CONTEMPORARY ART

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Science looks at art

Published October 3, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Science-looks-at-art-30294043.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

Aspiring anthropologist Kamolwan Boonphokaew clears up some of the mystery behind conceptual art

Contemporary art meets venerable anthropology in the remarkable exhibition “Human AlieNation” at the Silpakorn Art Centre in central Bangkok. The curator is Kamolwan Boonphokaew, an anthropology PhD candidate at Thammasat University. The four participating Thai artists are all internationally acclaimed but have never before shown their work at the country’s leading art institute.

Kamolwan, who spent eight months preparing the exhibition, challenges viewers to take a fully documented anthropological look at 18 videos, sculptures and mixed-media works by Chitti Kasemkitvatana, Nopchai Ungkavatanapong, Nipan Oranniwesna and Wantanee Siripattananuntakul, and the results are often surprising.

While some of the pieces are site-specific – made for the art centre – others have earned praise abroad and yet are being seen in Thailand for the first time.

“For viewers who aren’t especially familiar with art, seeing contemporary art can be particularly difficult,” Kamolwan acknowledges. “But once you become used to thinking critically and reading the inherent messages, you can appreciate it more easily and understand the meanings, both tangible and intangible.”

The show’s theme is the current condition of Thai society amid social and political transition. Kamolwan notes that society has been deeply polarised ever since the 2006 coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with the opposite sides of the political divide regarding each other as “aliens”. We are a society of self-alienated aliens, the “alien nation” of the show’s punning title.

Even within the Thai art scene, she notes, there are groups of artists that are estranged from one another. She deliberately sought out “non-mainstream artists” to interpret the meaning of “alienation” in their own way.

They themselves became anthropologists, undertaking their own socio-cultural surveys, synthesising the results and creating visual cultural objects based on that.

Kamolwan takes her primary cues from Australian anthropologist Caroline Turner’s book “Art and Social Change”, which examines contemporary art across Asia.

“As an anthropologist in training, my approach has to be that of an outsider in an unfamiliar world,” Kamolwan writes in the show’s catalogue. “My interest in fine art stems from my realisation of its potential and the artist’s role in shaping society. Turner wrote that artists and their work can ‘transcend and perhaps even change society, as well as reflect its tragedies’.

“I think the visual arts and anthropology, despite the different working processes and approaches, share one fundamental commonality – their ability to reflect situations and movements that are occurring in society. Anthropologists typically explore small groups of humans and compare them with the larger society. Artists endeavour to reflect situations and how they impact individuals, and those reflections can be connected to society as well. They then transform the reflections through the form of either a tangible or intangible object.”

Whereas exhibitions of contemporary art usually let viewers draw their own interpretations, “Human AlieNation” is presented with copious explanatory material from Kamolwan’s research. She interviewed the artists at length about their methodology and inspirations and photographed them at work. “Interviewing and documenting are the key tools in anthropology studies,” she says.

Wantanee is screening three videos. “III” (made in 2014) depicts a farmer searching for something, his eyes watering because he’s peeling onions. “When she sings a voiceless song” (2015) has a middle-class woman waging a lonely fight for survival. “The Conductor” (2016) features an orchestra conductor without an orchestra.

The videos portray people of different social status “in accordance with the changing chapters of Thai history”, Kamolwan explains. They’re engaged in three different actions – searching, struggling and finding order in the dark.

“In both society and the art world there’s now an effort to revive the peer-group mechanism based on political ideology,” she says. “The act of social labelling, categorising and delineation as ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’ is experiencing a resurgence. The consequence is the promotion of the voice of the in-group to be heard louder, while that of all others is increasingly ignored.”

Nopchai is showing his signature neon sculptures. The installation “Re-touching the negatives” lets visitors play with film negatives that show people of all ages in silhouette when projected with the help of a “magic lantern”.

