We have less than a month before the curtain falls. The inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale will end on February 3, 2019. If you haven’t already been to the show, find time to do it. Plenty of exciting exhibits to see, if you love art. Grab a smartphone. Bring your friend, and take a selfie or two. Not sure where to start? Living ASEAN recommends 3 destinations that you can’t miss.
Destination1 The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC) Open daily 10.00-21.00 Hours (Closed on Monday)
You will love these amazing exhibits.
“Tape Bangkok” by the Numen For Use Design Collective
BAAC is one of 20 destinations partaking in the country’s inaugural art festival. It’s centrally located and accessible via BTS mass transit. Get off at National Stadium Station. Many world-renowned artists are exhibited here. Worth a visit, worth a lifetime.
To get there: Take the BTS. Get off at National Stadium Station.
Destination2 The East Asiatic Building Open daily10.00-19.00
The astonishing masterpieces you can’t afford to miss
It’s easy to get to: Hop the BTS at National Stadium Station. Get off at Taksin Bridge Station. Then catch Bus No. 1 or No. 75 to Charoen Krung Soi 40.
Destination3 The Bank of Thailand (BOT) Learning Center Open daily09.30-20.00 Hours (Closed on Monday)
Highly recommended as worth seeing
It’s convenient by boat.
– Take a Chao Phraya River Boat (regular service), and get off at Wat Sam Phraya – Or take the Chao Phraya River Express, and get off at Theves.
And by bus
– Take No. 3, 9, 30, 32, 33, 43, 49, 53, 64, 65, 516 and 524. And get off at Wat Sam Phraya.
Listed above are 3 out of 20 venues of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. 200 works by 75 renowned artists from 34 countries are on display. The BACC has the most shows. Plenty of happenings to excite your imagination. You can see all in one day if you start early. But, time is running out. We don’t want you to miss any of them!
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
You may also like…
MANUAL FOR ART VIEWING 101: THE PROFESSIONAL APPROACH TO ART EXHIBITIONS
MAHANAKHON SKYWALK; BEST PLACE TO SEE THE BREATHTAKING SKYLINE OF BANGKOK
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for information provided by: – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
– Museum Siam
– National Palace Museum
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most people probably think of the “Siam” neighborhood as a collection of super-modern shopping centers. Since it’s a giant commercial center in the heart of the city and a hub for convenient transport to everywhere else, it’s also true that many “trends” and “currents” start out here.
Today we’re going into the Siam district not for fashion or shopping, but to get a taste of art works on display at Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018 international festival of contemporary art, and focus on getting some great eats while we’re there!
We’ll start out at MBK Center, a huge shopping center in the heart of the city, and a close match for the nearby Siam shopping area. Getting there is easy, just hop off the BTS SkyTrain at National Stadium Station and walk across the bridge.
MBK is right across the street from the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), an art exhibition hall and place to meet and exchange ideas, building knowledge and understanding about art. It is also one of the venues for the BAB 2018 exhibits on today’s tour.
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Artist/Nationality: Heri Dono (Indonesia)
Display Location: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Name:Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere
The first eats shop we’ll take you to is Mont Nom Sot (“magic fresh milk”), the celebrated name of a place of legendary flavor which has stood in front of Bangkok City Hall for fifty years. This shop is unique for dishes of concentrated milk with toast and sweet-smelling steamed buns. Mont Nom Sot has expanded into other locations, with branches in Chiang Mai, at Itsaraphap Road, here in MBK Center, and other places.
Menu/Price: Steamed buns with coconut custard (75 Baht) / Red sweetened milk (37 Baht)
Shop: Mont Nom Sot
Location: 2nd Floor, Ma Boon Khrong Building (MBK Center)
Hours: Every day 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Another establishment is on the 4th Floor of the BACC, and you shouldn’t miss this on: IceDEA, a tiny ice cream shop bursting with creativity, one of the BACC landmarks spots that everyone’s talking about. The dessert menu is exotic and looks scrumptious. Our dish for today is mango sticky rice ice cream and/or durian ice cream on a stick, easy to walk around eating, and it looks like the real fruit dessert, not this ice cream version, cool to upload and show folks social media.
