Army of Thai Artists in Bangkok Art Biennale 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

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