“For Nopchai, stories, statuses and perceptions towards surrounding objects (and possibly also people) are the results of social production,” the catalogue says. “Being an object, in his view, engages not only the matter of physicality, but also hidden significance.”

Chitti examines ordinary people who are disenfranchised from mainstream history, incorporating his personal experience at a northern monastery and references to cities, art institutes and history. He reinterprets historical events, some of which are widely dismissed has having never occurred.

“One Moment into Another: An Atmosphere Immersion” comprises three works on paper attached to the poster for the Silpakorn exhibition.

“Bringing an historical incident that happened in one place to another place (such as an art gallery) is a form of rewriting the history of people in the past,” Kamolwan explaines.

Nipan explores the actual space at the Silpakorn art centre with a travelogue that reflects on how art is created. His journey follows the route that a gallery janitor took back to her hometown in Myanmar for a visit, beginning on Koh Song in Ranong.

“These people are referred to as migrant labourers, foreign labourers, aliens and so on,” Kamolwan observes. “This status of ‘other’ derives not from their own self-definition but through the imposition of others’ definitions. By attempting to experience an existence on this border between two states, Nipan’s feelings of fear and of being estranged from the familiar have been evoked. This reflects the imprinted images of things.”

Chitti and Nipan’s complicated conceptual art is difficult to comprehend and they prefer that viewers make their own interpretations. That might be partiallywhy viewers feel alienated from modern art. What Kamolwan has done with her extensive documentation is to try and bridge the gap between artist and viewer.

It thus becomes easier to understand the running man in Nipan’s video “Signal” as representing a dialogue between the gallery space and its history. And what emerges from the interview with Chitti – one of the key shapers of contemporary art – provides insight into how the art form developed in Thailand.

SHOW ENDS ON SATURDAY

    • The exhibition “Human AlieNation” ends this Saturday with an academic discussion at 1.30pm involving Kamolwan, Silpakorn University art historian Thanavi Chotpradit and anthropology lecturers Boonlert Visetpricha and Rachod Satrawut from Thammasat and Prince of Songkla universities, respectively.
    • Fore information visit |www. art-centre.su.ac.th.

 

Dialogues and meditation

Published October 3, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Dialogues-and-meditation-30293373.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

Orawan Arunrak, recipient of a prestigious KfW Stiftung residency, shows her work before leaving for Germany

Travel has been very much part of Orawan Arunrak’s life over the last few years. The young artist has enjoyed residencies in Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Okinawa, Japan and a few remote cities in Thailand and the experiences have, as one would expect, changed her outlook both on life and the way she expresses herself in her art.

The fruits of her artistic practice are currently on view in “Zones and Verbs”, a solo exhibition at new gallery Cartel in Narathiwas Soi 22.

“Zones and Verbs” features a video installation, a huge painting, a series of drawings and photography sets, each of which is displayed with her hand-written essays in Thai and English explaining the artistic process and her inspiration.

During her travels, Orawan, 31, frequently engaged with local communities in an attempt to merge art with non-art. She has crossed time zones and cultures and created new artistic dialogues through her exhibitions in Southeast Asia. Living in new environments and observing life around her have also encouraged the artist to learn more about herself through meditation.

The first work the visitor sees on walking into the small gallery is Orawan’s installation: three television monitors that document meditative practices, all in black and white. One screen depicts young novices at Wat Maharaj in Ratchaburi undertaking their early morning task of helping to prepare the monk’s robes, which she captured in 2015. The second, filmed in 2014, shows a boat daily transporting people in Maha Sarakham from pier to temple for making merit.

The last one shows her current work – scenes from the video entitled “10.00pm at the Erawan Brahma Shire”, which depicts tourists with flowers and incense sticks in their hands paying homage to the shrine just as it is closing for the night. All around them cleaners throw discarded flowers and sticks into bins and clean the ground. The short video of this daily ritual has a meditative feel. For the artist, “cleaning praying” symbolises the process of cleansing.