Location: 4th Floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
OK, great art at the BACC, delicious treats at MBK, but now let’s cut through to the Sky Plaza, which connects trade centers and major buildings around the Pathumwan intersection.
Remarkable street art by famous artists
Coming into the Siam Center, on the ground floor you’ll see more Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art exhibits.
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Siam Center
Name:Happy Happy Project: Alchemy
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Siam Center
Good spots to nosh on great food in Siam Center? You must definitely not miss the amazing choux cream item served at the Japanese find at Croquantchou Zaku Zaku, which just recently opened here.
Choux Cream on a stick, crispy soft, sweet, with a great custard filling
Menu/Price: Croquantchou Zaku Zaku (75 Baht)
Shop: Croquantchou Zaku Zaku
Location: Floor M, Siam Center
Hours: Every day 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
When we’ve filled up on this, we can cut through Siam Center to Siam Square One, where there’s a famous shop servicing the taste for bubble tea that’s become all the rage in our country. Let’s definitely get over to The Alley and get in line to check out this great taste from Taiwan.
Milk tea with a sweet taste and scent: Bubble tea, with its chewy pearls
Menu/Price: Brown Sugar Deerioca & Fresh Milk (100 Baht)
Shop: The Alley
Location: 4th Floor, Siam Square One
Hours: Every day 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
And then there is . . . the light touch and soft taste of the springy pancakes served in many flavors at the well-known Eat The Street shop, in a comfortable price range. And there’s not even a very long line!
Menu/Price: Choco Soufflé Pancake (89 Baht)
Shop: Eat The Street
Location: 2nd Floor Siam Square One
Hours: Every day 00 – 21.00 น.
Stepping out of Siam Square One, we immediately run into something we’re well used to in this Siam district: a tantalizingly delish selection of street food, for example . . .
Delicious soft oden, served with Tom Yam or an original soup
Menu/Price: Oden (70 Baht)
Shop: Anyong Korea
Location: Siam Square, Soi 7
Hours: Every day 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Legendary Siamese dessert: soft coconut cups with pandanus leaf scent
Menu/Price: khanom khrok bai toei (“Coconut pandanus cups”) (40 Baht)
Shop: Siam Pandan
Location: Siam Square, Soi 7
Hours: Every day 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
To finish up our art tour today, there’s a big pumpkin “sculpture” exhibit by the “mother of contemporary polka dot art,” Yayoi Kusama, creating excitement right in the middle of Central World with a major transformation of the space.
Artist/Nationality: Yayoi Kusama (Japan)
Display Location: CentralWorld
There is more installation art nearby, this time featuring huge inflatables, calling out smiles and happiness all around. If you have time, get over to see Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree: it’s not too far away.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
Sometimes an empty wall, a wide space with nothing on it, seems like a canvas waiting for someone to touch it up with some exotic color or texture. Then, we might see a large room that practically calls out to be divided into smaller spaces – perhaps with a gorgeous screen or drape. Or that wall, now, wouldn’t it better with a big, beautiful frame of some kind to add some interesting dimension?
Imagine a house where normal furnishings – doors, windows, curtains, light bulbs, wardrobes, etc. – are important not just for their functionality, but for their artistic interest. We found that many of the pieces featured at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art created major transformations in the décor of a number of interior and outdoor spaces, bringing new aesthetics to familiar places.
If we bring a work of art into a room to replace some more conventional furnishing, it’s more than simply aesthetic enhancement: it has tangible value, too. In this story LivingASEAN will take you to look at some art works that could be seen both as art and as decoration, pieces from BAB 2018 shown at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), where art often likes to have conversations with the spaces around it.
Soaked Dream: Photos of dreams and the future amid darkness / composition
Soaked Dream is a suite of photographs by Bangladeshi artist Firoz Mahmud. It shows people in a number of poses, all wearing bright green eyewear of Firoz’s creation designed to suggest hidden meanings found looking into dreams, or perhaps into the future. Eyewear of different styles are worn here by a refugee family, by displaced persons, and by members of an ethnic tribal minority, all seeking light in the dark. Here Firoz has created a narrative representation calling for social change, calling attention to difficulties of the Rohingya tribe that fled from Burma to the land of Bangladesh.
