It’s finally happening! The first ever, much-anticipated Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is ready to open its doors on October 19, running until February 3, 2019. Held under the theme “Beyond Bliss”, the concept emphasises the message of ideal happiness that art diversity can bring to the forefront. The international contemporary art exhibition will take place across various urban public spaces in the city, from temples to historic architectural sites and iconic landmarks such as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Pho, the East Asiatic Company building, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, and the Bank of Thailand Learning Centre among others.
Participating in the biggest-ever art event in the capital are 75 artists from Thailand and around the world. From this stellar roster of talents, we highlight mixed-media artists whose works art enthusiasts should not miss.
Born in Matsumoto, Japan in 1929, and currently living in New York, Yayoi Kusama is one of the world’s most influential female artists. Her unique art – comprising of colourful polka dots in an avant-garde, modern style – has gained her the moniker “Auntie Dots”. Yayoi’s paintings, statues, sculptures and outdoor visual arts are aimed at invoking happiness among audiences. The red-haired artist’s work represents imagination and senses, and among the most famous are the dizzying walk-in installations and the “Dots Obsession” paintings. Her latest project was launched in 2016 in Shinjuku – tickets for which were sold out years before the showcase.
The 72-year-old artist extraordinaire will have a special event to showcase her performance during October 18 to November 12 at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). Regarded as the “grandmother of performance art”, Abramović has pioneered the art of using her body as both subject and medium since the 1970s. Her work explores the relationship between the performer and the audience, exploring physical and mental limitations. In 1974, she did a terrifying experiment by laying out 72 items including feather roses, a feather boa and a loaded pistol at a gallery in her native Belgrade, Serbia. She was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for a video installation and performance called “Balkan Baroque”. The multi award-winning artist also holds multiple honourary doctorates from institutions around the world.
Choi Jeong Hwa
One of South Korea’s most famous contemporary artists, Choi Jeong Hwa undermines the hierarchy of the museum by installing his pieces on the outside of buildings. Previously, Choi created a 10-storey installation made from 1,000 discarded doors and decorated Seoul’s Olympic Stadium with garlands made from two million pieces of trash – transforming the building’s surface into a glittering jewel. In other pieces, he explores ideas of artificiality and permanence through the use of plastic food and flowers. The 57-year-old artist declines to categorise his work, leaving the audience to define his pieces, following his motto: “Your heart is my art”.
Huang Yong Ping
Born in Xiamen, China, Huang is an acclaimed avant-garde artist known for his monumental installations that combines spectacular appearances with a rich conceptual background. His work has been showcased in numerous solo exhibitions and biennials worldwide. In 1999, the internationally-acclaimed artist represented France – the country he resides in – at the 48th Venice Biennale with Jean-Pierre Bertrand. He was also invited by the French Ministry of Culture to present his work, “Empires – Monumenta 2016”, at the Grand Palais in Paris. In 2016, the 64-year-old artist was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, which recognises talents and achievements in contemporary art.
Born in 1976, Wisut’s career as an illustrator and cartoonist stemmed from his interest in reading comics. He made a name for himself in Japan for his adorable Japanese manga character Mamuang (or mango in Thai) – the girl with mango-shaped hair. The character has also been associated with brands such as Anello, Erb and Issue. Mamuang was also selected as the official ambassador of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018.
Elmgreen & Dragset
The Scandinavian art duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have been a fixture in international art scene in the past two decades, charming citizens of the art world and public bystanders with their series of witty, thought-provoking and eye-candy site-specific installations. From “Prada Marfa” (2005) – a full scale replica of a Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert – and “Short Cut” (2003) – a car and a caravan breaking through the ground, which was first shown in Milan and now resides in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago to the recent “Van Gogh’s Ear” sculpture at Rockefeller Center in New York City, Elmgreen & Dragset are now brining their refreshing take on contemporary art back to Bangkok once again after their “Dislocated Oritenal” installation at Hua Lamphong station back in 2008
Where: East Asiatic Building
Kawita is a Thai video artist who creates thought-provoking works that emphasise the importance of gender equality. At the BAB, the young artist will undertake physical experiments to examine weaving, knitting and printing processes involved in the textile industry. Audiences will see her perform as a spinning wheel and textile shuttle.