SACICT CRAFT TREND TALK  Four experts touch upon what’s trending in handicraft in the Digital Age

SACICT CRAFT TREND TALK Four experts touch upon what’s trending in handicraft in the Digital Age

SACICT Craft Trend Talk // Here’s a glimpse of art and craft ideas coming to you online. In these video clips, four experts, creatives and designers closely connected to Thai craft industries touch upon topics pertaining to the environment, culture, and technology. Plus, hear their views on what’s trending for 2021. Hosted by the SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre (Public Organization), the discussion offers advice to craft makers in search of the right design and product in sync with global trends. The three thought-provoking topics to watch are:


Handicrafts from Reusable Resources


Environmental issues touch the lives of people across the globe. They are problems even for experienced craft makers. To achieve a contemporary aesthetic, preserving of the natural processes and handiwork is extremely important going forward.

In this video clip, Markus Roselieb, an expert in bamboo architecture and founder of Chiang Mai Life Construction (CLC), touches upon sustainable architecture built with the use of earth and bamboo. Plus, he talks about the concept of Craft Circularity that’s aimed at reducing waste and using natural resources in craft making.

He also gives a tour around Panyaden International School, where buildings are made out of bamboo to increase an appreciation of nature among schoolchildren. They are the hope and future of the world, and ambassador of the Environment.


Handicraft Knows No Bounds


Technology has transcended geographic borders, giving rise to a blend of cultures and enabling us to tap almost limitless knowledge. Here, two distinguished designers explain why craft still matters in a digital world. Let’s hear their views on the latest trends in craft design and the benefits that technology brings.

Suwan Kongkhuntian is a celebrated designer and founder of the modern furniture brand Yothaka. He touches upon some of the factors that have earned Thai products global recognition, plus the roles of designers in product development going forward.

Teerapoj Teeropas is a highly motivated, young designer and director of the Kitttakhon brand. He also wears another hat as researcher at Sao+D Social Cultural Innovation Lab at KMIT Thonburi, and collaborates with Asst. Prof. Nanthana Boonla-or on a Karen handicraft development project. He talks about traditional knowledge revival in the Digital Age.


Bodies of Knowledge Made Easily Accessible


The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on people’s health, causing a devastating blow to world economy. It also led to high growth in online learning through various platforms. Julian Huang, a university lecturer and cofounder of the Weave Artisan Society, recently opened a craft space in Chiang Mai, paving the way for idea sharing in design and craft making in the Digital Age.

To hear his views on what’s trending in arts and crafts, get yourself a free copy of “SACICT Craft Trend 2021”. Contact by Product Development and Potential Enhancement. Tel. 0-3536-7054-9 Ext. 1385. Or read the e-book version online at

#SACICTCraftTrend2021 #SACICTTheValueOfBeingThai

Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

A large crowd of art lovers queued up to get into Siam Pavalai, the Royal Grand Theater at Siam Paragon. Like everyone else, I had my ticket to the event ready for inspection. I could sense the atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm and energy. People were excited about the prospect of a vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic, the icon of live performance art and living legend. Dubbed one of the most influential personalities to date, the 72-year-old Serbian artist and writer apparently was doing extremely well.

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Story : Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Anupong Chaisukkasem

Inside, the sound of Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy brought the Royal Grand Theater to life.  As the beautiful piano music played, a slide show evoked the images of museumgoers taking it in turns to sit across the table from Marina Abramovic and look her in the eye. The artist was still and silent for the duration of the marathon live performance. The show brought a series of flashbacks of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”, her solo exhibition hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York back in 2010.

Taking a quick look around, I saw people both local and foreign gradually being ushered to their seats while dimming lights signaled that something was about to happen. Clair de Lune, French for moonlight, seemed quieter now setting the scene for the show.

Lights were back on as Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chair and Artistic Director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, appeared on stage to deliver a speech making the opening of the show. He said the event coincided with one of the most important public holidays on Thailand’s calendar.

October 23, known as King Chulalongkorn Day, is observed nationwide in loving memories of the fifth monarch of the House of Chakri, who passed in 1910. The day also remembers his first official visit to Europe that took place 121 years ago. It was with mixed emotions knowing the journey also took him to Venice, Italy back in the day. Nowadays the “City of Canals” is home to one of the most celebrated art destinations in the world. La Biennale di Venezia, or the Venice Biennale, was founded in 1895 and have since become the model for other shows worldwide.

Out in the streets, it was raining heavily, but inside the Royal Grand Theater was filled to capacity to the point extra seats had to be provided to accommodate larger-than-expected crowds of art lovers. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival, known as the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, began on 19 October and would run until 3 February 2019. The period saw more than 200 masterpieces by 75 renowned artists both local and international being on display at 20 landmark destinations throughout the city.

No stranger to Thailand’s artists circle, Abramovic was a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University back in 2000 and since then has become fascinated with Thai culture. She was among the first world famous artists to accept the invitation to partake in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Abramovic began her art career in the early 1970’s in Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia. Active for nearly 50 years, she won the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her video installation titled “Balkan Baroque”.

The 2018 art festival in Bangkok offered the opportunity of experiencing the amazing works of Marina Abramovic, which included “Standing Structures for Human Use”, a live installation exhibit that looked into the power of silent communication and invited viewer participation. The other show, known as “Method”, was an experimental piece about the state of being present in time and space. It was presented by a team of artists from the Marina Abramovic Institute (MIA), which focused on durational works.

“Standing Structures for Human Use” is a collection of five wood poles in the upright position and adorned with crystals, each one unique in its own special way. Intended for viewers to practice meditation, the live installation is happening daily at BAB Box @ One Bangkok on Rama V Road now until February 3, 2109.

The artist said that a lot of work had gone into the making of the exhibit. There was a time she traveled as far away as Brazil to search out crystals that would be the most suitable for a show, in which she wanted viewers to participate. She could still recall many long hours sleeping on a bench inside a remote Brazilian mine. She searched among the rocks looking for clear minerals believed to have healing powers. The rest of the time was spent searching out new ideas for future art making. In retrospect, the long, arduous travel into the woods has had far-reaching effects on her art. It was a spiritual journey that went beyond traveling to work.

