ศิลป

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The graceful art of Benjarong

Published January 19, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30362546

The graceful art of Benjarong

Art January 19, 2019 11:16

By The Nation

River Books and River City Bangkok are holding the exhibition “Bencharong Journey: From China to Siam” at RCB Auctions on the fourth floor of River City Bangkok until January 31.

The innovative Siamese designs and vivid colours of this unique Chinese export porcelain make it immensely attractive and desirable – a perfect marriage of Chinese technology and Siamese ascetics. More than 150 pieces of bencharong and related objects in other materials made exclusively for Siam in the 18th and 19th centuries have been assembled from private collections and galleries exclusively for this event, which is curated by ceramics historian Dawn F Rooney.

The exhibition is the first to be held on bencharong since 1977 when the National Museum Bangkok held a show based on its collection. The exhibition is divided into 12 quintessentially Siamese vignettes that provide a glimpse into the Siamese court life when bencharong was used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Didactic panels in Thai and English introduce each of the vignettes such as Dining in the Palace, Himaphan Forest Creatures and Celestial Beings, and Tea Time. Many pieces are from private collections and being shown for the first time and related objects in other materials that mirror bencharong forms and motifs are also presented. The original antique maps, town plans, prints, and cover pages from French publications put bencharong into a historical and cultural context.

Some rare pieces not to be missed in this exhibition are shards excavated in Jingdezhen, China that are being exhibited here for the first time. These provide the first and only evidence that at least some bencharong was enamelled in Jindezhen, rather than Guangzhou where most of the enamelling was done. The exhibition also includes several pieces from a royal collection such as a shrine bedecked with a 15-piece set of bencharong.

“Bencharong is porcelain and requires two firings, or three if gold is used; the motifs and forms are made-to-order exclusively for Siam. The exotic and lavishness of bencharong is seen in the dense, detailed decoration that covers the entire piece, the flamboyant motifs and the vibrant colours reflect the Thais love of nature, art, and life,” curator Rooney says.

Visit http://www.RiverCityBangkok.com for further information.

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Travels through Yaowarat

Published January 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30362203

Travels through Yaowarat

Art January 14, 2019 13:13

By The Nation

Bangkok-based British photographer Yvan Cohen will present his journey through Bangkok’s Chinatown in a photo exhibition “Chinatown” at River City Bangkok from February 1 to March 31.

Cohen’s career as a photojournalist spans more than three decades, working mainly in Asia, His work has been published in a wide array of international publications including covers for Time magazine and The New York Times, for whom he worked regularly for many years.

As a resident of Bangkok, he has watched the city going through multiple changes. However, Chinatown has retained its unique traits and never pretends to be anything else. Ordinary people who live and work in this district are proud of its authenticity.

“My journey through Chinatown is a personal odyssey – a visual exploration of Bangkok through photographs echoing stories and history full of culture. It is home to vibrant communities.

“I started with my enthusiasm for the area as well as a passion for playing with light and shadow. This district looks like a theatrical scenography that keeps changing over 10 years. I feel related to it and it becomes my duty to preserve memories for this community before they disappear.

“The MRT (metro) route and arrivals of new business are now affecting Chinatown’s identities and I worry that life as it is today will become just memories in the next 10 years. What makes it unique is its ordinariness and authenticity. It is rare to find in Bangkok. This city of materialism is filled with emerging evolution that has rendered it soulless.” said Cohen.

Cohen will give a talk about his work on February 2 at 2pm free of charge. Reserve your seat at https://goo.gl/tTuR9n.

Cohen has been working as a videographer and director of photography for local and international television networks. He is also a co-founder of the online photo service http://www.LightRocket.com. Check out his archive work at http://www.YvanCohen.com.

Where the exhibits speak loud than words

Published January 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30362093

Components of “Trump the Game”, a boardgame themed around Donald Trumps’s real estate business, originally released in 1989 and then again in 1990, on display at the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Components of “Trump the Game”, a boardgame themed around Donald Trumps’s real estate business, originally released in 1989 and then again in 1990, on display at the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden.

Where the exhibits speak loud than words

Art January 14, 2019 01:00

By Agence France-Presse
Helsingborg, Sweden

Sweden’s “Museum of Failure” features the Trump board game

CASED in glass and lit up by neon lights, the Donald Trump board game, the plastic bicycle, an electric beauty mask, bottles of Green Ketchup and a host of other unlikely innovations have found fame again in Sweden’s Museum of Failure.

The museum, one floor of a cultural centre in the coastal town of Helsingborg, is the work of psychologist Dr Samuel West, a 44-year-old Californian who used to research how to make big companies more innovative.

“I was looking for a new way to communicate research findings and stimulate a discussion and interest in the whole concept of learning from failure and I thought an exhibit would be a fun way to do that,” West says.

A visitor looks at a display on unsuccessful technological products, including the Twitter Peek, a handheld device that only supported Twitter, at the Museum of Failure exhibition./AFP

Launching in the summer of 2017 with support from the Swedish Innovation Fund, the exhibition is made up of items that West collected and that were donated to him by visitors.

