Bangkok Takes Its Place on the Venice Stage

Bangkok Takes Its Place on the Venice Stage

Bangkok, known as the Venice of the East by European missionaries and sailors who fell underneath town’s spell centuries in the past, will have a good time its fourth biennale this fall, however not earlier than utilizing the sixtieth Venice Biennale to showcase itself as that different metropolis of canals, tradition and artwork.

“The Spirits of Maritime Crossing,” an exhibition sponsored by the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation, will run from Saturday to Nov. 24 and can be housed within the newly restored Seventeenth-century Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana on the Grand Canal, which appears becoming.

Much as Venice has lengthy been a showcase, indoors and outside, for displaying artwork throughout its biennale, the Bangkok Biennale makes use of areas together with in warehouses, artwork galleries and its Buddhist and Hindu temples that dot the Chao Phraya River, which snakes by means of town like its personal canal.

“In 2017 after we began this concept of a biennale, we checked out Venice as a mannequin and even introduced the Bangkok Biennale Foundation in Venice that yr,” Apinan Poshyananda, chief govt and creative director of Bangkok Art Biennale and curator of “The Spirits of Maritime Crossing” exhibition, mentioned in a latest cellphone interview. “This concept of water connects each cities, and we wish to make artists conscious of our biennale and transfer exterior of Bangkok with our model.”

The Bangkok Biennale attracted greater than 3.5 million guests in its first three incarnations (2018, 2020 and 2022) and included over 300 artists, with an emphasis on creating visibility for artists from the Global South. It returns Oct. 24 and runs by means of Feb. 25.

The theme of water — the way it connects and separates us — programs by means of “The Spirits of Maritime Crossing” and its 40 artworks (work, combined media, sculptures and video installations) by 15 artists.

It could have as its centerpiece a 34-minute video set up of the identical title, performed on an steady loop all through the biennale, with the Serbian artist and performer Marina Abramovic and the Thai dancer Pichet Klunchun depicting a wandering spirit touring to new lands as a strategy to join East and West, Bangkok and Venice.

And the concept of connections and crossings tackle varied meanings within the exhibition. The motion of individuals performs an enormous position within the embroidered paintings of the Thai artist Jakkai Siributr, 54. A scaled-down model of his massive set up “There’s No Place,” (2020) can be housed in one of many rooms. It is a collection of embroidered panels depicting the displacement of individuals.

“I had a possibility to journey to the Thailand-Myanmar border to a village the place about 20 years in the past there had been an inflow of the Shan ethnic minority from Myanmar,” Siributr mentioned in a video interview from Chiang Mai, Thailand. “I performed a storytelling workshop, however we advised their tales by means of embroidery quite than orally.”

But he took it a step additional by asking the Thai individuals about how the inflow of immigrants affected them.

“I invited the general public to take part and work on the identical paintings, which was a strategy to create a dialogue,” Siributr mentioned. “The Shan neighborhood depicted their hopes and desires and their historical past by means of coloured yarn. For instance, there’s one panel of a dream residence of a Shan youth, and somebody native added a background of bushes.”

Migration — and its impression — can also be on the heart of a video set up by the artist Priyadeetha Dia, whose ancestors migrated from India to Malaysia within the early twentieth century. “The Sea is a Blue Memory,” commissioned by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India, in 2022, takes viewers on a journey that feels instant on this period of mass migration. It’s additionally a nearly undocumented little bit of historical past for the artist.

“In my analysis into rubber plantations, trying largely at pictures that depict the laborers’ daily life, what I discovered that was lacking was the journey to Malay,” mentioned Pria, 31, who lives in Singapore. “There are not any pictures or documentation of the journeys on boats. I felt that was one thing to construct a story on.”

What got here out of that was a video set up, with sound design by Tini Aliman, additionally Singaporean, which runs simply over 10 minutes and can be on a continuous loop for the run of the Venice Biennale.

“The work was produced utilizing C.G.I. [computer-generated imagery], and I considered the journey by means of completely different notions of area and time,” she defined. “You have a way of floating round in area. We additionally wished to consider sound by means of sonic waves. It captures the sounds of water, ripples and echoes underneath the ocean.”

The different artists represented in “The Spirits of Maritime Crossing” come from Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. For Poshyananda, it’s the right match for the sixtieth Venice Biennale and its theme of “Stranieri Ovunque,” or “Foreigners Everywhere.”

“When the Europeans got here to Siam, they have been fascinated by the homes on stilts on the canals and the water,” he mentioned. “And now we’re exhibiting Southeast Asian artists in a neoclassical palazzo with murals and décor that depict pictures from as far-off as Africa and Asia, and even Greek mythology. We’re amongst many spirits on this grand physique of water.”



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