The fun started here. The moment Marina Abramovic entered the stage, she asked people in the audience to close their eyes and breathe in and out normally in sync with the rhythm she was giving. After 12 times, she told everyone to slowly open their eyes. Like a wow moment, it felt like the beginning of a new day, one that culminated in a rendezvous with a celebrity artist.

“Welcome to the present,” said the artist. A succinct opening remark directed the audience attention to something like we’ve got far better things to do than dwell in the past. Neither would we think about the future still to come. Marina Abramovic proceeded to outline three activities she wanted to talk about in that evening conversation. As she spoke, eight young performers who had undergone training with MAI appeared on stage. Like a scene of walking meditation, they lined up one after another behind her and began treading very slowly without making a sound. And it went on for the duration of her talk.

Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.
Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.

Abramovic said the eight performers had successfully completed training at an MAI workshop aimed at getting their minds ready for show. Like a long, arduous journey, they gave live performances eight hours daily and the exhibit continued for three weeks at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BAAC). It began on 19 October and ended on 11 November as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. From a wide field of hundreds of applicants, Abramovic handpicked only eight, among them Thai performance artist Thavisak Moolasawat.

The crux of the matter was a workshop on performance and material art, which the artist referred to as “Cleaning the House”. During training, participants went through different phases of intense activity. Some exercises involved the practice of walking very slowly that could go on for several hours. The focus was on breathing, motion, stillness and concentration of the mind, a method developed over several decades to prepare a select group of performers for long durational art exhibits.

Performance art is an exhibit presented to an audience within a fine art context. It can be performed live or shown via media. Abramovi said durational performances required a lot of physical and mental strengths and willpower to succeed. She said performance art, which could be art of any discipline, was different from acting or playing parts in stage or other productions, where actors and actresses assumed a different persona or put on a disguise. Quite the contrary, performance art was about living life and being who you were and what you stood for. A durational art performer was not performing a fictional role in any stage or screen production. The Cleaning the House workshop is about resetting the body, the fresh-and-blood living being, and preparing the mind to face the challenges in life.

Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.
Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.

The slow walking exercise soon changed to stillness where performers paired up and looked each other in the face. It was soundless, motionless and without response of any kind. They tried not to blink, because any shutting and opening of the eyes could result in losing a focus on the matter at hand. The show was modelled on a previous performance by Abramovic titled “The Artist is Present”, which was hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2010.

The work of a lifetime
The work of a lifetime

Then came the moment of Abramovic’s work of a lifetime. A public declaration of her life and works appeared on the screen behind her. The artist said the formal announcement and listing of works she has performed from the past to the present has meant a lot to her. The same applied to any career, whether it be singer, songwriter, or authors and whatnots. Her life manifesto just went to show who she was and what she believed in.

After asking the performers to change from looking each other in the face to standing still with their eyes closed, Abramovic began reading her life manifesto clearly and slowly one item at a time. Some items were repeated many times over, especially ones that said an artist shouldn’t behave like a star, and that depression had no benefit for anyone pursuing an art career.

There was a big round of applause when she said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist.” She was speaking from life experience, subtly alluding to a romantic relationship with Uwe Laysiepen, also known as Ulay, her German partner and artistic collaborator. It was one of the most meaningful aspects of life and sources of deep fulfilment and companionship that had strong influence on her art during the 1980’s.

Abramovic reading her life manifesto
Abramovic reading her life manifesto

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session, in which the artist invited people to ask about anything. Sure enough, there were a lot of questions from members of the audience, both local and international. One of them harked back to a witty remark Abramovic had made earlier in the show, which said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist?”

To which, she answered from experience that apparently artists tended to have a lot in common. Their spirits and natural instinctive states of mind tended to be too similar. It was especially good from the get-go. Two artists could be ideally suited to each other, but rarely did it translate into living life together happily ever after. Exceptions were few and far in between. This writer thought the same applied to relationships in other professions, too. Don’t you think? Click this link to share your thoughts with us.

Without a doubt, Abramovic has been held in high esteem the world over. The long spiritual journey to respect and admiration must have taught her something. This writer finally got around to asking her what was it that had the most influence on her art.

This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.
This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.

Abramovic answered: “It was Rhythm 0.” She was referring to a solo live performance she staged at age 23. She could still recall it was one of the most challenging performances in her lifetime as artist. It was a test of the limits of the relationship between performer and audience. Between the artist and members of the audience, there were 72 objects that she put on the table. People were allowed to use any one of them in any way they chose, among them a rose, a feather, honey, scissors, a knife, even a pistol loaded with one bullet. The performance last six hours, during which her body sustained several injuries that brought out the dark side of human nature. Needless to say she felt really violated. Since then, Abramovic has spent more than four decades researching and developing spiritual and material art as tools to promote the positive traits of humankind.

The inaugural art festival saw the icon of live performances work non-stop for more than three weeks in Thailand, the longest visit she has ever made to a country she has grown fondest of.

The Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 began on 19 October and runs until 3 February 2019. There are 20 locations city-wide that play host to more than 200 masterpieces from all disciplines. In all, 75 artists from 34 countries across the globe are taking part in a joint effort to turn Bangkok into one of the world’s most sought-after art destinations.

The moment this writer has been waiting for, the opportunity of meeting the artist up-close and picking up a book with her autograph on it. | Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
This writer’s most treasured possession

This writer told Marina Abramovic that he wanted more than just an autograph. He would really appreciate an inspiration, especially to do something creative. And the artist scribbled something resembling two mathematical expressions being equal. This writer then asked her what she meant by it. With a smile, she answered in a clever and amusing way: “Infinity plus infinity, then on one knows the answer.” Aha! I’ve got it.

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.

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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 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.
Genius Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Extraordinary Talent Mixed with Agony

Genius Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Extraordinary Talent Mixed with Agony


Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) is one of 75 artists whose works are exhibited at the Bangkok Art Biennale that runs until February 3, 2019. The American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent went down in history as one of the most brilliant artists on the American art scene.