Beautiful photographs or other pieces of art that express meaning can expand their narratives by being set in a decorative arrangement on a wall – that is, if it’s just the right wall. This requires attention to the size of the frame, distance between photos, height of placement. Generally 1.2-1.5 meters high will catch a person’s line of sight, and pictures should be 5-7.5 centimeters apart. For contrast, a picture may be set at a different angle than the others, or shown in a contrasting proportion. Notice, above, one of Firoz’s pictures displayed in two versions, one taller and narrower than the other. This creates a transition and prepares us for the pictures on the right side.
You can see this work on the 8th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) between October 19th, 2018 and February 3rd, 2019.
Art tunnel/sculpture: a passage back to childhood, right here in the front plaza.
This piece is great for the little kid in the family, or for anyone who wants to get the feeling of once again being a child. Shelter from the Stars 2018 is an elegant 5-meter-long tunnel sculpture in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, the work of Marc Schmitz, a German artist and curator. The sculpture makes a statement about empty space which you’re not likely to find in many urban places, offering a happy respite from the decadence, chaos, and depression of the city.
If you were to put this work in another location, it might improve the aesthetics of a small garden in front of a house, perhaps on the edge of a small pond or fountain – of course, if little kids are around, safety is a consideration – or in the shade of a big tree. It would make a special garden or private resting area even more special.
You can see this work in the plaza fronting the BACC from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019.
Faith…Life / divisions and boundaries
The work Faith … Life B.E.2560 by Arichama Pakapet of the group Muslimah Collective, a Muslim female artists’ group in Chana District, Songkhla: mixed media work from woven natural materials, 300 x 200 cm.
Connections and divisions, separating spaces with clear-cut boundaries, can add beautiful highlights to living rooms, dining rooms, reading corners, or other rooms. Arichama Pakapet’s woven piece Faith … Life B.E.2560, can be used as a screen to block a view, or to cleanly separate area boundaries in a semiformal way without making a space look too closed off or stuffy. Importantly, it can be hung as a temporary decoration without the necessity of taking time and expense to build a permanent structure such as a wall. This beautiful piece of art is easily moveable and adds dimension and interest to the space.
The Muslimah Collective was formed by Keeta Isran of Narathiwat, Nuriya Waji from Sai Buri District and Kusofiyah Nibuesa from Panare District in Pattani, and the artist Arichama Pakapet herself. Her art conveys narratives of ways of life, inner feelings, and loss. It is like a mirror, reflecting the hope of the spirit that lives of peace and quiet happiness may be lived in the three border provinces of the South.
The work Faith . . . Life B.E.2560 by Arichama Pakapet can be seen on the 7th floor of the BACC from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019.
Check Point | Step through, Enter out
Doors come in many forms: there are sliding, folding, concertina, roll-up, and steel accordion doors. Every house has to have one just to get in and out, but Myanmar’s Nge Lay has given us something more special than that.
Nge Lay works with women’s issues. Society often views women as weak, and denies them equal rights. Her piece The Check Point, harks back to checkpoints she had to pass through with other women in a sweatshop working with longyi, a popular fabric 8 ethnicities in Myanmar sew into skirts. This piece is cut into a vagina-like shape, symbolizing the fact that every one of us is born through the vagina of a mother.
“I created this work with a feeling of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction, at the same time proud and sad at being a woman. I want visitors to walk through this door and experience it not as a dirty or depressing thing, but as expressing the value of motherhood, nature, and the land,” explains Nge Lay.
The significance of this “door,” according to Ngay, is not as a solution to a problem. Although used here to divide outside and inside space, it also sparks a sudden realization of its deeper meaning: a way to pass through boundaries. Standing alone as if torn from its original frame, it is a vivid reminder of that elemental passage.
You can see this work on the 7th floor of the BACC from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019.
Without light, but it leads the line of sight | instead of light: Century Buds
Century Buds is another piece by Shelter from the Stars 2018 creator Marc Schmitz. It looks like a pair of giant “cotton buds,” or Q-tips, foreign objects set here by a visitor from another world, or perhaps giant ear-cleaning tools for an elephant here on this planet.
