marina Abramovic

The portrait of Marina Abramovic for “The Artist Is Present” exhibition as it appeared on the cover of a 2012 publication. The picture was taken during a 2010 live performance. I Photo by Marco Anelli
The portrait of Marina Abramovic for “The Artist Is Present” exhibition as it appeared on the cover of a 2012 publication. The picture was taken during a 2010 live performance. I Photo by Marco Anelli

A pioneer in contemporary art, Marina Abramovic is widely known for “The Artist Is Present”, an endurance performance that changes the way art sends a message to the active audience. Her first live performance exhibition debuted at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York in 2010. During the silent show, museum visitors took turns sitting across the table from Marina staring into her eyes for hours. The live performances took 736 hours and 30 minutes from start to finish. It was the focal point of a series of art exhibits designed to call attention to social issues.

Her iconic works gave the Italian fashion house Gucci an inspiration to host similar events as a means of promoting an exhibition at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai that runs until December 16, 2018. The luxury fashion brand presents its versions of “The Artist Is Present” curated by Maurizio Cattlean. In so doing, Gucci has installed gigantic art walls in the biggest cities across the world featuring the portrait of Marina Abramovic that was taken at the MoMA live performance in New York in 2010.

A reproduction of Marina Abramovic’s portrait as it appears in Gucci’s version of “The Artist Is Present” I Photo courtesy of Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli
A reproduction of Marina Abramovic’s portrait as it appears in Gucci’s version of “The Artist Is Present” I Photo courtesy of Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli

 

In Hong Kong, a painting of Marina Abramovic for a Gucci art wall promoting “The Artist Is Present” event I Photo taken by Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli I Courtesy of Gucci
In Hong Kong, a painting of Marina Abramovic for a Gucci art wall promoting “The Artist Is Present” event I Photo taken by Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli I Courtesy of Gucci
In Milan, a painting of Marina Abramovic for a Gucci art wall promoting “The Artist Is Present” event I Photo taken by Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli I Courtesy of Gucci
In London, a painting of Marina Abramovic for a Gucci art wall promoting “The Artist Is Present” event I Photo taken by Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli I Courtesy of Gucci
In London, a painting of Marina Abramovic for a Gucci art wall promoting “The Artist Is Present” event I Photo taken by Ronan Gallagher, inspired by the original taken by Marco Anelli I Courtesy of Gucci

Besides the big names mentioned above, there are some homegrown artists who have become involved in the fashion world. Jitsing Somboon, formerly creative director at the Thai clothing brand “Playhound, is exhibiting his work titled “Paths of Faith” as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The artist uses live performance art as a means of telling stories about Thai life and religion. The focal point of his work is a collection of white overcoats with “Faith” in either Thai, English, or Chinese stenciled on their back. The exhibition is on view at the entrance to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Phra Chetupon at Tha Tian. The overcoats are given for people to wear on top of other clothing as they enter an area dedicated to religious purposes in the temple interior.

Jitsing Somboon shows the benefits of an overcoat with pouches on either side that allow people to carry their shoes with them as they enter the temple interior. I Photo courtesy of Singhanart Nakpongphun
Visitors put on Jitsing Somboon overcoats with the word “Faith” stenciled on their back as they enter the temple interior. I Photo courtesy of Singhanart Nakpongphun
Visitors put on Jitsing Somboon overcoats with the word “Faith” stenciled on their back as they enter the temple interior. I Photo courtesy of Singhanart Nakpongphun

The show would be incomplete without a couple of cool T-shirts. The up-and-coming artist Komkrit Tepthian also debuts a print T-shirt collection as part of his entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The white short-sleeved casual top features simple drawings of his Giant Twins installation art stenciled on its front. The image tells stories of long-established friendship in a humorous way. Here’s the link to the artist’s fan page if you want one: Komkrit Tepthian : Artist

Giant Twins T-shirts by artist Komkrit Tepthian | Photo courtesy of Soopakorn Srisakul
Giant Twins T-shirts by artist Komkrit Tepthian | Photo courtesy of Soopakorn Srisakul
Giant Twins T-shirts by artist Komkrit Tepthian | Photo courtesy of Soopakorn Srisakul

Whether you’re interested in the arts, fashion, or design, there are plenty of inspiring shows awaiting your visit. The Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is going on now until next February 3. Featuring more than 200 masterpieces by international and homegrown artists, the inaugural art festival is being held at 20 different locations throughout the capital city. This time you don’t have to travel far to appreciate the beauty and the power of art. It’s the opportunity you can’t afford to miss. Art lovers. mark your calendar!

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