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Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul, /// Photo credit:  Jean-Michel Basquiat pictured in his studio with ‘Flexible’ /// Image Courtesy of © Lizzie Himmel, 1986. Artwork © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / 2018. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Basquiat had a precocious talent for the arts as a child. His mother gradually established a love of art in her son by enrolling him in a junior course at a neighborhood art museum. The unthinkable happened. The boy soon grew and matured to take the art world by storm. One of his paintings sold in a 2017 auction for a record 110.5 million USD, about 3.5 billion Baht. Our team investigates.

Life was never easy or cozy for the hugely successful painter. At age 7, he was hit by a car while playing in the street. He broke his arm and suffered several internal injuries. To keep him occupied while in recovery, his mother brought him a book on anatomy by Henry Gray with illustrations by Henry Vandyke Carter. Who would have thought it turned out to have such a great influence on his art and for the rest of his life? Later that same year his parents separated, and he and his two sisters were brought up by his father in Brooklyn for a while. They relocated to Puerto Rico and moved back to Brooklyn two years later.

An illustration from the Gray’s Anatomy book published 1918 | Image courtesy of Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body: Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 219

At age 13, his mother was committed to a psychiatric hospital. He ran away from home at 15 only to be arrested sleeping in a city park and brought back to the family. He quit conventional schooling at age 17 to attend an alternative school for children with artistic talents. Even then he dropped out again. This time his father banished him from the household. He lived with a friend in Brooklyn and supported himself by selling T-shirts and handcrafted post cards. There were times when he survived on cheese that the bought for 15 cents a packet.

Albeit far from being legendary at the time, Basquiat rose from humble beginnings to achieve fame after he met Al Diaz in the late 1970’s. Together they formed a graffiti duo known as SAMO, whose epigrams could be seen on walls and the surfaces of public places all over Manhattan’s Lower East Side at the time that punk rock, hip-hop and street art cultures were taking shape. They appropriated drawing, painting and poetry, and mixed text and image with social commentary. Basquiat and Diaz put an end to the SAMO project in 1979.

Basquiat’s paintings gained recognition for supporting class struggle while resisting the Establishment, colonialism and systems of racism in America and beyond. His works appeared in several magazines in 1979 when he caught the attention of the television industry. Soon Basquiat was invited to appear on “TV Party” with Glenn O’Brien, and the rest was history. As his prestige and celebrity grew, he became a star and it appeared he enjoyed spending lavishly on haute couture clothing, among them Armani suits, and expensive accessories.


Irony of a Negro Policeman, 1981 | Image courtesy of Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York


The 1980’s was an eventful period for Basquiat. He had the opportunity of meeting Andy Warhol, a leading pop artist whose works spanned a variety of media. It was said that Warhol was so impressed after having seen some of Basquiat’s works that he wanted to collaborate with him one day. And they did. Basquiat also became a songwriter. He produced a rap single in 1983 and began his touring exhibitions across the US and Europe. At age 21, he was dubbed the youngest artist to have exhibited at the Documenta contemporary art show hosted once every five years by the city of Kassel, Germany.

Untitled, 1982 | Image courtesy of Acquavella Galleries © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Basquiat reached the pinnacle of his career in 1985, dubbed the hugely successful artist on the American art scene. He appeared on the cover of The New York Time Magazine under the headline “New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist”. On the cusp of his fame, Basquiat dated Madonna, queen of pop, but when the short-lived relationship ended, it appeared the breakup was extremely unpleasant. He made the singer-songwriter return the artworks he had given her and destroyed them all. At age 27, Basquiat died of a heroin overdose in his studio. 29 years later at a 2017 Sotheby’s auction, one of his untitled paintings depicting a skull sold for 110.5 million USD, roughly 3.5 billion Baht, setting a new record high of any American artist.

“I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.” – Jean Michel Basquiat


Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of New York Times Magazine, 1985 | Photo courtesy

Without a doubt, Brooklyn-born Basquiat was one of the most influential postmodern artists in the world and one of the highest selling American artists until now. Even after his untimely death, his paintings and everything he stood for – rigid dichotomies between rich and poor, black and white, and integration and segregation – lived on. His signature style – words that featured heavily in his drawings and paintings – was appropriated in many collaborations with leading fashion houses as well as clothing and accessory industries, among them Comme des Garcons, Uniglo, and Reebok. Here are some shoes with the name Basquiat embroidered on them. Designed by hip-hop artist Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean), Reebok’s Pump Omni Light shoes feature “Basquiat” and a crown symbol embroidered on them. The crown symbolizes majestic powers in traditional African belief systems.

Reebok shoes with Jean-Michel Basquiat embroidered on the side wall
Reebok’s BB4600 HI model features Basquiat and a crown symbol embroidered on the tongue.

An epitaph that says, “A Lot of Bowery Bums Used to Be Executives,” appears on the back tab. (Bowery refers to a street and a district in Lower Manhattan.) The left side says, “Ignorant Easter Suit,” adapted from one of his graffiti spray painted for the “Downtown 81” TV documentary directed by Edo Bertoglio and Glenn O’Brien, whom Basquiat highly admired.


A pair of Reebok shoes inspired by Basquiat’s Untitled (1981), a series of 14 drawings

At a Sotheby’s auction in May 2017, one of Basquiat’s Untitled (1982) paintings depicting a skull sold for 110.5 million USD, about 3.5 billion Baht. The successful bidder was Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire e-commerce entrepreneur and art collector.


A Tweet by Yusaku Maezawa announces that he has bought the painting. The Japanese billionaire entrepreneur calls it “a love at first sight” and hopes to host an exhibition so other people can see it, too.

A product of collaboration between Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Italian Francesco Clemente, known as “Amorosi”, is on show at the Bangkok Art Biennale, which runs until next February 3. The mixed media painting, which includes oil sticks, acrylic, and silkscreens on a canvas that’s almost two meters long, is on the Second Floor of BAB BOX @ One Bangkok.

The show is open from 10.00 to 21.00 hours every day except on Tuesday. The venue is easily accessible via the MRT. Get off at Lumpini Station and take Exit 3. It’s a rare opportunity to see the work of such highly celebrated artists. Whilst there, drop into BAB Café for refreshing beverages and a meal or two. Be there.