The two primary components were constructed of copper and polished chromium-plated steel, with a soft bud formed on the end of each. Marc’s intent was to suggest a cleaning of the spirit. Looking at this set we might imagine a super-cool lamp, or perhaps a luxury chandelier. It catches the eye, drawing the line of sight to it, especially when it is set up high, in a “double-volume” room. At night, when the lights are on, it adds a sense of warmth. Perhaps it was created on a planet with no bright lights of its own to seamlessly radiate the energy of creativity instead of the light it leads us to expect.
This work can be seen on the 8th floor of BACC from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019
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.
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
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.”
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.
02 | Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama
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.
03 | Prada x Elmgreen & Dragset
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
People tend to think of the Chao Phraya as a nice place to take a boat ride to visit an old temple or flea market that’s kept its fascinating architecture. On this trip we’ll add to that, taking you to see new lifestyles and great art, as well as stopovers guaranteed to fill your Bangkok holiday with enjoyment.
/// THAILAND /// Story: favforward.com /// Photography: Tanakitt Khum-on, favforward.com, Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Methee Samantong, Singhanart Nakpongphun, Soopakorn Srisakul, Media Hub, Courtesy of the Artist
We begin in a district with a long and storied history: Wang Lang. More than an old market known for its famed rare and mouth-watering treats, it offers great shopping bargains, especially in new and used clothing of every style. Wang Lang once was the palace of His Royal Highness Prince Thong-In, Deputy Vice King of Siam during the reign of Rama I, but now it’s the site of Siriraj Hospital. A common sight in this neighborhood is of teenagers searching for good-quality second-hand clothes in favorite styles, and throngs of people come for the interesting vintage goods available everywhere here.
Bank of Thailand Learning Center (BOT Learning Center)
This large learning center once originated the nation’s first printed bank notes. Now it is a place of opportunity and inspiration, a place for learning and individual research that facilitates exchange of ideas and opinions, driving creation of knowledge and love of learning and sharing in an integrated learning center with state-of-the-art learning media and a multitude of learning activities. You’ll find a museum of national heritage that hosts exhibitions in various fields, such as rare money that can transport you into the past just with a look. You’ll hear stories about the evolution of money through various periods of civilization, and about what the money of the future may be like. This is also a Bangkok Biennale 2018 Art Fair site, where works by two artist groups can be seen: “Memory House” by Alex Face and Souled Out Studios (SOS), and “Dragon Boat” by Huang Yong Ping.
Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchanon Mahawihan
Wat Arun’s massive stupa can be seen as an artistic work of the highest beauty. It is adorned with a covering of tiles and pieces of rare ancient and gorgeously patterned Benjarong crockery imported from China. The temple has undergone continuous restoration from the reign of Rama 5 until the present. This is another Bangkok Biennale 2018 Art Fair site, featuring works such as “Across the Universe” by Sanitas Pradittasnee and “Giant Twins” by Komkrit Tepthian.
After visiting Wang Lang, you can take a ferry across to Tha Maharaj, a super-chic “community mall” right on the river for capital city denizens. Come evening, you’ll drink in the beautiful view all the more, enjoying shopping and the many famous restaurants and fabulous street food.
Tha Tian is easy to get around. A neighborhood unique for its two-storey bright colonial-style yellow buildings from the Phra Nakhon riverside’s early days. Tha Tian can be a district to pass through on the way to somewhere else, but itself is full of classic charm of an old community that has survived, and temples such as Wat Pho that have been part of Phra Nakhon since ancient times. Scattered all about are attractive cafés, outstanding restaurants, and sight-seeing walks where you can view art works. The nearby Pak Khlong neighborhood and flower market sound an irresistibly seductive call for us to fall in love with this district.
Wat Phra Chedi Phonwimonmangkhlaram Ratchawong Maha Wihan,or Wat Pho
His Majesty King Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok, first king of the Chakri Dynasty, presided over the founding of Wat Pho in the city of Bang Kok, and this premier monastery was his designated temple. As in the Ayutthaya period, the temple is next to the Grand Palace, and under the altar is a statue of the Buddha. The principal Buddha image in the hall contains ashes of the Buddha, and contributing to the temple’s worldwide fame also are the green and red “Wat Pho Giants” set at arched entryways to the Phra Mondop scripture hall, their form like the giants depicted in that classic of Thai literature, the Ramakien. The Bangkok Biennale 2018 Art Fair also has a presence here, showing works of Jitsing Somboon and Pannaphan Yodmanee.
Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan
This temple was built during the reign of the third Rattanakosin monarch, King Phra Nangklao Chaoyuhua, who gave it the name Wat Prayuruwongsawat, but the people knew it as “Wat Rua Lek” (Iron Fence), since some sections of its wall and arched gates were made of iron. For sophisticated preservation work requiring deep technological understanding, at the 2013 Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation the temple chedi received the Award of Excellence, first prize out of 47 entries from 16 countries worldwide. This project brought to surrounding communities a greater awareness of the value of cultural heritage conservation. Works of Bangkok Biennale 2018 artists Krit Ngamsom and Nino Sarabutra are on display here, as well.
If you have time, wander around Museum Siam, our first “learning museum,” unique for innovations that encourage learning, with displays telling stories through accessible modern technology that arouses interest in visitors. Techniques are used to tell stories by raising questions, inviting visitors to use imagination. Certain spots are intentionally designed for maximum benefit, suggested in creative, enjoyable formats involving various activities that move the narratives forward. Items and devices used within the museum are to be touched so as to convey meanings and create perfect connections.
This venerable haunt of Chinese people and civilization has long been here. Yaowarat is especially colorful at night, with topflight food to be found everywhere. There are a number of noteworthy points along Yaowarat Road, such as Odeon Circle, Charoen Krung Road, Ratchawong Road and Chakkrawat Road. Not-to-be-missed eating spots are Kuey Chap Nai Ek, Khua Kai Than Tao, and Kuey Chap Uan Phochana (in front of the Chinatown Cinema). Hidden away nearby are Khanompang Sai Thalak, Sweet Time, for incredibly delicious desserts, and Pa Jin Hoi Khlaeng Luak, which specializes in shellfish prepared in absolutely delicious ways, and is one of the oldest restaurants in Yaowarat.
Renowned for decorative architecture, Lhong 1919 is a popular new tourist spot, well worth visiting and taking a slew of pictures of. Here once was a location called “Huai Jung Lohng,” Chinese for “steamer pier,” and now is also known by the name “Wang Li godowns.” Its history and architecture go back 167 years and really make one aware of its architectural value. Recently a major restoration was done on the pier, which had deteriorated over a long period, and now it is a tourist destination with a remarkable heritage that tells of its history through art and architecture.
The Jam Factory
The Jam Factory is a warehouse space along the Chao Phraya River revamped as a hub for super-hip lifestyles. Besides beautification of a funky old godown, the environment was made especially charming by preserving its large trees for a shady atmosphere extending to a riverside restaurant, a chic furniture shop, and a bookstore where serious bookworms can come stuff their heads with knowledge found in rare books from Thailand and abroad.
Warehouse 30 is a creative space with a distinctive industrial style, renovated from an old factory. This newly born community is located in Soi Charoen Krung 30. It’s a place to hang out. There’s a restaurant. There are shops offering hip home furnishings. There are many spots to take beautiful pictures, even a cinema! All this, and then the “co-working space,” too! People can shop, munch, chill, or have fun with various activities, either during the week or on weekends.
East Asiatic Building
The East Asiatic, a fine example of Renaissance revival architecture, is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River next to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Not only is it gorgeous, it gives us a look back to more than 100 years ago as a rare historical treasure showing the prosperity of the Danish community in Siam at that time. Right now it is also home to Bangkok Biennale 2018 Art Fair works by Lee Bul, Sara Faviau, and Elmgreen & Dragset.
The beauty of its carefully maintained architecture has long contributed to recognition of the Mandarin Oriental as one of the greatest hotels in the world, and it is generally agreed that since opening in 1870, Bangkok’s first hotel has also been one of its most important landmarks. Though the hotel has undergone many renovations, even today it retains its classic nature. It is also a perfect venue for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018’s showing of such works as “Lost Dogs,” by Aurèle Ricard.
If you have time in your scenic boat ride along the Chao Phraya, you can stop in to see heretofore unknown artistic works tell fascinating stories about culture and society, sparking ideas which we can use to improve our own lives.
An international festival of contemporary art, Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is held between October 19, 2018 and February 3, 2019 at 20 important Bangkok locations.