A steady stream of visitors stop by the case housing “Trump: The Game”, where players trade real estate under the watchful eye of the game’s namesake, rolling dice on which the number six has been replaced by a “T” because “Trump always wins,” West explains.

Players handle sums of money no smaller than $10 million (Bt330 million) – “because everyone’s a millionaire in Trump world”.At the exhibition’s entrance, a spooky plastic mask gazes out at visitors from inside a case – a beauty product released by a US company in the 1990s that was supposed to reduce wrinkles with electricity.

Bemused members of the public look at a Swedish bicycle released in 1981 built from plastic that turned out not to be sturdy enough to support its rider, as well as Heinz’s Green Ketchup and Coca-Cola’s coffee-flavoured drink, the Coke BlaK.

Components of “Trump  the Game”, a boardgame themed around Donald Trumps’s real estate business, originally released in 1989 and then again in 1990, on display at the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden. /AFP

Having chanced upon the museum after visiting a photography exhibition on another floor, one visitor from France found West’s collection of unlikely innovations uplifting.

“I think you have to try everything,” says Claudine Cochet, a photographer from near Paris.

“You have to try and after you can talk it over.”

The Museum has turned out to be an unexpected hit for curator West, with visiting exhibits in Los Angeles and Toronto.

West’s success in celebrating unsuccessful innovations has brought him fame in the seaside town where he started out, as he found out one morning when he went to get breakfast at a nearby cafe.

“These people come in and shout ‘Hey! It’s Doctor Failure!’” he laughs. “It’s cool. Someone’s got to be Doctor Failure.”

The Museum of Failure was upping sticks to move to Shanghai after closing in Sweden on Saturday.

Ancient art, Modern media

Published January 12, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30362074

  • The “Summer Lotus” interactive sensory installation presents a scene of blossoming pond flowers with elements inspired by the painting “Lotuses in the Wind at Taiye” by Feng Tayu of the Song Dynasty.
  • With a VR headset, a visitor can be immersed in the details of the classic 1295 painting “Autumn Colours on the Qiao and Hua Mountains” by Zhao Mengfu from the Yuan dynasty.
  • The reproduction of the masterpiece “Up the River During Qingming” painted by five court artists in 1736 is on display together with the highresolution projection of the work. Some scenes are presented in vivid animated forms.

Ancient art, Modern media

big read January 12, 2019 01:00

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend

River City’s Galleria brings the priceless treasures of Taipei’s National Palace Museum to Bangkok

MORE THAN 10 metres in length, the ink and colour on silk handscroll “Up the River During Qingming” painted by five court artists in 1736 during the Qing dynasty depicts numerous tiny figures rendered with fine and lively brushstrokes representing the lifestyle of common folk. It is one of the treasures belonging to Taipei’s National Palace Museum and its spectacular detail, which took nine years to complete, more than merits close attention.

Today, thanks to an exhibition that shares the name of the painting, Thais can enjoy this work as well as a range of other Chinese art without having to travel to Taiwan. The display has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the National Palace Museum (NPM) and River City Bangkok that brings the art to the city through innovative digital technology.

The reproduction of the masterpiece “Up the River During Qingming” painted by five court artists in 1736 is on display together with the highresolution projection of the work. Some scenes are presented in vivid animated forms.

The reproduction of the painting “Up the River During Qingming” is presented in a glass cabinet and through a gigantic high-resolution projector that seamlessly unfolds the long scroll painting on the wall, inviting spectators to fully immerse themselves in the lives of the people along the banks of the Bian River in the Northern Song capital of Bianjing at the height of Qingming festival.

Some scenes depicted in the painting are also transformed into vividly animated versions, among them a wedding ceremony parade, an open-air performance, the bustling Rainbow Bridge market and boats on the shores of Lake Jinming. The result is a fascinating meeting of traditional and contemporary models of presentation.

A part of the painting “Up the River During Qingming”

“This is the NPM’s first large-scale new media art exhibition in Southeast Asia and the first show on which the NPM has worked with the private sector overseas,” says Linda Cheng, managing director of River City Bangkok.

“The project took about a year to complete and is curated by the NPM team to present ancient Chinese arts in a modern way by transforming the museum’s important works into multimedia installations and integrating education for visitors of all ages.”

Now in its 33rd year, River City Bangkok has long been perceived as a venue for showcasing and auctioning antique works. In 2016, the complex started a major programme of renovations to help it embrace contemporary art and the second floor is now home to the new 1,200-square-metre Galleria that debuts with this major show.

“In order to connect with the urban riverside terrain along the Chao Phraya River in Thailand, the exhibition focuses on the theme of ancient riverside cultures and lifestyles and presents the animated Qing court version of ‘Up the River During Qingming’ as the centrepiece,” Cheng explains.

The NPM has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts starting in the Northern Song period and extending through the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

With a VR headset, a visitor can be immersed in the details of the classic 1295 painting “Autumn Colours on the Qiao and Hua Mountains” by Zhao Mengfu from the Yuan dynasty. 

There are also four VR headsets for visitors to don and become virtually immersed in the details of another masterpiece “Autumn Colours on the Qiao and Hua Mountains” painted in 1295 by Zhao Mengfu – a famous writer, painter and calligrapher of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368).