Lee Bul, Strong Artist Identity with Visions of the Future

Lee Bul, Strong Artist Identity with Visions of the Future

Born in 1964, Lee Bul is one of Asia’s most acclaimed artists renowned for her eye-catching contemporary sculptures and art installations. Some of her enthralling futuristic works are on view at the East Asiatic Building as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale that’s going on now and will run until next February 3.

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Story and video: Sara’ /// Photographs:,,,

Blessed with a strong artist identity, the 54-year-old Korean is passionate about using mixed media to communicate messages to her active audiences. A 1987 product of the Hongik University Department of Sculpture, Bul achieved fame for questioning a system of society in which men held the power and women were largely excluded from it. For more than two decades, she developed artistic interests in geological change and the evolution of the human body that took place over millennia. Her energy and enthusiasm for the arts span almost all the conventional and modern disciplines, ranging from mechanical sculpture to performance art to site specific installations and fashion design.

Lee Bul

Lee Bul came to prominence for her though-provoking works that drew a comparison between two sharply contrasting ideas and the polarization of society. They ranged from individualism as opposed to group mentality, to light and darkness imagery that was used to contrast good and bad, to nature versus machines and facts as opposed to fantasy. She became concerned in social structure and environmental conditions, and grew her knowledge by visiting the locality before getting down to work. She searched for a utopia through her large-scale works of art that made reference to science fictions and technological innovations.

One of the clearest reflections of Lee Bul’s visions was “Willing to Be Vulnerable”, a colossal sculpture resembling a Hindenburg airship that she debuted at the 2016 Sydney Biennale. The futuristic metalized balloon was operated by machinery and required so much space that it had to be displayed in a warehouse.

Resembling a Zeppelin that was popular in the 1930’s, “Willing to Be Vulnerable” is on view at the 2016 Sydney Biennale.

The Seoul-born artist won popular acclaim once again when she participated in the 2013 Miss Dior Exhibition at Paris’ Grand Palais. Since then she has become a familiar face in fashion design collaborations. At the time she was among the ten famous artists, poets, painters and photographers who were invited to re-envision the iconic Lady Dior handbag. It gave her the opportunity of teaming up with the atelier of Christian Dior to reimage the bag originally designed in 1995. Her take on the elegant example of haute couture was a limited-edition handbag featuring a broken mirror effect that became her design signature. The bag was covered in pieces of Plexiglas material put together in a way that resembled a shattered mirror. Together, they reflected her interest in utopias, concepts of beauty and the paradox of human nature.

Dior x Lee Bul, a product of collaboration between the Korean contemporary artist and the atelier of Christian Dior in Paris. It was her take on the reinterpretation of the iconic Lady Dior handbag the debuted in 1995.

Lee Bul has exhibited at art galleries and museums worldwide, among them the Art Sonje Center and the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Her major exhibition “Mon grand recit: Weep into Stones” 2005, was hosted by London’s Hayward Gallery on its 50th anniversary in 2018. The show was a big success, lighting up the gallery inside and out transforming it into a dream-like landscape filled with what looked like traces of authoritarian devastation from her memory of 1970’s Korea and the effects of modernization on the environment. Her clear and direct visions of change were manifested in colossal architectural installations that have become her distinctive character.

Lee Bul’s “Titan”, 2013 and an “Untitled” sculpture (W3), 2010 on show at Hayward Gallery, London mid-2018

Lee Bul’s “Titan”, 2013 and an “Untitled” sculpture (W3), 2010 on show at Hayward Gallery, London mid-2018
“Crashing”, one of Lee Bul’s installations on display at Hayward Gallery London mid-2018
A collection of obtrusively decorated raw fish titled “Majestic Splendor” (1991-2018) on view at Hayward Gallery, London mid 2018
A young museum-goer enjoys a good time at “Via Negativa II” 2014, one of Lee Bul’s installations at Hayward Gallery, London
Lee Bul’s Cyborg W1,1998, a sculptural installation made of cast silicone, polyurethane filling, and paint pigments

One of Lee Bul’s masterpieces, a monochromatic architectural installation titled “Diluvium”, is on display at the East Asiatic Building as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale. The show runs until next February 3, 2019. The name has a Latin root meaning floods and over time has come to refer to a barren landscape supposed to have been caused by glacial drift. The eye-catching installation is made of silver vinyl sheets randomly connected to a crushed framework of metal beams depicting a trail of destruction. It reflects the artist’s interest in geological change and her vision of cataclysm in the natural world. All things considered, it’s a show that turns the entire exhibition space into a monster. It’s in town now. So, what are you waiting for!

Yayoi Kusama, Queen of Polka Dots, At the Bangkok Art Biennale

Yayoi Kusama, Queen of Polka Dots, At the Bangkok Art Biennale

How wonderful it is to be in Bangkok while so many art shows are happening at the same time. It’s easy to be spoilt for choice since they take place at 20 locations throughout the city. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival that began last October 19 will run until next February 3. Among the six artists not to be missed is Yayoi Kusama, whose work commands the highest price of any woman artist. Her iconic works known for extensive use of polka dots and infinity installations are exhibited for the first time in Thailand. It’s also her second in Southeast Asian, the first of which happened in 2017 hosted by the National Gallery Singapore.

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Story: Skiixy 

Yayoi Kusama at age 10, photo courtesy of © Yayoi Kusama / Studio Yayoi Kusama, Inc.

Born March 22, 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama began painting, drawing and writing as a child. At roughly the same time, she began to suffer from hallucinations about endless fields of dots. The experience involving the perception of something not actually present continued to have a great influence on her art. She started painting while in secondary school, mostly of people, animals and things that she saw around her. Kusama received some art training for a short time. Even then it was against the wish of her family that insisted on her learning etiquettes and household affairs. She studied mainly classical Japanese painting known as Nihonga at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, but didn’t have a fondness for it.