Nearby is her meditative painting depicting the spiral turning around the pole. Orawan created this piece while on a retreat at the Buddhhadasa Indapanno Archive in Bangkok this June. The artist stuck to a strict schedule during her stay, performing the morning and evening chants at 7.30am and 5.30pm and painting from 10am to 4pm every day for 30 days.

One corner of the space is home to Orawan’s series of drawings “Keeping Waiting Hiding”, which depict landscapes in Japan and Sri Lanka, both of which she visited last year. The landscapes have a lonely feel. One shows Kathurugoda Viharaya, an ancient Buddhist temple in Chunnakam, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. Another depicts Gin Ten Gai market without any people. Her notes explain that “Keeping Waiting Hiding” relates to waiting for the future and expecting something new while still yearning for the meaningful existence of the past.

The new construction sites in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka are represented through the medium of photography on the theme “Growing Changing”. One shot depicts a mountain of sand on the way to Buddha Park in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A similar sand mountain is spotted in front of one street in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna district and yet another at Diamond Island in Phnom Penh. In Vietnam, she captures the view from Thu Thiem Bridge in Ho Chi Minh City, juxtaposing a new construction site against the background of skyscrapers.

“Growing Changing represents the process of building and accumulating prosperity,” she notes.

After the show, Orwan is flying to Berlin where to take part in a one-year residency through KfW Stiftung scholarship from the 2016-2017 at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien.

More to see

– “Zone and Verbs” ends on Thursday at Cartel gallery. The compound in Narathiwas Soi 22, once a warehouse, is also home to Tentacles, an art space, studio, cafe and bar, and Ver Gallery.

– “Ten Places in Tokyo” by Sutthirat Supaparinya is showing at Ver Gallery until September 24.

– “Three Cornered World” by Pam Virada Banjurtrungkajorn is showing at Tentacles until September 4.

– Find out more at Facebook/vergallery and Facebook/tentaclesinc

 

Illusions and camouflage

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Illusions-and-camouflage-30292820.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

Emma Hack draws on a model during a live performance that recreates a painting by the 18th-century genre painter Kim Hongdo at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

Emma Hack draws on a model during a live performance that recreates a painting by the 18th-century genre painter Kim Hongdo at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

'Vreeland’s Cockatoo – Birds of a Feather' by Emma Hack. Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

‘Vreeland’s Cockatoo – Birds of a Feather’ by Emma Hack. Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

'Oriental Bouquet Cradled Finch – Utopia' by Heck Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

‘Oriental Bouquet Cradled Finch – Utopia’ by Heck Photo/Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

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Body painter Emma Hack covers her models in wallpaper art

Australian artist Emma Hack paints on a model’s body until it perfectly aligns with the intricate, colourful patterns of the wallpaper behind the model.

In other work, she perfectly adjusts the contours of her models to match the detailed patterns of flowers and animals.

The artist’s work – captured in photographs -has been exhibited in major cities around the world, including New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. She is holding her first solo exhibition |in Korea at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul until |Oct. 30.

Hack rose to international fame in 2011, when she collaborated with Belgian musician Gotye on his music video “Somebody That I Used to Know.” The music video, which has amassed more than 803 million views, features Gotye body-painted by Hack to match the colour block patterns of the background wall.

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For the opening of her Seoul show, Hack spent seven hours demonstrating her art and recreated a lotus painting by the 18th century Korean painter Kim Hong-do with a Korean contemporary dancer.

“It was an honour to recreate Kim Hong-do’s work. The result was beautiful and my model was perfect as the lotus,” the artist said later.

A former makeup artist, Hack took her makeup skills to a new level when she won a body painting championship in 2001. Inspired by a German model and artist called Veruschka, who depicted herself body-painted against a series of rustic wall settings, Hack began painting on bodies based on wallpaper designs by the late Australian interior designer Florence Broadhurst.

