Gallery hopping is back in Bangkok as several of the city’s best art venues reopen their doors
Miraculously we’ve all made it to July, and although the Coronavirus fallout still hangs like a black cloud over the world at large, Bangkok’s art scene is providing a ray of sunshine in the form of many intriguing gallery exhibits on display now. Ironically, even before the pandemic most art galleries have never had too much of a problem maintaining social distancing, and other than on opening night most galleries are notoriously quiet places where standing apart from others in quiet contemplation is definitely the norm. That said, it’s not overly surprising that art galleries have been among the first indoor gathering spots in the city to reopen their doors post-lockdown. And if you’ve been spending lots of time at home these past few months contemplating what to do with any bare walls you may have in the house, now’s the time to find some cool artworks to fill those empty spaces.
Of course, we’d be remiss in pretending all is rosy and, in fact, H Gallery on Sathorn Soi 12 and Serindia Gallery at OP Garden have both announced that their doors have closed for good. Both venues will, however, be continuing limited operations in alternate forms, but it’s still a sad bit of news for local art lovers who frequented these two long-running downtown art hubs.
Subhashok The Arts Centre (SAC): Until July 26
Because flowers are often thought of as fragile, gentle, and emotional objects, they are sometimes compared to women or to non-verbal languages. When we look at the image of a flower, we tend to have our own personal interpretations. However, artist Praiya Ketkool interprets things from a simplified and more straight forward perspective in ‘Floriography’, her current solo exhibition at Subhashok The Arts Centre which focuses on roadside grass flowers. She sees grass flower as part of a well-balanced eco-system that is small but great in its meaning. She expresses herself through arrangements of lines and colours which are juxtaposed by the small shapes that emphasise this “aesthetic of the ordinary”.
Give Us A Little More Time
Bangkok CityCity Gallery: Until August 9
Since 2014, ‘Give Us A Little More Time’ has been an ongoing project for video artist and film director Chulayarnnon Siriphol. On May 22, 2014, Thailand suffered its 13th Coup d’état when the military junta seized the power and introduced the campaign called ‘Restoration of Happiness’ (which was seen a “political doublespeak” by pro-democracy Thais). The junta augmented a delusion of “happiness” with songs and other forms of entertainment to subdue the resistant citizens who were, in fact, coerced into silence and even disappearance – and one of the song lyrics lends this show its title. On the same day of the coup, Siriphol started making a daily newspaper collage and vowed to keep at it until the national election was announced. He scissors Thai daily newspapers and with his unique artistic sensibility examines the bureaucratic inertia and hypocrisy via collage. This is Siriphol’s the second solo exhibition with Bangkok CityCity Gallery.
Cross Over Vol. 26
Kalwit Studio & Gallery: Until July 12
There’s still time to catch the latest show at Kalwit Studio & Gallery, which is a group art exhibition from Japan entitled ‘Cross Over Vol. 26’. The artists include Peddy Pot (organizer), Arai Yuka, Kageyama Haruka, Komori, Kuramoto Wakana, Muramatsu Fumika, Takeda Soichiro, Yoshikawa Marin, and Youkou. Cross Over itself is an art group that organizes international exhibitions and art fairs with the aim of opening doors for artists from various genres, such as graphic designers, painters, performers, and photographers, to exhibit internationally (mainly in Asian countries). Also, keep in mind that Kalwit Studio & Gallery recently launched an innovative ‘Art Rental’ business, which allows you to rent a piece of art that you are interested in, and gives you one month to make the decision to buy.
Mount Gui: Mao Xuhui and His Students
Tang Contemporary Art: July 11 – August 15
Curated by Dai Zhuoqun, the upcoming group show at Tang Contemporary Art (River City Bangkok 2nd floor) is entitled ‘Mount Gui: Mao Xuhui and His Students’. It will feature more than 20 paintings, including those by the iconic Chinese contemporary artist Mao Xuhui, as well as his students, who in this instance consist of Chen Chuan, Li Rui, Liu Renxian, Liu Yu, Liu Chunliu, Guan Saimei, Ma Dan, Su Bin, Tao Fa, Wang Rui, and Xun Guipin. Having all experienced venturing to the Nuohei Village of Mount Gui (Guishan), known for its artistic value and unique atmosphere, each artist’s works expresses his/her insights and connections to this place. Often experimenting with the use of symbolism and metaphor, Mao Xuhui reflects on the social reality and the existential value of an individual’s life, often using everyday objects, such as scissors and chairs, as recurring motifs.