Onions painted like real on a rolling check background give the impression that they are constantly in motion. It’s one of the most outstanding works that Yayoi Kusama painted early in life, circa 1948. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Driven by family conflict and the desire to become an artist, then 27-year-old Kusama moved to New York in 1957. She gradually became known for exhibiting works that were unique to her style in the 1960’s. Worthy of attention were her “Infinity Net” paintings, hallucinatory repetitions of dots and loops that she painted in response to watching waves in the ocean as she flew for the first time from Tokyo. Amid fears, they became an inspiration leading to paintings that were representative of the idea of infinity. Resembling a hallucination, the paintings consisted of countless tiny brush marks repeated over and over across seemingly endless canvases, hence the term Infinity Net. The second of her Infinity Net canvases were sold for 7.1 million USD (roughly 227 million Baht) in 2014, a record for any living woman artist.


One of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Net paintings. The second of these canvases sold for a record 7.1 million USD in 2014. / Image courtesy of the artist/The Creators Project.
My Flower Bed (1962), one of Yayoi Kusama’s installations on display in New York, circa 1965. / Photo courtesy of © Yayoi Kusama / Studio Yayoi Kusama, Inc.

It was in New York that Kusama witnessed the emerging Minimalist movement and experienced greater freedom that led to her breakthrough works. She became a central figure in the thriving art scene, and her work gradually transitioned to pop art, performing art and installations that she exhibited alongside of those of New York’s big names during the mid-1960’s
“Self-Obliteration by Dots 1968”, a live performance by Yayoi Kusama in New York.

Photo courtesy of © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.
“Insects” 1980, from a collection of collages made of pastel paint and color ink on paper. / Photo courtesy of the artist.

At age 43, Kusama returned to Japan unhappy with happenings in New York in the early 1970’s. Obsessive repetition continued to pervade her works in sculpture, installation art and a mix of surreal literary works. She later got into trade in art but wasn’t very successful. From 1977, she voluntarily lived in Seiwa, a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, where she received treatment and continued to make art and write surreal fictions and poetry.

Nowadays, mention the name Yayoi Kusama, and the images of pumpkins painted with polka dots spring to mind. The avant-garde artist is passionate about pumpkins. She has used them as a medium to convey her thoughts since 1946 when she was in Matsumoto, her hometown.

Kusama returned to the international art world in the early 1990’s with touring shows that started from America to England to Italy. Her pumpkin series were exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1993. Her unusual, experimental ideas took the world by storm when she collaborated with the French fashion brand Louis Vuitton in designing and making haute couture clothing and handbags.

Here is a time-lapse video clip from Selfridges & Co, a high-end department store in the United Kingdom.

For the art lovers in Thailand, the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale is presenting Yayoi Kusama’s “Inflatable Pumpkin Balloons” at Central World. There are 14 beautiful pieces to see, ranging from suspended pumpkin balloons in vivacious colors to polka dot pumpkin installations. The amazing visual art exhibition that began last October 19 will run until next February 3. So you had better hurry!

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Before It Came To Be the “Pumpkins” Project by Yayoi Kusuma
Before It Came To Be the “Pumpkins” Project by Yayoi Kusuma

30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018
30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018

Rubbing Elbows with Celebrity Artists at BAB 2018

Rubbing Elbows with Celebrity Artists at BAB 2018

Like reading works by well-known authors, meeting celebrity guests and hanging out with them can be an enchanting experience. The unthinkable happens. We have the opportunity of an interview with the famous Scandinavian duo whose work, “Zero” 2018, has come to symbolize cordial relations between old Siam and far-away lands in the Nordic Seas. Life is more fun when shared with friends. So, we bring you this pictorial.

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Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: Methee Samantong, Singhanart Nakpongphun 

Michael Elmgreen and his collaborator Ingar Dragset were recently in town to partake in the 20th edition of BAB Talk. Their work, a towering installation crafted of stainless steel, debuted at an exclusive party held in their honor in front of the historic East Asiatic Building. Our Living ASEAN team had great conversations with them and came away very impressed.

Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 resembles the circumference of a swimming pool set vertically by the water’s edge. It stands 8.2 meters tall in front of the Renaissance Revival building that’s among 20 locations participating in the art festival. The first edition of the Bangkok Art Biennale, known as “Beyond Bliss”, began last October 19 and runs until February 3, 2109.

Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 is an architectural installation by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen and Dragset.
Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 is an architectural installation by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen and Dragset.
Sporting a “Zero” T-shirt with Elmgreen and Dragset autographs on it, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, CEO and artistic director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, gives an opening speech on the riverside platform aglow under spotlights.
Sporting a “Zero” T-shirt with Elmgreen and Dragset autographs on it, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, CEO and artistic director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, gives an opening speech on the riverside platform aglow under spotlights.
On the steps of the exhibition platform, Michael Elmgreen (left) and Ingar Dragset take turns sharing the inspiration and experience that culminates in “Zero” at the 20th BAB Talk.
On the steps of the exhibition platform, Michael Elmgreen (left) and Ingar Dragset take turns sharing the inspiration and experience that culminates in “Zero” at the 20th BAB Talk.
Emceed by Thiwaporn Thesthis (left), the artist duo explains the idea behind “Prada Marfa”, their permanent installation located in the Texas countryside.

Elmgreen and Dragset are renowned for sharing a strong passion for minimalism in visual arts, architecture and sculptural installations. Over the past several years, their works have been exhibited at major art scenes worldwide, including the art biennales in Venice, Berlin, and Gwangju. Their 2005 site-specific land art project, known as “Prada Marfa”, was permanently positioned near a small town in Texas. It was accomplished in collaboration with local organizations and had nothing to do with the Prada fashion brand, except for its permission to use the name.

Art is a journey. The Scandinavian duo said that they ventured out into the art world of without a basic knowledge in drawing and painting. Initially, they made art by cutting pictures, paper and fabric from various different materials and sticking them together to create a combination of things, kind of like a collage. Their works, mainly sculptures, continued to thrive on simplicity in both content, color and form.

