Margaret Wu

management , theory , other
  • Less Oil, More Courage and Love: Thai Contemporary art today

    Since 1923 the Thai monarchy has been the key driver in the development of the arts. The intrinsic and extrinsic value of art in Thailand has a long history of being intertwined within political and cultural apparatuses. As the country combined liberal economics with authoritarian regime, an ambiguity is born from the tension in between. Due to the religious dominance of Buddhism in Thailand, combined with the consideration that the founder of the first Fine Arts Department in Thailand is an Italian sculptor: Thai art may be seen as a product of Western ideology and Buddhist self-consciousness. The contemporary art of Thailand has developed its own unique language: meditative, poetic with a subversive undercurrent and phenomenological sensibility. Thai Contemporary artists exemplify Jacques Rancière’s definition of politics: “Politics, indeed, is not the exercise of, or struggle for, power. It is the configuration of a specific space, the framing of a particular sphere of experience, of objects posited as common and as pertaining to a common decision, of subjects recognized as capable of designating these objects and putting forward arguments about them.” The reason I have chosen the following three Thai contemporary artists is not only due to their unique artistic practices, but also their experimental gestures that consistently test the form and frame of art. The three Thai artists’ profiles are RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA (b.1961), ARIN RUNGJANG (b. 1975) and KAWITA VATANJYANKUR (b. 1987). Through the trajectory they might form, art lovers could understand how the dialogue between the western and eastern ideologies manifest and enrich the context of their work, allowing them to attain a broader aesthetic spectrum and to form conversations about the future of contemporary art in Thailand.

    Margaret Wu
    Mar 20, 2019

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