The immersive virtual experience leads visitors to roam around Mengfu’s dry strokes, light ink and delicate blue-green colouring of the mountain scenery in Shandong, the houses of common folks, the ancient Yellow River and the pine trees, as well as well as mingle with deer, all with high-fidelity sound. Promoting the incorporation of calligraphy with painting, Mengfu created this work for his close friend Zhou Mi by depicting the scenery of Mi’s ancestral land.

A visitor with a VR headset tries to virtually trace calligraphy. 

Inspired by the famous cursive script masterpiece “Autobiography” by the monk Huaisu in the Tang dynasty (618-907), the virtual reality installation “The Spirit of Autobiography” captures the changing rhythm in Huaisu’s brushwork as the calligraphic text transforms rapidly from dragons and snakes into a storm. A dancer gracefully interprets the speed and strength behind the calligraphy. Finally, a virtual brush allows users to trace the calligraphy process until the lines are exact.

The interactive tabletop showcases 12 priceless works from the collection of Taipei’s National Palace Museum, on which visitors are able to magnify images so they can see the finest details.

Since the NPM’s ancient paintings and calligraphy are fragile and difficult to preserve, the museum has employed new multimedia technologies including multi-resolution and multi-touch so modern viewers can easily enjoy ancient arts. At the exhibition, the interactive tabletop installation showcases 12 priceless works from the collection that visitors are able to magnify or minimise to better view the details.

The reproductions of the 12 works are also on display in an adjacent showcase. Among the masterpieces is “Children at Play in an Autumnal Garden” – a hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk by Su Hanchen in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) – that vividly depicts children playing spinning games in front of a landscape of chrysanthemums and hibiscus in autumn.

Another highlight is “A Palace Concert” – a hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk by anonymous artist in Tang Dynasty –illustrating the women’s quarters at the inner palace during a banquet. Although the painting has no signature, the plump features of the figures along with the painting method used for a multitude of different hairstyles and clothing all accord with the aesthetic fashions of Tang dynasty ladies.

The “Summer Lotus” interactive sensory installation presents a scene of blossoming pond flowers with elements inspired by the painting “Lotuses in the Wind at Taiye” by Feng Tayu of the Song Dynasty.

Inspired by “Lotuses in the Wind at Taiye” – album leaf, ink and colours on silk by Feng Ta-yu in the Song Dynasty – the “Summer Lotus” interactive sensory installation presents a scene of summer lotuses in a pond with charming details depicted by the painter. Stepping on the floor, visitors will feel as if they’re walking on the surface of a pond as every step creates a ripple in the water amid scenes of swimming fish and flying butterflies.

The reproduction of the painting “Lotuses in the Wind at Taiye” by Feng Tayu

The reproduction of “Lotuses in the Wind at Taiye” is also displayed in the next glass cabinet. The artist filled almost two-thirds of the painting with short and tall lotuses growing from the water’s surface. The blank area above represents the sky, where a swallow and a pair of butterflies fly about. The lower area devoted to the water reveals three pairs of water birds shuttling among the plants, the surface filled with duckweed of varying sizes making for a vivid and lively scene.

“Castiglione’s Virtual Flowers”, an augmented reality installation conceived by Professor Jeffrey Shaw, turns Qing court artist Giuseppe Castigli- one’s two still-life masterpieces “Gathering of Auspicious Signs” and “Vase of Flowers” into life-size virtual 3D illusions. Viewers can use a digital tablet to discover the virtual vases and their flowers, which appear on top of two pedestals, in a 360-degree view. Reproductions of the two paintings are also featured.

AR technology is the gateway to 360-degree insights about two masterpieces by Qing court artist Giuseppe Castiglione, “Gathering of Auspicious Signs” and “Vase of Flowers” 

Castiglione, who was also known by his Chinese name Lang Shih-ning, was a Jesuit missionary from Italy whose paintings were greatly appreciated by the Qing emperors. He earned a reputation for his intricate composition and compelling realism that fused Chinese and Western techniques.

The reproduction of “Gathering of Auspicious Signs”

His handscroll “Gathering of Auspicious Signs” features an underglazed blue vase with stalks of twin lotus blossoms and pods as well as plants with symbolically auspicious meanings while “Vase of Flowers” depicts a blue vase with a twin stalk of peony blossoms. The two works are very similar in terms of the techniques of colour usage and the shadow, in which even the lustre of the glaze on the porcelain has been observed and intricately rendered.

Inspired by Giuseppe Castiglione’s paintings “A Hundred Horses” and “Ten Fine Hounds”, visitors can colour drawings of the animals and upload their efforts to see the creatures come to life on screen.

Also inspired by another two of his masterpieces “A Hundred Horses” and “Ten Fine Hounds”, the exhibition presents the “Castiglione’s Magical Horses” multimedia installation encouraging visitors to colour the available plain horse and hound drawings. Once finished, visitors can have their coloured drawings uploaded onto a digital screen and wait to see the horses and hounds move around in an immersive illustrated riverbank landscape.

 “Marvels within the Sea” is an immersive marine experience in which you can see creatures emerging from the oceans.

