Krabi is a well-known popular tourist destination for its stunning beaches and hospitality. This year, wanderlusters from all over the globe can enjoy the works of international contemporary artists, in the First Thailand Biennale, organized by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC), Ministry of Culture in Bangkok. If you think the art pieces are placed in conventional art museum exhibitions, be prepared to be blown away. Thailand’s first Biennale is staged outdoors on natural sites in Krabi.
Immersed your full senses seeing the contemporary art exhibits whilst travelling thru the majestic mountain ranges, beautiful beaches, stunning coasts, and hundreds of fertile islands, that reflects the wonderland of the Andaman.
A Curatorial Theme – ‘Edge Of The Wonderland’
‘Edge Of The Wonderland’ is lead by Jiang Jiehong as lead curator. This four-month outdoor exhibition (2nd November 2018 – 28th February 2019) in Krabi is not curated to display traditional forms of artwork, such as sculptures or paintings as per norm in ‘public art’. It encourages creative strategies and innovative practices for each site-specific installation.
The first Thailand Biennale is a cutting-edge exploration driven by visual practice, which takes a proactive attitude and a practical hold to approach, imitate, reinterpret and extend reality. Providing opportunities for artists to create and think out of the box to showcase the meetings between nature and art to its best!
Here’s an example: – Art exhibit by contemporary artist TRAN Luong, from Hanoi – ‘Hiding of the Giant Jellyfish’. Jellyfish are transparent and omniscient creatures and this artwork calls for a sensation of mindfulness of your surroundings. Placed underneath the footpath of Ao Nang beach, tourists are caught unaware and upon stepping onto the ‘hidden jellyfish’, you’ll feel a sinking imbalance movement. Thus, awakening your conscious mind to the surroundings.
Most memorable art exhibits from ‘Edge Of The Wonderland’
It’s truly impossible for me to name all the sites that I’ve been throughout my 3 days’ journey exploring Thailand Biennale. Thus, I’m shortlisting my most memorable art exhibits I’ve seen. Each of them truly resonates in my heart and mind for their amazing installation concept as well as the deeper meaning behind the art pieces.
‘No Sunrise No Sunset’ by Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Suriya Umpansiriratana from Bangkok: Location: Ao Nang
A collaboration between an architect and artist to create a cave and inside you’ll find a sculpture of Yai Sa. An elderly lady who has been waiting for her partner and symbolizes the human qualities of love.
Out the outside, there’s a reflective aluminum cast that mirrors our images and the beautiful sunset view. It urges us to take a different perspective in viewing the beautiful nature world around us.
‘Giant Ruins’ by Tu Wei-Cheng from Taipei : Location: Khao Khanab Nam Caves
A site that testify the history with a mix of myth and reality. The artist installs information boards relating to past and popular beliefs of Krabi and replaces the fake archaeological ruins displayed outside the cave.
It really challenges our expectations to think which is authentic and fake as the archaeological replicas look so real.
‘Rumours from the Sea’ by Felix Blume from France: Location: Khlong Muang
This site specific sound installation is inspired by the form of bamboo seawalls used in Thailand to battle against the coastal erosion. Using hundreds of bamboo to create a bamboo-flute orchestra. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the beautiful sounds emanating from the bamboo flutes played by the waves.
‘Two Visions of the Wonderland’ by Kamol Tassananchalee from Bangkok/Los Angeles : Location: Krabi Town (North)
Inspired by the shape of two magnifying glass, the artist installs his art exhibit on the bank of Krabi river. Urging us to explore the magnificent environment of Krabi. He also displays the mirror image to reflect images of the audience and the pictures of underwater scenes in the LED screen attached at the base of the artwork. Connecting us to multiple visions of the surrounding wonderland.
‘Story of Love’ by Vichoke Mukdamanee from Bangkok : Location: Krabi Town (South)
The artist was inspired by the story of love between Naga, the mythical creature and a local human. Using objects from local wedding ceremonies, he imitates a ceremony or ritual on the sandy bank of Krabi river. It recalls the harmonious feelings among people, no matter how different they are.
‘Wind Drawing’ by Rikuo Ueda from Osaka : Location: Than Bok Khorani National Park
Interested by the force of nature and cosmic, the artist is well known for his unique practice of ‘wind drawing’. In other words, letting nature creates an artwork. A poignant moment during his site visit in 2017, the artist drew a postcard using a garden leaf and thru the winds of Krabi sent it to his deceased wife. He feels that there is no difference between life and death in quantum mechanics.
‘Vertical Submarine’ an art collective from Singapore: Location: Than Bok Khorani National Park
Creating a visual intervention challenging the perspective of others. In the park, we will encounter two similarly abandoned bridges in seemingly identical settings and space. It creates a strong sense of déjà vu, questioning whether we have returned to the same place. Hence, reminding us of the different paths we can take to return to our origins.
It was certainly an eye- opener for me to view these contemporary art exhibits thru a whole new perspective. Thanks to Thailand Tourism for offering me this wonderful opportunity to explore Thailand Biennale. It was a truly an insightful time and got to say Dr. Wichaya Mukdamanee did a great job explaining all the details of each site we visited.
Are you ready to explore the origins of a wonderland? Thailand Biennale is still on going from now till 28th February 2019. Let your curiosity inspire you to explore, venture and imagine at Thailand Biennale Krabi 2018!