“I love Broadhurst’s oriental and Australian designs,” she explains. “I feel connected to this style of painting and find oriental mythology very interesting. I have travelled throughout Asia and love the motifs and designs.”

The Savina exhibition features a total of 49 photographs by Hack that represent major series by the artist from 2005 to 2010. In the “Wallpaper” series from 2005, Hack made her models stand out visually by leaving a few parts of their bodies unpainted, which gave off a fashion photo vibe. In the following series, she began to hide her models by completely blending them into the wallpaper backdrops.

In her “Birds of a Feather” series, the contours of her models are difficult to make out against the strong, bright flower-patterned backdrops. Upon closer inspection, the models can be seen holding exotic birds such as peacocks, cockatoos and crows.

Hack frequently features birds in her series as an environmental statement that emphasises harmony between life and nature. In her 2009 “Native Mandala” series, she featured Australia’s best-known animals -kangaroos, lizards and cockatoos – held by her models who are perfectly blended into the wallpaper.

Looking at the final images, it’s hard to estimate how many hours have been put into the body camouflage painting they depict. But the work process is very labour-intensive, and requires the artist and the models to stand from eight to 15 hours. It takes a lot of patience for a model to stand still for many hours while the artist applies paint with brushes and checks to see that each brushstroke matches the wallpaper through the camera lens.

“Fatigue and working with animals and birds always offers a challenge. I do enjoy challenging myself though, it’s important for growth as an artist,” she says.

Hack prefers to work with the same models, pointing out that they know what to expect from the long creative process. She has a few models in Australia she works with regularly.

“The first few hours pass then we break and chat. It helps to know the girls well. It’s a good catch-up and they are keen to do a great job for me, so it’s never a boring time!” she says.

 

Bagism is back, sort of

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Bagism-is-back-sort-of-30292819.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

The exhibition 'Bagism: We Are All in the Same Bag!' showcases historical pieces and iconic handbags, as well as creations by contemporary Chinese artists. Photo/China Daily

The exhibition ‘Bagism: We Are All in the Same Bag!’ showcases historical pieces and iconic handbags, as well as creations by contemporary Chinese artists. Photo/China Daily

A Shanghai art museum puts handbags on a pedestal in a bid to mirror social change

“Bagism: We Are All in the Same Bag!” is the name of an exhibition at the chi K11 Art Museum in Shanghai and not quite what John Lennon and Yoko Ono had in mind when they coined the term in 1969. On display through October 10 are more than 300 handbags dating back 400 years.

Celebrity-owned totes are represented among the antiques, historical pieces and very modern bags created by 15 contemporary artists. If Lennon and Ono, in the midst of their peace campaign, were trying to show the futility of race, class and gender stereotyping, well, at least the Shanghai show is diverse in its wares.

Co-curator Penny Liu says she utilised the term “bagism” to address the social and cultural significance of bags. She and Frenchwoman Elisabeth Azoulay have borrowed handbags from more than 70 museums and private collections around the world, including the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, Palais Princier de Monaco and the Simone Handbag Museum of Seoul. Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes have also contributed pieces.

Azoulay notes that the handbag first appeared as an accessory in the 1600s, at the beginning of the Renaissance. “Aristocratic people wanted to keep their secrets,” she says, meaning their political correspondence, love letters and so on.

The earliest bags were made of fine fabric with lots of embroidery, jewellery, lace and other decorations, reflecting the owner’s wealth and status. But when the French Revolution made everyone equal, men began relying on pockets integrated into their garments, leaving women holding the bag, as it were.

In modern times women began wearing less jewellery, hats and gloves and hid less behind fans or umbrellas. The handbag is a “survivor of the period”, Azoulay says, in fact more in demand than ever as women entered the workforce and had to travel more.

In terms of standout bags, Azoulay says, French couturier Coco Chanel was the first to give a bag a name. In February 1955 when she was 72 years old, she designed the “2.55”, so designated for the month and year.