A dim room houses “Marvels within the Sea” – the multi-user interactive installation inspired by “Sea Miscellany” and “The Manual of Sea Oddities” by Nie Huang, a biologist and painter in the Qing dynasty. Here visitors are encouraged to sprawl on the beanbags and interact with the exhibit by pointing a torch at the hanging canvas.

This will create an immersive marine experience, in which the spectators can hear the roar of the waves, feel the swirling currents and see creatures emerging from dark and mysterious oceans. The application “Marvels within the Sea” is also available for free download to learn more about each creature.

Three animated films whose characters are inspired by the classic Chinese paintings are also screened with subtitles in Thai, Chinese and English.

“Appreciation of art is balm for the mind and we try to combine entertainment and education through multimedia presentations that are easily accessible for people of all ages. In April, River City Bangkok plans to bring in a multimedia exhibition allowing visitors to explore new angles of works by the world’s famous artists from Kandinsky and Monet to Van Gogh and Klimt in a three-dimensional display synchronised with music,” says Cheng.

ART FOR ALL AGES

“Up the River During Qingming” continues until February 12 at the Galleria on the second floor of the River City Bangkok, next to Si Phraya pier. Boat transfer is accessible from BTS Saphan Taksin.

Tickets costs Bt350 for adult and Bt200 for students with ID cards. Free for children under four years old. They’re available at http://www.ThaiticketMajor.com and at the door.

To celebrate the Children’s Day today, the under-15s enjoy free access all weekend.

Call (02) 237 0077-8, or visit http://www.RiverCityBangkok.com.

Portrait of hell

Published January 9, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361766

Portrait of hell

Art January 08, 2019 01:00

By The Nation

Contemporary art gallery Richard Koh Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur is showing the latest collection of works by Malaysian artist Yeoh Choo Kuan in the exhibition “Streaming Mountain” from January 10 to 30.

 Although the 31-year-old artist was trained within the traditions of western art, his art practice has always been strongly rooted in eastern aesthetics. The influence of Chinese ink aesthetics and ideology can be traced to his close proximity to a Chinese temple that he had frequented as a child. Yeoh understood this as a visual language employed to narrate stories of Buddhism. One of his strongest memories is of a book called the “Diyu” (the realm of the dead of “hell” in Chinese mythology) and left a strong impression on Yeoh.

“Diyu” is typically depicted as a subterranean maze with various courts to which souls are taken after death to atone for their sins committed on earth. The illustration of these atonements is often gruesome and graphic in nature. To many, depictions like these are a one-time look but interestingly, Yeoh found solace in them and for many years immersed himself in these books, oscillating between positive and negative emotions.

Abstract notions of violence and the flesh are prevalent in Yeoh’s practice and he has methodically investigated these abstractions in his previous two solo shows, “In the Flesh” in 2014 and “Live Leak” in 2017. “Streaming Mountain” is a culmination of these two previous exhibitions as both had emotionally primed the artist to rekindle and re-understand his admiration for “Diyu” illustrations. Upon this, Yeoh realised the uncanny resemblance of traditional Chinese landscape paintings – depicting “Shan Shui” (Mountain and Stream) – and the hellish landscapes of “Diyu”. It inspired Yeoh to paint his “Shan Shui” as a judgement court, rendered in monochrome and sequestered panels tucked between “Yin” and “Yang”, black and white, ascent and decay, literati and vulgar, pushing and tugging.

“Streaming” means “Liu” in Chinese, as in the painting process of slow dripping technique that acquires a “sense of time” in the state of flux. “Mountains” is “Shan” in Chinese, an allusion to the unyielding and construction of value. At its core, “Streaming Mountain” is a body of work measuring from the struggles within man’s value system, reconfiguring for new compatibility and extends the artist’s imagination towards the future.

Passion and profession

Published January 9, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361650

Tattoos are emerging from the shadows as young people like Ghada Atiaoui get inked and take up courses at the first tattoo school in North Africa and the Arab world. /AFP
Tattoos are emerging from the shadows as young people like Ghada Atiaoui get inked and take up courses at the first tattoo school in North Africa and the Arab world. /AFP

Passion and profession

Art January 07, 2019 01:00

By Agence France-Presse
Tunis

2,492 Viewed

Long despised, tattoos emerge from shadows in Tunisia

ONCE widespread in rural Tunisia, tattoos have long been considered vulgar and associated with convicts or the uneducated. But now they are emerging from the shadows as young people like Ghada Atiaoui get inked and take up courses at the first tattoo school in the Arab world.

The 19-year-old, who also studies tourism and hospitality, says she was drawn to the training by a “passion” for tattooing, but not only that.

“It’s an art and a profession of the future and it’s a field where there aren’t many women, which is a challenge for me,” says Atiaoui.

Tattoos are emerging from the shadows as young people like Ghada Atiaoui get inked and take up courses at the first tattoo school in North Africa and the Arab world. /AFP

Leaning over a piece of synthetic skin, she sketches out sophisticated geometric figures in Chinese ink before switching to a tattoo machine.

In her class, the eight other students, aged 19 to 31, also hope to graduate as professional tattoo artists. Currently, most tattooists in Tunisia work illegally without authorisation from the authorities, in a profession that has only emerged as such relatively recently.

