Made yesterday on my balcony. Acrylic on canvas.
orginally posted on NIUME
Bangkok is becoming, if not so already is, a vibrant art scene, which is growing throughout the city. I have visited 6 exhibitions during my two week stay and was really impressed by the artists and their work. The thing that stroke me the most was the almost sensible urge to express their (critical) ideas about society and life in the city.
Advertisement in Bangkok especially around the shopping malls, is for me in one word: surreal. The Caucasian and American faces are luring at you, everywhere you look often on screens bigger than my three-store-high flat, showing what the perfect life looks like. I think that is why I was so deeply moved by the video projection of the Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai at the exhibition ‘Northern Land Southern Seas’ at Tang Contemporary Art gallery. At one point he asks himself what the man in the ad, fully dressed in Levi’s denim means with “join the conversation” whilst outside the temperature rises to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
When I visited my sister back in 2012 the city wasn’t that crowded and noisy, there were less shopping malls and far less advertising signs. The rise of these big consuming industry are what seems to me a logic result to the growing economy and rising riches of the upper class in the city. As always when society (or a part of) are prospering, they tend to live well, enjoy the basis materialistic pleasures and display their hard earned wealth. The behaviors of the rich and the poor and their mutually relations, visible and invisible, are the subject of Leela Promwong’s exhibition ‘Patronage system’ at Number 1 Gallery. Her big and bold oil-paintings are striking, filled with fantasy creatures representing real life issues.
It is interesting to see that the grew of economy and with that the power of the upper class lead to the booming art scene. In 2012 there were just a few galleries, and those few were hard to find or reach. Now there are many artists making art and creating a artistic movement of opinions and criticism heading away from the mainstream. During my visit at 100 Tonson Gallery the hostess, a fresh art graduate, told me that there is hardly a market for contemporary art in Bangkok. So with a small to none market, the need to tell their world their stories is persevering. In this gallery Yuree Kensaku painted the biggest mural I have ever seen ‘Atmosfear’, depicting her personal as well worldwide problems.
Just two blocks from where my sister lives there is Kalwit Studio Gallery, representing ‘Parade of Toys’ exhibiting the work of three contemporary artists, who are interested in the different roles we play in a ever-changing world.
If you’re in Bangkok and want to do something cultural in one place, I would recommend a visit to the BACC (Bangkok Art and Cultural Central) 2 minutes walk from BTS station National Stadium. This building contains 9 levels packed with must see exhibitions, performing arts, arts and crafts studio’s and tiny shops full with unique stuff. I visited ‘Unseen Siam’ on the nine floor, a range of the first ever photographs of Bangkok and royal house. To be honest I had mixed feelings about the scene’s taken by European photographers and the colonial and superior vibe throughout the settings. Thailand was never a colony, because the Siam king at that time gave up parts of Laos and Cambodja in exchange of freedom. The way Thailand has managed to be a part of the Industrial movement and to grow with the world economy is what I believe one of the great examples of adaptation.
At BACC on the eight floor also visited ‘Traces and Trails’ a exhibition of the lifeworks of Thailands greatest contemporary artist: Pratuang Emjaroen. For me seeing his work, divided in five periods, is like watching a monk searching for salvation from the world and himself, to find that divine inner peace. It touched my heart.
Unfortunately I thought it wasn’t allowed to make pictures so I did not bring my phone with me.
Thanks to Bangkok101 who kept me updated about venues, exhibition openings and more. But without the BAM, Bangkok Art Map, I would be lost!
This last a picture of me and my sisters was made at Tang Contemporary Art by Entang Wiharso and is called Under Perfect Mirror.
Reading the title might you go thinking “huh?” Well this is the story of tradition and three sisters enjoying life to the full.
21 August was my birthday, but because our birthdays are within 30 days and one of us is emigrating to Bangkok (again) this coming Tuesday, we decided to celebrate all at once the 21st. Just as Christmas morning while having an indulgent breakfast, we opened all our presents and birthday cards. My sister set the table beautifully and bought some delicious food and bubbles.
As with Christmas we wanted a tree to pile our presents under. We could have bought flowers put them in a giant vase or made a DIY tree but instead I made a giant birthday card. 70 by 50 cm big, with acrylic and letters which I cut out from a special edition of Flowmagazine, which reads as: ‘Happy birthday x-mas’. While I was padding and smearing the paint two words came to my mind: Rain and Sunshine.
For a very long time now we have been each others rain and sunshine, making each others life colorful. For this I am grateful everyday. We enjoy and celebrate life whenever we want, the silliest things like me having a new haircut, the big events like my sisters new job at the Thai Red Cross and the not so obvious celebrations like my other sister finally quitting that horrible job at the social housing service.
So it has been a while, four months now I believe, since my last post. A lot happened in those four months; I stopped working due burn-out and mild depression issues and I stopped pursuing my career as an artist.
This was hard to accept, I kept on comparing myself with others who have jobs, families, hobbies and so on; ‘why can’t I have a day job and at the same time have my own dream business, why this, why that’. It felt like I failed. Well it seems I am not them and although I love painting and creating, making a living from it, doesn’t work for me and I certainly did not enjoy making art a business. So I deleted my Saatchi art shop, updated the pages of my blog and ceased my business, notifying the chamber of commerce.
Now I am recovering, taking a day, a moment at the time. Once I fully accepted myself, my limits and my abilities, everything falls in place and I am being more nice to myself. My sisters are so kind to me after my second period of illness in a relativly short time, first fall out was in 2011-2013, they support me in my health and tell me to stay true to myself. They just want the best for me, as for my closest friend they too have been kind.
It is not clear yet what I will do or what kind of job fits me. In the following months I will team up with a coach to find my life path again after this detour which was valuable and informative. It was due to my last job at the customer care center where I also trained new colleagues, that I discovered that I love and enjoy teaching people, and as a bonus it seems I am good at it! So who knows what the future might bring.
I still paint full of joy, whenever my energy level allows it, there is no more “I have to, I must”. Just doing what I love, my hobby and passion: creating.
This is my latest work, finished yesterday: Summerwine. Acrylic on paper, 70x50cm.