Only in the early 20th century did firmer, more durable leather begin replacing silk and other fabrics as the bag material of choice, and Chanel used quilted leather and lambskin in hers, inspired by the jackets worn by stable hands – and the stained-glass windows she remembered from convent school.

More “iconic” bags followed, often named after royals or celebrities, such as the Kelly bag honouring Princess Grace (nee Kelly) of Monaco.

In recent decades, as clothing became more unisex and featured less colour and decoration, the handbag was the holdout in signifying social status and style choices. The luxury fashion brands began producing “it bags” bearing their logos. “You can make a good impression with a nice bag even if you wear cheap clothes!” Azoulay says.

And, as handbags became more expressive, new possibilities arose. Artists participated in designing them, such as surrealist master Salvador Dali to acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, samples of whose work is included in the exhibition. You can even see a bag used by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Among the contemporary artists featured are Zhang Enli and Xu Zhen and younger talents Pixie Liao and Peng Wei. They’ve used various media and styles, projecting the handbag as a vessel for desire, a metaphor for the human existence, even a demonstration of values and ideas.

K11 Art Mall founder Adrian Cheng says the exhibition is likely to trigger a trend in fashion-and-art crossover shows. “We hope people get inspired to know more and talk more about the concept of art and the history of fashion design and see the relationship between the two, and how it inspires Chinese contemporary artists and society.”

Japanese art takes a sea cruise

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Japanese-art-takes-a-sea-cruise-30292217.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

Art is all around in BnA Hotel Ikebukuro. Photo/BnA Hotel Ikebukuro.

Art is all around in BnA Hotel Ikebukuro. Photo/BnA Hotel Ikebukuro.

Artworks are on display in many places throughout Kurashiki Royal Art Hotel in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun

Artworks are on display in many places throughout Kurashiki Royal Art Hotel in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun

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Passenger ships and hotels are increasingly setting aside gallery space for emerging artists

Art exhibitions are taking over an increasing number of unconventional places in Japan, adding to the entertaining factor for viewers.

Ships and bank buildings and hotel lobbies and guestrooms are now exhibiting art.

The move is intended to provide young artists with more venues and attract more people to the places themselves. Casual visitors to the facilities are usually pleasantly surprised and amused to come across artwork.

The Kurashiki Royal Art Hotel in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, has been displaying art since June in its lobby, corridors and breakfast hall.

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Aspiring graduates of Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts are responsible for what’s on view in displays that change every six months.

The interior actually looks like a gallery, and a lot of visitors to the hotel arrive at the recommendation of staff at nearby art museums. Rather than just the usual guests checking in, the hotel greets a lot of art aficionados popping by to see the displays.

“We wanted to make Kurashiki more appealing, since it’s being promoted as an art city,” says Tomohiro Wada, one of the hotel staff members in charge of the exhibitions

Art is displayed in the two guestrooms at the BnA Hotel Koenji, which opened in March in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward. Local artists not only hang their work on the walls – they’ve actually painted the walls.

The added attraction has boosted bookings among foreign tourists. Guests pay between 15,000 and 20,000 yen (Bt5,000 and Bt7,000) per night and the profit is shared with the artists.

Meanwhile the Nippon Maru, a large passenger cruise ship operated by Tokyo-based Mitsui OSK Passenger Line, has a section called the Nippon Maru Gallery that exhibits works by emerging artists.

The gallery occupies aisle space on an upper deck and shows 10 to 20 works by a single artist at any given time, changing the display every three or four months.

A Mitsui OSK spokesperson says the reaction from the passengers has been good. One of them evidently declared, “I never imagined that I’d be able to enjoy art at sea!”

Business operators along Maebashi Chuo Dori Shotengai Street in Maebashi made a similar effort by turning a vacant store into Gallery Artsoup last year. “Art has the power to energise a town,” says Tomohiro Nakabayashi of the gallery.