Elmgreen and Dragset started working jointly in the mid-1990’s. Their commitment to minimalism is manifested in artworks that seek to remove anything deemed unnecessary while conveying thought or feeling through conceptual design. The artist duo achieved fame for their stunning sculptural works that later became known as their “Top Three”. Their masterpieces include:

  1. Prada Marfa (2005)

“Prada Marfa” (2005) is a site-specific land art project permanently positioned in a desert landscape of Texas. The work that accents the playful use of the Italian fashion brand name reflects social behaviors in an era of free-market capitalism during the past century. I Photo courtesy of the Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

  1. Powerless Structures (2011)

Powerless Structures Fig. 101 debuted at Trafalgar Square, London in 2011. The public square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar during which the British fleet defied the odds and emerged victorious in 1805. But Elmgreen and Dragset had a different idea. No disrespect intended. Only this time they wanted a more forward-looking artwork, something that called attention to the fact that the children are our future. Their strong message is conveyed via the sculpture of a boy riding on the back of a rocking horse toy. I Photo courtesy to Garry Knight

  1. Van Gogh Ear (2016)

Van Gogh Ear (2016) is a sculpture depicting a contemporary free-form swimming pool. Standing 9 meters tall, it was erected in an upright position at the center of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza in the heart of New York CBD. The artist duo got their inspiration after having seen swimming pools lying unused at the homes of many well-to-do families in the Big Apple. It pointed out to the fact that wealthy homeowners were suffering in the midst of plenty. It was a stinging satire on life in New York, where people were up to their ears in work and had no time for rest and recreation. As a reminder, the artist duo put a symbolic swimming pool right in the middle of the Central Business District. I Photo courtesy of the artists and the K11 Art Foundation, Galerie Perrotin, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, and Victoria Miro Gallery I Photo: Jason Wyche, Courtesy Public Art Fund, N.Y.

Many artists, local and foreign, participated in the 20th edition of BAB Talk, a conversation with big names in the art world. The meeting took place recently at the historic East Asiatic Building on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. For our artist friends, it was the opportunity of meeting and rubbing elbows with celebrity guests, and a good time was had by all. Participants included artists, from left, Phaptawan Suwangood, Dao Wasikasiri, Khata Saengkhae, Jitsing Somboon, and Patipat Chaiwithet.

Danish artist Michael Elmgreen and his Norwegian collaborator Ingar Dragset decided to work together when they met in Berlin in 1995. Since then, many creative works of art have earned them a reputation for addressing social and cultural concerns, among them a satirical installation titled “Van Gogh Ear”. The sculpture depicting an empty swimming pool debuted in New York in 2016.

Prior to that, they were highly acclaimed for “Prada Marfa” 2005, a sculptural installation permanently positioned near a small desert town in Texas. The minimalist style artwork was accomplished in collaboration with local cultural organizations. It had nothing to do with the Italian fashion brand Prada, except for a permission to use the name and logo by the founder, Miuccia Prada, who was interested in contemporary art. Prada Marfa has won warm approval as an artwork that has wit and expresses rich and subtle meanings. At the crux of the matter, it raised an interesting question about consumer behaviors in a free-market economy and social change that took place over the past century.

Despite a few problems, Prada Marfa has stood the test of time. Thanks to strong support from local and outside organizations, the sculpture stuck in the middle of a Texas desert has transformed into a tourist attraction providing a venue for musical entertainment and outdoor market selling goods and souvenirs. Commercial activities now take place on site, a development Elmgreen himself never expected.

As for “Zero”, the Scandinavian duo said they could still recall their first visit to Thailand at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda a few years back. They found that, unlike public parks, most swimming pools that existed were inaccessible to the general public. In a way, it became an inspiration for them to create “Zero” as a means to call attention to a lack of facilities for public benefits. Hence, a new masterpiece was born. Its focal point was the swimming pool circumference set vertically to represent the value zero. The arithmetic symbol also signifies a new beginning as envisaged by the artist duo. It’s their hope that one day Bangkok will have enough swimming pools available to its citizens.

Zero also refers to an artist group that adheres to the minimalist school of thought founded in the 1960’s in Dusseldorf, northwestern Germany. The art movement at the time was led by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were passionate about the value zero. To them, it symbolized the peace and quiet that was everyone’s highest goal. Its subtle meanings have had significant influence on the works of Elmgreen and Dragset until today. Hence, their entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 was aptly named “Zero” to symbolize an ideal world where every moment can bring a fresh start and new beginnings.

Artist Khata Saengkhae is among the homegrown talents participating in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. | Photo: Methee Samanthong

Khata Saengkhae, a household name on the Thai art scene, also joined in the conversation with Elmgreen and Dragset that day. Sharing his opinion on “Zero”, he said: “It feels good to see art blend in perfect harmony with the physical environment that exhibits it. The riverside location makes it an ideal venue for the show that seeks to communicate the true meaning of such a great work of art. Meantime, it also raises a few interesting questions. Look across the river, and what do you see? What will become of the land opposite from here? I see buildings mushrooming everywhere. So, where do we go from here?”

“Zero” by Elmgreen and Dragset is just one out of more than 200 works of art on display at 20 locations throughout the city as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival will end on February 3, 2019. There is still time, but you had better hurry. Not quite sure where to start? Here is a checklist of 30 beautiful works of art that you can’t miss. For more information, go to  Checklist! 30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018

Before we part company, here are some rare, behind-the-scene shots of the people and collaborations that went into making “Zero” a great work of art. I Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

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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.

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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.



So, Can Art Really Create Happiness?

So, Can Art Really Create Happiness?

“Beyond Bliss” and “The Joy of Art” are catchphrases for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, so it’s natural to look at how these 75 artists from 33 countries interpret “happiness” according to their own experience. Some depict happiness by taking ownership of it: see the works of Choi Jeong Hwa. Some show it through a lens of conflict, suffering, sadness, struggles for survival, or immigrant problems. Each work takes a different approach, offering perspectives on “happiness” we’ve never seen before.