“I’m enjoying myself with something I love,” says Sami Essid, his arms proudly adorned with green motifs.

The 31-year-old physiotherapist hopes to open a tattoo service inside his clinic.

The state-sanctioned tattoo school opened last month in the chic Tunis neighbourhood of La Marsa, the first of its kind in North Africa and the Arab world.

It was founded by Fawez Zahmoul, a renowned tattoo artist who fought for the authorisation and acceptance of the profession and also helped to establish a workers’ union.

The former engineer entered the field in 2006, going abroad to learn.

 Tunisian tattoo artist Fawez Zahmoul removes a tattoo from his client in his school in Tunis./AFP

Zahmoul, who also runs a tattoo parlour that was the first to be legalised in Tunisia, in 2016, says his goal is to share his knowhow.

It was a path that often saw him run into trouble, including being assaulted in the same year by four people who accused him of Freemasonry and selling Satanic services.

But “tattooing is no longer a problem as in the past in Tunisia, with the evolution of media in the world and the frequent sighting of tattooed stars and celebrities”.

Each Saturday and Sunday, for six months, his students are given lessons on hygiene and skills of the trade at a cost of 4,000 dinars (Bt43,500).

One of the teachers, Amine Labidi, says the school has opened a “new door” for tattoo enthusiasts in North Africa and the Arab world.

“In our day, we had a lot of trouble learning techniques and tips. I hope these new artists won’t face the same difficulties,” says Labidi, his body decorated with 40 tattoos including a flag of Tunisia.

“Arabs in general have not contributed much to the art of tattooing. We hope to add our contribution, with this school and with the generations we are training,” adds the 32-year-old.

For sociologist Abdessatar Sahbani, the growing popularity of tattoos in Tunisia reflects changes in society.

“A new type of tattoo is gaining ground today, influenced by Western techniques and trends,” he says.

This is also the result of a “crisis of values” and the domination that politicians have over public space which pushes segments of society to resort to “more daring” means of expression, he added.

Tunisia is also home to a form of tattooing known as “El-wcham” which is practised by secular Berbers for aesthetic reasons.

The symbols are etched onto the faces and bodies of Berbers using a blunt tool called the “mchelta”.

But religious leaders condemned it, and city folk regarded these traditional devices as backward, especially when the country embarked on modernisation after independence in 1956.

Tattooing also suffered from being associated with crime and prisons, where, in the 1970s, inmates often marked names on their bodies.

“Morals change. In a few years, it will no longer be perceived as something bad or stigmatising,” says Atiaoui.

But getting tattoos is still “something we do to rebel”, her teacher Labidi chips in.

“It has never been an accepted art, never, neither in the past nor in the present, nor in Tunisia nor elsewhere.”

Art and the body beautiful

Published January 9, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361651

Japanese tattoo artist Noriyuki Katsuta, a member of “Save Tattooing in Japan”, displays his tattoos as he poses for a photo at his studio in Tokyo. /AFP
Japanese tattoo artist Noriyuki Katsuta, a member of “Save Tattooing in Japan”, displays his tattoos as he poses for a photo at his studio in Tokyo. /AFP

Art and the body beautiful

Art January 07, 2019 01:00

By Agence France-Presse
Tokyo

2,881 Viewed

Tattoos still give Japan the needle as Olympics loom

WHEN MANA Izumi got her first tattoo at 18, she wasn’t trying to rebel or shatter any taboos – just copy Japanese pop diva Namie Amuro’s beach-bronze “surfer chick” look.

In Japan, where tattoos have for centuries been demonised for their association with criminals, former porn star Izumi turns heads with her copper tan, bleach-blonde bob, and an array of designs inked across half of her body.

“I wasn’t really an Amuro fan but I thought her tattoos were cute,” says the 29-year-old with a shrug.

“When my mum first saw my tattoo she burst into tears and I thought my dad was going to kill me.

“But I like being a bit different.”

Japanese tattoo artist Noriyuki Katsuta, a member of “Save Tattooing in Japan”, displays his tattoos as he poses for a photo at his studio in Tokyo. /AFP

Tattoos still provoke deep-rooted suspicion in Japan as the country prepares to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

People with body ink are refused entry to public swimming pools, bathing spots, beaches and often gyms, while visible body art can be harmful to job prospects.

“It’s pathetic the way people discriminate against tattoos,” Izumi says while getting a $500 (Bt16,000) Aztec skull inked onto her leg.

“People might think I look a little scary,” she adds, taking a drag on her cigarette. “But I don’t regret getting inked.”

Japan has long had a prickly relationship with tattoos.

Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi III works on a design for his customer Kazuhide Okumura at his studio in Yokohama./AFP

In the 17th century criminals were branded as a form of punishment, while today Japan’s yakuza mobsters pledge their loyalty with traditional, full-body “irezumi” tattoos.

As Japan opened up to the outside world in the 1800s, tattoos were outlawed – along with snake-charming and public nudity -–because the Japanese feared outsiders would think they were “primitive,” according to Brian Ashcraft, author of “Japanese Tattoos: History, Culture, Design”.