Artists from all over the country seeking places to exhibit gather on the shopping street. The gallery thus not only helps foster artists, it brings more business to the neighbourhood restaurants and bars.

The reasons behind the trend in unusual art spaces seem to include a rise in the number of skilled young Japanese artists, many of whom earn praise overseas, as well as increased public interest in their work.

“Supporting artists can help improve a company’s reputation because it contributes to society,” says Kyoko Ikawa, a consultant on omotenashi – traditional Japanese hospitality – at the Tourism Culture Labo. “It can also be instrumental in drawing visitors from all over the nation.

“These efforts are also motivated by the fact that events featuring the works of local artists have been successful in many parts of the nation.”

 

It’s tough in Turkey

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Its-tough-in-Turkey-30292216.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

'It's really getting (to be) a tough place to live in, especially for artistic practices that need to exercise free speech,’ says Vasif Kortun, director of the SALT contemporary arts centre. Photo/AFP

‘It’s really getting (to be) a tough place to live in, especially for artistic practices that need to exercise free speech,’ says Vasif Kortun, director of the SALT contemporary arts centre. Photo/AFP

Visual artist and writer Pinar Ogrenci. Photo/AFP

Visual artist and writer Pinar Ogrenci. Photo/AFP

Contemporary artist Nazim Dikbas. Photo/AFP

Contemporary artist Nazim Dikbas. Photo/AFP

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Worried artists in Istanbul and elsewhere ponder an uncertain future

Just a few years ago, Istanbul was one of the world’s most creative capitals, a buzzing hive where visual artists, writers and filmmakers mingled.

Today, the so-called Pearl of the Bosphorus has lost some of its artistic lustre.

A string of terror attacks, a tightening clamp on freedom of expression, an attempted military coup and a perception of rising social intolerance has seen the freewheeling mood replaced by a sense of fear and increasing isolation.

“It’s really getting (to be) a tough place to live in, especially for artistic practices that need to exercise free speech,’ says Vasif Kortun, director of the SALT contemporary arts centre – a venue artists say still offers “breathing space” with its art cinema, workshops and multimedia resources.

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But “our space is getting narrower and narrower,” added one artist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Society is also more aggressive.”

“In the recent past, every month, foreign curators, artists, PhD students or art critics called me because they were visiting Istanbul and they wanted to meet creators here, to exchange ideas,” she says.

“This year, I hardly saw anyone.”

All the artists interviewed said they opposed the July 15 attempted putsch – a bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that has been followed by a massive crackdown with more than 13,400 people arrested.

“I don’t want any coup in this country,” says Pinar Ogrenci, a 43-year-old visual artist and writer, who was a child in the 1980s when the armed forces last ruled the country. “I know how bad and dangerous it can be when the military take power.”

Others say signs of oppression date back to well before the attempted coup.

“Turkey already had very serious problems regarding the freedom of expression,” explains Nazim Dikbas, who has translated Nabokov into Turkish and work by Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s 2006 Nobel laureate, into English.

“Turkey was already imprisoning journalists, human rights defenders, and to suddenly think that things turned to a worse after the failed coup attempt would be wrong.”

In July last year, the government revived its fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it describes as a terrorist organisation.

Five months later, more than 1,200 intellectuals and artists signed a “petition for peace” criticising violence by the armed forces in their operations against the rebels.

Accused by Erdogan of “treachery,” many of the signatories are being prosecuted and have lost teaching posts.

Pressure “can be arbitrary”, even against a large institution such as SALT, Kortun says.

“For example, it can be a police officer in plain clothes coming in to your film programme and saying ‘Why are you showing this film because it shows Kurdish guerrillas?’

“We say ‘Okay, but this is legal, we are not showing something that is forbidden.’ Then they will call you in the evening and say, ’If you ever show this again, you’ll be in trouble’.”

He says SALT might consider what he dubs a “monastery” method.

“What I mean … is you work inside the institution,” he says, “you develop and protect new ideas and these ideas can actually go out on the street when the time is right.”

