In Bangkok for the inaugural Bangkok Biennale

I have heard much about how the Thai art scene has been growing and took the opportunity of the the Bangkok Biennale to learn more.

The theme of the Biennale is Beyond Bliss, in Prof Apinan Poshyananda’s words, “The theme beyond bliss may sound superficial. But in the days of trauma, how do we find happiness and prolong it? To go beyond it and to keep it is so important.” Well, with works of 75 artists in 20 locations. the Biennale is an ambitious project. The physical locations were a challenge to get to because of traffic conditions, the 30 degree weather and humidity made it even harder. One really needs to have stamina for this and determination to see everything and boy, my travel buddies on this trip were definitely not short of it. We managed to see nearly everything - temple sites, malls, the cultural centre, artspaces, galleries, artist’s studios.

The highlight of the Biennale for me was seeing how artists developed artworks presented works in historical cultural sites, and I must say the site-specific works of 2 Thai artists stood out for me - Nino Sarabutra’s ‘What Will We Leave Behind?’, 2012 at Wat Prayoon and Sanitas Pradittasnee’s ‘Across the Universe and Beyond’ , 2018. Many good works deserve special mentions, I will just have to let the images to do the talking.

It was great to be visiting different artist studios, artspaces and galleries - Nopchai Ungkavatanapong’s show at Richard Koh and Chatchai Puipia’s “come back”show at Nova contemporary and studios of Atit Sornsongkram, Prema Pupityaataporn, Pinaree Sanpitak and Shone Puipia amongst many others. (I had to miss the visit to Natee Uatarit’s studio 😢). AES+F ’s Inverso Mundus’ 2015, 3-channel video at OneBangkok was a fascinating video work.

Of course Thai hospitality is legendary and we were generously hosted by Thai collector Disaphol and Eric Booth and Gridthiya Gaweewong from Jim Thompson and got to meet many new art friends in Bangkok.

All in all a great trip and thanks to @Selina Ting for organising it.

[note: do pardon the lack of order of the photos and videos, Facebook messed up the loading order for me. Many of the videos didn’t load. I will tidy up when I have access to the computer. Meanwhile, enjoy the works]

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