At the same time, European royalty would come to Japan to secretly get inked, so coveted were the country’s tattoo artists.

The ban lasted until 1948 when the occupying American forces lifted it but the stigma remains in Japan.

“They look at tattoos and they think ‘yakuza’ – instead of admiring the beauty of the art form,” Ashcraft says.

“Until that changes, tattooing will continue to exist in a grey zone.”

Japanese model Yuki displays her tattoos as she poses for a photo at a park in Tokyo./AFP

Authorities turn a blind eye to the ban for the most part but a recent crackdown involving several police raids and fines has plunged Japan’s tattoo industry into confusion.

Meanwhile, a potentially game-changing legal battle recently ended after Osaka tattooist Taiki Masuda was arrested in 2015 for violating an obscure law that dates back almost 70 years.

The 30-year-old was fined 300,000 yen (Bt87,600) under the Medical Practitioners’ Act, which forbids anyone other than a doctor from performing medical procedures.

A 2001 Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry notice ruled that tattooing was medical work because it involves needles, technically criminalising Masuda’s job.

He decided to fight the law and last month, a court overturned his previous guilty verdict after a lengthy and controversial appeal process.

“There’s no legal framework regulating the tattoo industry in Japan,” Masuda says. “Livelihoods are at stake – that’s why I had to fight it, to hopefully help legalise tattooing.”

Masuda’s struggle polarised opinion among Japanese tattooists, estimated to number as many as 3,000.

Noriyuki Katsuta, a member of “Save Tattooing in Japan”, a non-profit co-founded by Masuda, called his arrest “a human rights violation”.

But many older artists are fiercely protective of tattooing’s underground roots and resist the idea that it should become a legitimate profession.

“Tattoos should have a dash of the outlaw about them,” insisted Horiyoshi III, who slammed Masuda’s actions as “provocative” and unhelpful.

“It’s like adding pepper to noodles – if you just ate pepper it would be too hot, but as a spice it adds flavour.”

Katsuta estimates between 500,000 and a million Japanese – or one in every 100 or 200 people – have tattoos.

Japan’s squeamishness about tattoos will be put to the test at the Tokyo Olympics, and before that at next year’s Rugby World Cup, both set to bring an influx of foreign visitors – including athletes with body art.

“I don’t know how much the Olympics is actually going to change opinions,” says author Ashcraft, noting that Japanese television still blurs out tattoos.

“When people look at foreigners with tattoos they kind of see that as foreign culture.”

At the root of much of the prejudice towards tattoos in Japan is the ancient Confucian idea that defacing the body inherited from one’s parents is disrespectful, according to Ashcraft.

“I don’t think people are actively thinking that it’s dirty anymore,” he adds. “But I do think that |collective consciousness still lingers.”

Izumi has little time for such outdated arguments.

“Among my mum’s generation, anyone tattooed-up like me was thought to be yakuza,” she shrugs.

“But when people preach about spoiling the body my parents gave me, it really makes me sick. I don’t feel I have to explain myself to anyone.”

In celebration of identity

Published December 25, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361051

In celebration of identity

Art December 25, 2018 09:05

By The Nation

Richard Koh Fine Art is one of the world’s 90 leading galleries taking part in the upcoming Taipei New International Art Fair running from January 18-20 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre.

 The gallery, which will occupy Booth F08 in Hall 1, will present a group feature of works by Anne Samat, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Jason Wee and Trong Gia Nguyen.

Samat’s wall-mounted sculptures embrace and validate the tribes of the world. Informed by folklore and contemporary belief systems, these sculptures are anthropomorphised and assigned gender roles while focusing on materiality through the juxtaposition of domestic and industrial items removed from their arbitrary functions. Held together by the traditional art of Pua Kumbu weaving, these works conjugate the femininity of weaving with the masculinity of everyday and industrial objects and address the constant tussle with materiality and the self.

Expanding on this discussion of identity and gender, Bamadhaj surveys the role of politics and the injection of fear that further discriminates against the marginalised. Drawing upon mythology and her volunteering encounters at a homeless shelter for the trans and cisgendered, her charcoal paper collage portraitures are juxtaposed against a backdrop of serenity, a demonstration of justice for these identities suspended between their reality, hopes, fears and desires that are being endangered by the “othering” imposed upon them.

Making sense of personal identity within a global community, Jason Wee dives into an intimate query of his sexuality and self. Jason’s self-portraitures record bizarre moments of self-realisation, the artist depicted as the mythical cynophalic or lycan species that are considered to have less-than-human qualities in medieval times. The works depict crucial moments where the individual self-consciousness is formed through the maintaining of relationships or ideas, often motivated by fear or concern.

Read as modern folklore suspended in a moment of ascension or declension, Wee considers the estranged self through participation within a community and the persecution it entails.

Trong Gia Nguyen, meanwhile, looks inward to determine the structures that shape the social and personal self through mirror sculptures that record fragments. As a Vietnamese-American practicing in Ho Chi Minh, his work “Toi La Con Nguoi” (“I Am A Human Being”) is a subversion that hints at the interconnectedness between the individual self and the world at large. His works question the existence of these boundaries and the illusionary parameters they impose.