A Room Full of Women
ATT 19 Gallery: Until July 11
In honour of Women’s History Month last March, ATT 19 Gallery put together a group show entitled ‘A Room Full of Women’. This expansive exhibit – with over a dozen artists in all taking part – brought together a diverse group of Thai women and provided them with a platform and the freedom to showcase projects and art that represented their interests and personal identities. The show was only supposed to run till April 4th, but due to the lockdown it has remained in place in the gallery (so there’s still a bit of time to see it). Some of the artists taking part include: Onnalin Lojanagosin, a painter in the classic European style; Eda Phanlert Sriprom, a transgender artist whose photo series examines the taboo of women in the monkhood; and works from the Yaipoeng & Naipran Art Therapy Studio.
A Daughter’s Love
Ardel’s Third Place Gallery: July 16 – August 22
Artist Lugpliw Junpudsa is a sculptor and art instructor at the Department of Sculpture, Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University. In her upcoming show at Ardel’s Third Place Gallery she creates art based on her life – a life in which she has suffered the highs and lows of love during the course of a 20-year-relationship. The everlasting vow and the desire to grow old together has evaporated, and the parting of their ways has led to the creation of a sculpture series. The show, entitled ‘A Daughter’s Love’, presents sculptures and mixed media art inspired by the love left behind. The pelvic form represents motherhood as well as how she nurtures her child with care, whereas a sacred garland and silver and gold rings symbolize the objective of love with secretive sexual desire.
Amanta Kama Gallery: Until July 31
Open Friday to Sunday, and by appointment only on weekdays, the Ananta Kama Gallery on Soi Yen Akart (above The Kitchen restaurant) is currently exhibiting the mixed media collage on canvas works of Jean Michel Aucler in a show entitled ‘Asian Beauties’. A photographer turned painter, Aucler has decades of experience illustrating for top fashion houses in Paris, which informs the art that he creates today, incorporating vintage batik and various printed textiles that the artist has collected throughout his travels across Asia (particularly in Bali). Layers upon layers of colours and patterns co-exist with vibrant lines on crumpled paper, symbolizing the artist’s inherent sense of harmony and balance. His works create a cultural bridge between the Eastern and Western iconography that continues to inspire his works.
Van Gogh: Life & Art
MODA Gallery: Until December 31
River City Bangkok’s 2nd floor MODA Digital Gallery presents ‘Van Gogh: Life & Art’, a ticketed multimedia exhibition focusing on the life and art of the legendary Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. As one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art, the large body of work of this eccentric, 19th century post-impressionist is well known to art lovers – especially iconic works such as Starry Night, Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters, and his series of Self Portraits. During this exhibit these artworks are projected onto huge wall-size screens allowing visitors a chance to better appreciate the master’s dramatic brushstrokes up close. There’s even a lifesize recreation of the artist’s famous Bedroom at Arles painting. Additionally, as a safety precaution, the maximum occupancy inside the exhibition is limited to 80 visitors at one time.
White Elephant Art Awards
BACC: Until September 6
The Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre (BACC) has several shows running at the moment, two of which are recently installed. The newest of these shows is the White Elephant Art Awards exhibit, which is organized in conjunction with Thai Beverage PCL. This is the 9th edition of this popular annual art display, which this year goes under the subtitle ‘The Land of Smiles’. It’s comprised of paintings, sculptures, prints, and mixed media of all techniques and materials, all of which showcase the talents of local artists and celebrate the concept of Thainess in all its endless variations. It’s definitely a feel-good exhibit, and one that shows the resilient spirit of this nation’s inhabitants.
La Lanta Fine Art: Until July 29
Visitors who make an advance appointment with La Lanta Fine Art can catch the solo exhibition by Thai artist Pannaphan Yodmanee entitled ‘Time Lapse’. It presents a total of eight circular artworks that examine the relevance of Buddhist philosophy in our lives. By utilizing a combination of raw and natural materials such as rocks, precious stones, and gold leaf, together with contemporary found objects, her heavily textured works fuse traditional Thai art motifs with the universal and persistent themes of loss, suffering, devastation, and the karmic cycles of death and rebirth. Her current exhibition can also be viewed via the gallery’s website.