Following up on this, we looked back to a seminar held last September at Warehouse 30, the 16th BAB Talk, where the 5 renowned Thai artists Tawatchai Puntusawasdi, Sanitas Pradittasnee, Dujdao Vadhanapakorn, Torlarp Larpjaroensook, and Kawita Vatanajyankur discussed the topic “So, Can Art Really Create Happiness?” Here are some samples of how each answered this question.

Dujdao Vadhanapakorn

Dujdao Vadhanapakorn

“Art can create more than happiness. As a child I wasn’t a good student. I couldn’t do much of anything, wasn’t much good at anything. The classroom felt like the absolute wrong place and the wrong way for me. But when we put on a dance for the New Year’s party, or when the teacher called me up to dance in front of the class, it felt really good! The art of dance teaches me how to be myself every day. It teaches the feeling of true happiness and gives it a tangible form.”

Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

“Our art works are evidence of time: that is, they indicate how well we have used our time. In any case, a finished art work emerges as a tangible piece that communicates our ideas. We may well define the word “happiness” differently, but I think if we as artists are happy with a piece of art we’ve created, viewers will pick up on that feeling and learn from it.”

Sanitas Pradittasnee

Sanitas Pradittasnee

“As someone who likes to look at art, that is, speaking from the standpoint of a viewer, when I see something unexpected in a work of art my heart fills with a great feeling, as I’ve been given something new to learn. A truly good art work can take us on a path into another world, seen through the eyes of the artist who created it. I want my art to communicate the substance of things that inspire people, to spark something in others, so I really have to say that art actually can create happiness, and has done so throughout time, to this very day.”

Torlarp Larpjaroensook

Torlarp Larpjaroensook

“When someone comes to see my art and it brings out a connection to a time of their own happiness, it makes me very happy. Both happiness and sorrow are definitely there to be seen in art, but for me, happiness is the greater. That’s what makes me want to get up in the morning and get right to my art, it’s great fun.”

Kawita Vatanajyankur

Kawita Vatanajyankur

“Artists are able to create happiness in themselves and others. The things that give me the greatest happiness are, first of all, being able to work with my mom, who is my manager and photographer, and secondly, my art teaching me how to cope with life’s hardships and care for my own spirit. As for giving happiness to others, I feel my work is a kind of mouthpiece for the “little people,” such as laborers, helping society to be more aware their value. Just that, the ability to help other people, gives me more happiness from creating art.”

Our interviews with these 5 artists show that many concepts about art and creativity are shared among themselves and with other world-class artists. Marina Abramović’s view extends beyond the happiness of the individual artist to the artist’s audience and to world society in general. In a major seminar at Siam Pavalai Royal Grand Theater in Siam Paragon Marina put it this way: “Art should imitate and promote positive emotions. It should encourage each of us to be a better person, and in the end society will be the better for the art which accomplishes that.”

Regardless of how you personally define “happiness” or “art,” or if you’re still wondering if art can really create happiness, right now more than 200 art works from 75 artists worldwide are visiting us here in Bangkok, Thailand. To answer those questions all you have to do is step out, go see the art for yourself. Where to start? What to see? Check it out by taking a little time to study 30 not-to-be-missed works at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018.

30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018


Army of Thai Artists in Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Army of Thai Artists in Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Besides the seven Thai artists featured in this article, we have to tell you two more have now shown up! Wisut Ponnimit and Kawita Vatanajyankur have also joined this veritable army of not-to-be-missed Thai artists at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. It goes all the way to February 3, 2019, so who’s coming along with us?

/// Thailand ///
Story: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Nutthawat Songsang, Singhanart Nakpongphun, Rithirong Chanthongsuk

  1. Montien Boonma (1953-2000)
Montien Boonma
Photography: Manit Sriwanichpoom

Ajarn (teacher) Montien is a legendary artist whose contributions to Thai contemporary art is nearly unparalleled, consistently mixing Thai and Western artistic concepts to express Thailand’s character in a distinctly modern way. He utilized common materials found in upcountry provincial Thailand to express “Thainess” in a way which does not fit into a preconfigured pattern, not everything neatly joined in the center, a new concept in that time.

Montien received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting from the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Visual Arts from Silpakorn University, following that with graduate study in France at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts and the Université de Paris VIII. The 1990s saw him doing prolific work in  installation art, mixed media, and sculpture, reflecting his thoughts about nature, society, and industrial advances amid rapid economic and societal development. At this time his wife became ill, and his works began to turn towards framing fundamental questions of Buddhist philosophy: meditations on birth, living, and dying.

After his wife’s death, Ajarn Montien traveled more extensively abroad, showing his work and immersed in his art, until he, too became ill, with cancer. Somehow even illness didn’t hold his creative energy back, as he worked almost until the day of his death at the tragically young age of 48 years.

Zodiac Houses by Montien Boonma
Zodiac Houses by Montien Boonma

Montien’s works have been shown in many countries, including France and the United States. At the 51st Venice Biennale (2006) in Italy he exhibited a piece which has returned for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018: “Zodiac House” (The House of Star Signs).” This is made up of 6 metal sculptures representing the upper sections of Catholic cathedrals, which he designed in Stuttgart, Germany while his body was ravaged with of pain. The Zodiac House set will be on display at Wat Prayoonwongsawat Worawihan.

  1. Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

A devoted follower of Montien Boonma and himself a master sculptor, Tawatchai is widely known for complex shapes created through intricate fine calculations, constructed with elaborate technical skill and fired by tremendous talent. Each of his works has a remarkable shape that plays with the observer’s lines of vision. The volume and size of Tawachai’s works are likely to challenge viewer with the many philosophical questions they bring to mind. Tawachai’s work has received world-class prizes such as the Honor Prize at the 1st Biennial Sculpture Exhibition in Mexico, The Pollock Krasner Foundation Award from the USA, and the Grand Prize for Sculpture at Japan’s Osaka Triennale. He has exhibited at Biennale Art Fairs in Sydney, Jakarta, Venice, and now here he is at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018! You can see an elegant wooden sculpture of his in a magnificent setting at Wat Pho: see the design sketch detail below.