Moving beyond local bands and tribal organisations, these works come together to reaffirm the various identities and recognise the need for communal celebrations. They encourage transnational and transcultural contact in fostering camaraderie within the consciousness of a global community.

For more information, visit https://taipeidangdai.com/

From little woofers to little porkers

Published December 25, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361050

  • Feeding piglets at the Chaipattana Foundation’s Chaipat Park in Nakhon Pathom province./Courtesy of BACC
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn takes a photo of Dr Sumet Tantivejkul./Nation Photo
  • A gigantic photo of Lamunlamai was the first photo taken on January 1, 2018 and welcomed the Year of the Dog./Courtesy of BACC

From little woofers to little porkers

Art December 25, 2018 01:00

By KUPLUTHAI PUNGKANON,
WANWISA ROJSAENGRAT
THE NATION

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Brings her favourite photos to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre to welcome the year of the pig

A gigantic photo of an alert-looking Lamunlamai with her tongue hanging out greets the visitor to “Hello Puppy, Greetings Piggy”, the annual exhibition of photographs captured by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn that opened earlier this month at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Its caption reads: “She likes to sleep on the grass. If you say ‘take a photo’ then she will stay still,” which no doubt explains the “look at me” demeanour of this royal dog.

For the past decade, the Princess has graciously granted permission to exhibit her photographs as a source of knowledge for students and wider public. The 11th edition features the images she captured in 2017 and 2018, both at her residence, Sra Pathum Palace, and during her travels in Thailand and overseas. In all, 156 pictures are on show.

At the launch event last week, Princess Sirindhorn explained some of stories behind to the images, laughing as she noted that time goes by so fast that she has to record her memories in pictures.

The offerings to the guardian spirits and “GrandpaGrandma” spirits at Sra Pathum Palace./Nation Photo

 

“Everything changes constantly. Even in Sra Pathum Palace, where I have been living for more than 18 years, there are new discoveries to be made and photographed every day. Outside my home, changes can be seen everywhere, both in and outside of Thailand. Travelling aboard opens my eyes to so many new things, showing me that life is full of wonders every day. Some pictures were taken during the journeys themselves and, as the result, some are kind of blurred,” says the Princess.

The first photo of the year taken on January 1, 2018 was the picture of Lamunlamai and ushered in the year of the dog. She is the star of this year’s exhibition.

“Lamunlamai used to be quite aggressive but she’s better now. At night, she likes to eat a sandwich. When people offer her food, she’ll take it then drop it immediately,” the princess adds.

“She also likes people to speak to her in English. If you say ‘take a photo’, then she would stay still and poses nicely for you. She likes to put an act for a good image.”

Another highlight is “Our Leading Man”, a portrait of Dr Sumet Tantivejakul, the secretary general of the Chaipattana Foundation under the late King Bhumibol’s patronage.

“Dr Sumet promises to come to the grand opening of the exhibition every year. So, I’ve been taking his photo since he was very hot. Now, of course, he’s less hot,” the Princess adds with a broad smile.

A photo that grabs the attention shows the daily food offering to the “Guardian Spirits” and the “Grandpa – Grandma” spirits at Sra Pathum Palace. “About four years ago, I dreamt of these two elderly spirits. They came to my room dressed in casual clothes and told me they were here to look after me. So I like to offer them something in return to show my gratitude,” she notes.

Other photographs that draw the eye include a shot of custard apples grown in a pot at Sra Pathum Palace, and one of Mee Kao, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s dog, happily welcoming guests at Chitralada Palace. “Her Majesty’s royal dog can sit in this position (with two paws raised) for a very long time. She is a welcoming dog and likes to guard Her Majesty. In the past, she used to wear shoes but not anymore. If we leave without telling her, she’s not at all happy,” the Princess says.

“The one that shows piglets being fed was taken at the Chaipattana Foundation’s Chaipat Park in Nakhon Pathom province. It’s said that the dwarf pig has the same IQ as a dog and I often wonder how on earth this is measured! What is true is that these pigs need careful raising as unless you keep an eye on their diet, they can pile on up to 200 kilograms in weight. This pig is being fed with goat’s milk,” says Princess Sirindhorn.

Who woke me? Hua Kabuan gives a big yawn./Courtesy of BACC

 

Bugs, birds, millipedes, snails, toads, trees, lotuses and other flowers also make it into the collection of photos, which are also available in book form, the preface to which notes that they, like everything else, change from hour to hour, day to day and year to year.

“Bob gets comfortable” is the title of a photo showing an elderly cat called Bobby catching forty winks. “Bobby has some teeth but no canines. He has kidney disease but that hasn’t dampened his gangster character,” the Princess explains.

Another two photographs feature a royal cat called Hua Kabuan (Locomotive) at Sra Pathum Palace. “The vet named this cat, Hua Kabuan when he attached the microchip. Her Royal Highness Princess Bajarakitiyabha tells me that there’s now a mobile app that can trace pets so there’s no need for a microchip.”

One photograph taken from a helicopter during Princess Sirindhorn’s visit to the South of the country shows the Thepa River in Songkhla province. Another, titled “Soldiers and Seeds” was snapped at Somdej Phra Ekathitsarot Army Base in Phitsanulok while “Farmed Frogs by Soldiers” was taken at Pho Khun Pha Muang Army Base in Petchabun province.

