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.
Last summer I made this very personal painting, which was born during the Vedic Art course and which I finished in August.
The painting consists pieces of an old painting on paper, roughly 100 by 100 cm, which depicted my dream of at that moment in 2012 when I joined the first Vedic Art class. I longed for space and love. Loveing and accepting myself that is.
I took this painting, I teared it up in pieces and integrated it, together with sand, stones and dried flowers onto the canvas, this year even bigger than my work back then, 200 by 100cm. I used acrylic and different techniques. In the middle you can see my feet and hands, with my hands looking almost like a the wings of a butterfly. What is it that they say? Happiness is in your own hands.
Looking at it, I can see my fears on one side and hope on the other, with me balancing in the middle. Sometimes crawling and sometimes flying toward my dream, my real Self.
Corfu was great, fantastic sunny weather, great hotel and good food. I went on a trip to a local vineyard, bought excellent wine and visited a ecological bee-farm, learned a thing or two about bees and the proces of honeymaking.
Now I am back for just over a month and I almost bought a pavilion in a nearby community Garden.
The reason? Well, for the last four years I am using my bedroom as my studio. The small space did not stop me from painting and creating. It was a whole routine: dusting before painting, putting plastic on the floor for spraying the varnish after painting and cleaning up afterwards for multiple times and after all that finding the right spot and light for taking pictures.
But, after four years, the space feels crammed. It has become a storage place for my finished work, the new canvasses and materials. Not to forget there is also my bed, wardrobe and my other personsal belongings.
After thinking through several solutions, from creating space by buying a lot of furniture in the bedroom to buy a gazebo, none was or felt as the ideal working space.
So I decided to sign myself up for a temporary studio via SKAR. This is a initiative which offers permanent and temporary housing for professional artists in affordable and suitebale workspaces.
After signing up and sending in my portfolio, last week I recived the good news from them that I have been placed on the waiting list. Hooray!
Now I only have to be patience. Life has proved to me that everything happens at the right time.
In the spirit of making space, creating order in the chaos and simpely to close a chapter so I can begin a new one, I sorted out my paintings.
The canvasses took up so much space I decided to get rid of some of them, ten in total. first I stripped them from the frame and then after a good look I threw them in the bin.
I do not regret it. They where just representing different moments in the last four years in which I learned so much; about painting, the technical and the creating part, about the hard work and how as a artist you can stand in your own way of expressing yourself.
These moments, I did expres myself and that made be aware that, without painting or creating my thoughts I feel misrable, limited and disconnected from the world and myself.
So, with that in mind I made “collage”, took a snapshot and said farewell.
Time for new moments.