  1. Sanitas Pradittasanee

Sanitas Pradittasanee

Sanitas began her career as a landscape architect. After graduating from the Faculty of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University and worked in landscape architecture with Colin K. Okashimo & Associates Singapore for four years before deciding to follow her heart and going for a master’s degree in Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. With a solid foundation in landscape architecture and a true love of installation art, she returned home to Thailand to set up her own establishment, Sanitas Studio. Not long afterwards, she began receiving one international award after another. The work “Khao Moh” (Mythical Escapism) is a large representation of a mountain tiled with rectangular pieces of glass. She received a lot of attention for this work, receiving a “Commended with Merit” award at the 2015 Emerging Architecture Awards. She was also chosen to participate in Aesthetica Art Prize 2015 as one of a hundred longlisted artists from 60 countries worldwide, with her name entered in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology. Another work is “Equilibrium,” where porcelain dolls decorated with indigo designs are blown up and down by wind. This work was invited to be shown on Songdo beach at Pusan, South Korea at Sea Art Festival 2013.

From the World Inside / Across the Universe by Sanitas Pradittasnee
From the World Inside / Across the Universe by Sanitas Pradittasnee

Here at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Sanitas has recreated “Khao Moh,” but in a new version and with site-specific installation. The new Khao Moh can be seen at Wat Arun.

  1. Torlarp Larpjaroensook

Torlarp Larpjaroensook

Born and raised on a houseboat in Ayutthaya Province, Torlarp finished studies at the College of Fine Arts there before continuing on for his bachelor’s degree at Chiang Mai University Faculty of Fine Arts. Torlarp mixes it up, using paintings, sculpture, installation art, and design art to explore possibilities in relationships between art and society. In 2008 he created “Gallery Seescape” (Alternative Art Space) in Chiang Mai, and 2009 brought “3147966,” a moving gallery built from a modified vehicle, where he invites international artists to come display their work by driving it around to various communities.

Just as with other Thai artists participants in Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, Torlarp’s work has been featured at international exhibitions. One of these is “Bookshelf,” which 8Q Singapore Art Museum retained in its own collection. Torlarp was selected by Koganecho Bazaar Yokohama in Japan as artist in residence, and his work was shown at the Yokohama Art Festival. This year in Bangkok, Torlarp’s dazzling work “Spiritual Space Ship” is on display. Its theme is travel to the past and future, and is constructed of ordinary, everyday materials.

  1. Patipat Chaiwitesh

Patipat Chaiwitesh

Patipat’s designs rely on his constant observations of changes in culture, society, and the environment. After a bachelor’s from the Department of Visual Arts at Chulalongkorn University, he received awards at venues such as Nitthassakan Ploy Saeng (Let There Be Light Exhibition) at the 2010 TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Center) and the 2011 Tokyo Designer Week fair in Japan. In 2012 he won the Award for Excellence in Product Design at the Hoegaarden “Different by Nature” Design Contest. Design work he did jointly with a Thai furniture brand was shown at the Maison & Object fair in France and at Germany’s IF Design Award show.

In order to gain more experience abroad, Patipat went on to study at the École supérieure des beaux-arts TALM in Angers, France, and produced many works that made it to the final round of such competitions as the cover contest for 50th Mark Magazine, the clothing pattern “Dare to Dream” Design Awards, and the famous website Designboom. He also had works entered in Exposition Art Capital 2015 at Grand Palais in France and Sweden’s 2016 Stockholm Furniture Faire 2016. By 2016, Patipat was clearly an artist of the new generation, with a unique characteristic outlook towards his surroundings and expert in numerous fields: sculpture, painting, installation art, and textile art, and exhibits all over Thailand.

At Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 fairgoers are invited to the East Asiatic Building, into a lab room of the future where Patipat shows us sculptures of animals foraging along the river’s edge: fish, birds, and shrimp, all with appearance and behavior much modified due to the effects humans will have had on the environment.

  1. Dujdao Vadhanapakorn

Dujdao Vadhanapakorn

An artist whose skills in acting, directing, and dancing developed over 16 years, Dujdao Vadhanapakorn is a member of a “physical theater” drama group that focuses on societal issues. Her expertise in visual design brings her to use materials emphasizing communication. She calls her acting “Experiential Performance,” where the substance of work is in the audience experience.

Dujdao’s work began to take on individual identity after she received a master’s in  Dance Movement Therapy from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2009. Having studied and worked in motion-based psychotherapy, Dujdao was interested in subtleties in human thought and awareness. She makes close connections between humans and the problems of society, drawing on psychological and psychotherapeutic theories to create her own individualistic work. This is especially clear in works from the period 2013- 2017: “(In)sensitivity,” shown in the B-Floor Room, “Secret Keeper,” at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, and “Blissfully Blind,” which you can see at Bangkok CityCity Gallery. All three of these speak to aspects of human coexistence: awareness of one’s own feelings in relation to those of others, interpersonal trust in safe spaces, and agreement among those with different perceptions. All these are based on an experience shared with the viewers.

At this event Dujdao showcases the art of body movement, which communicates the inspiration behind all her works shown at the  Bangkok Art Biennale 2018.

  1. Pannaphan Yodmanee

Pannaphan YodmaneePannaphan, a mixed-media artist and burning light of the new generation, has received many international awards, debuting with awards of excellence in consecutive years for the project “Jittrakam Bualuang” (Sacred Lotus Painting). Her mixed media works combine painting and installation art with a daring individual talent that plays on societal conflict and satire with a keenness that has brought her rapid domestic and international acclaim. In 2015 her project “Thailand Eyes” was shown at Saatchi Gallery in London, and at only 29 years of age the next year she was one of only a few Thai artists ever so honored as she won the 11th Benesse Prize, emerging from competition with 63 artists from 19 Southeast and South Asian countries at the Singapore Biennale 2016. This resulted in an invitation to exhibit at the Benesse Art Site on Naoshima Island in Japan.

At Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 her work is shown at Khao Mor in Wat Pho. Pannaphan told us that her works generally dealing with religious topics are shown in museums, but this time she is extremely excited about actually showing at a sacred site.

These and many other art works both Thai and foreign are now being shown all over Bangkok, as Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 writes another important page in the annals of art history.


30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018
30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018