There are many photographs featuring the culture and history of the countries making up the Balkan Peninsula, such as Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro as well as a particularly striking image, “Emerging Dragons” taken at Caerphilly Castle in Wales.

“There are many beautiful paintings too and it would take so much time to learn about them,” says Princess Sirindhorn.

The exhibition also displays a lot of photographs taken during the royal visit to Greece including snaps of Athens and the Parthenon, all of them, the Princess notes, the most popular spots for visitors to take photos.

In China, Princess Sirindhorn photographed her signature on the piano at the Han Meilin Private Museum. Han Meilin, she explains, is a very famous and Chinese artist. “When he was invited to design a stamp for the Year of the Monkey, he painted a monkey family with parent and two baby monkeys. Later the government issued a new law allowing Chinese people to have two children. Now he’s designed a stamp featuring a pig family with three piglets and reporters are wondering if the government will pass another new law allowing people to have three children. I guess we will have to wait and see,” she says with a smile.

In the preface of the souvenir book, Princess Sirindhorn writes that she hopes her friends, old and new, and even the ones she has never met, will be pleased with the photos from this year’s exhibition.

With a smile like Lamunlamai’s, we’re pretty sure they will.

  •   “Hello Puppy, Greetings Piggy” by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is at the Main Gallery on the ninth floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until March 10.
  •  Admission is free. The BAAC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 9pm. (Close on Monday)
  •  The “Hello Puppy, Greetings Piggy” book, in Thai and English, is available at the BACC’s shop and at Chulalongkorn Bookstore for Bt900.

World-class acts not far from home

Published December 25, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/art/30361022

Multi-national dancers with the NDT1 performed four diverse works by four international choreographers at the recent da:ns festival. (Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay)
Multi-national dancers with the NDT1 performed four diverse works by four international choreographers at the recent da:ns festival. (Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay)

World-class acts not far from home

Art December 24, 2018 11:00

By Pawit Mahasarinand
Special to The Nation
Singapore

A well-balanced quadruple bill programme meets all the da:ns audience’s expectations

AS PART of the Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay’s annual “da:ns festival’s” centre-stage programme, the main company of The Hague-based Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT1) made a rare visit to our region, the first in more than a decade. Just as with my previous experiences with their works, I was reminded that a dance work is not only about choreography and dancers’ skills; other elements, like set, costume, lighting and music or sound, are also, if not equally, important. In others words, it needs to be theatrical to work its full effect. I also observed that members of the company looked more diverse than before.

Multi-national dancers with the NDT1 performed four diverse works by four international choreographers at the recent da:ns festival. (Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay)

NDT’s artistic director Paul Lightfoot and his co-choreographer and wife Sol Leon’s “Shoot the Moon” started the evening on a high note. To Philip Glass’s music, five dancers told relationship stories in three rooms set on a revolving stage, accompanied by a screen onto which close-up live video images were projected. The audience not only witnessed them but also felt their emotions and related them to what has happened in our lives.

Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay

 

After an intermission, seven dancers performed “Woke Up Blind” by German choreographer Marco Goecke. While the piece was set to two very contrasting songs by Jeff Buckley – the soulful “You and I” and the rapid “The Way Young Lovers Do” – the dancers fit right into both, much as if it were the same song, showing both their skills and virtuosity.

Then came the evening’s most delightful surprise – Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s “The Statement”, in which music was replaced by a sound recording of Jonathan Young’s one-act play of the same title.

Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay

 

In a keenly lit corporate office setting, four dancers who really know how to act became characters with larger-than-life gestures and the play, which is about a power struggle, was a special treat for the eyes and at times hilarious.

After another intermission, Lightfoot and Leon’s “Stop-Motion” sent the audience home with smiles. With the video of their daughter playing on a large screen downstage left, this personal tale addressed the connection and merging of past, present and future to the accompaniment of Max Richter’s melancholic music.

Photo/Bernie Ng/Esplanadetheatres on the Bay

 

It’s noteworthy that while the house on both evenings was not full to capacity, the audience, both from Singapore and overseas, was enthusiastic and included among more

than a few spectators who had watched exactly the same quadruple programme presented at London’s Sadler’s Wells a few months earlier. This perhaps proves that producers and presenters shouldn’t always assume that Southeast Asian audiences only want to watch classical ballet on the grand stage. After all, it’s 2018, and, in this Internet era, we know what our European counterparts are watching and we’d like to see some of that here too.

The writer’s trip was fully supported by CultureLink. Special thanks to Goh Ching Lee, James Tay, Hoo Kuan Cien and Isabelle Yee.

 

In celebration of the Chinese new year, Esplanade will host the annual “Huayi—Chinese Festival of Arts” from February 15-24, with dance, theatre and music from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the host country. Highlights include Beijing Li Liuyi Theatre Studio’s “Hamlet”, M.O.V.E. Theatre’s music theatre “Dear John” and Khalil Fong’s concert.

For more details, visit http://www.Esplanade.com.

Keep track of NDT at http://www.ndt.nl.

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