Another fear by Kortun and others is that funding from abroad, especially from the European Union (EU), could be choked off.

That would leave artists financially dependent on local donors, who are more conservative and watchful of the government..

While many see the creative situation as bleak, they carry on, meeting in the lively Beyoglu district on Istanbul’s European side with its galleries, hip cafes and walls covered with street art.

“I think I should work so much, tomorrow might be too late,” says Ogrenci. “Sometimes I feel like I might loose my freedom very soon or I’m going to die.”

Others have redoubled efforts at the grassroots.

“After Gezi, collectives were created in neighbourhoods,” adds one source who was involved in 2013 protests – heavily repressed by the authorities – to defend Gezi Park, a rare green space in central Istanbul threatened by development.

“They organise debates, exhibitions, fair trade events, exchange bazaars. We need to go on that way… They could plant seeds for the future.”

Such seemingly unrelated activities, translator Dikbas says, “will add something positive to the mix, rather than stagnation, rather than fear, rather than division.”

Others say it’s time to develop a new artistic language.

“We, as artists, have to find other ways of expressing ourselves, more poetic, less direct,” says Ogrenci who has been mulling the idea of using fables.

“They cannot accuse a fable,” she says laughing. “It might help to protect ourselves.”

 

In times of ‘Fear’

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/In-times-of-Fear-30291739.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

At the Kathmandu Gallery, Silom Manit Sriwanichpoom has placed the '5 Generals Who Return Happiness to the People' opposite 'Haunting Memory', a portrait of former premier Yingluck Shinawatra. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

At the Kathmandu Gallery, Silom Manit Sriwanichpoom has placed the ‘5 Generals Who Return Happiness to the People’ opposite ‘Haunting Memory’, a portrait of former premier Yingluck Shinawatra. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

'Haunting Memory' depicts Yingluck as a shade of her former self, as recalled from an election poster. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

‘Haunting Memory’ depicts Yingluck as a shade of her former self, as recalled from an election poster. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

'Royal Monuments of the Chakri Dynasty' is among the pieces on view at the H Gallery. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

‘Royal Monuments of the Chakri Dynasty’ is among the pieces on view at the H Gallery. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

'Fading History: 'Bangkok Shutdown'' at the Tang Contemporary Gallery shows anti-government protesters whose smiles might be now have faded. Nation/Prasert Thepsri

‘Fading History: ‘Bangkok Shutdown” at the Tang Contemporary Gallery shows anti-government protesters whose smiles might be now have faded. Nation/Prasert Thepsri

Sandbags anchor 'walls' holding lengthy photo composites at the Tang Contemporary Gallery, set up to evoke a protest site. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

Sandbags anchor ‘walls’ holding lengthy photo composites at the Tang Contemporary Gallery, set up to evoke a protest site. Nation/Pasert Thepsri

'The Parliament of Happy Generals 31 July 2014' features computer-generated likenesses of high-ranking military and police officers who are members of the National Legislative Assembly, highlights at Singapore's Yavuz Gallery. Photo/Yavuz Gallery

‘The Parliament of Happy Generals 31 July 2014’ features computer-generated likenesses of high-ranking military and police officers who are members of the National Legislative Assembly, highlights at Singapore’s Yavuz Gallery. Photo/Yavuz Gallery

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Four galleries give Manit Sriwanichpoom full freedom of political expression

In life, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is highly unlikely to ever come face to face in a showdown with his predecessor, Yingluck Shinawatra, but in art, anything is possible. Manit Sriwanichpoom, in yet another potentially controversial show called “Fear”, has brought them face to face.

In fact his portrait of Yingluck stares directly at the five military chiefs who led the coup that removed her government in 2014.

The exhibition is shared among Manit’s own Kathmandu Photography Gallery in Silom, H Gallery and Tang Contemporary Gallery also in Bangkok, and the Yavuz Gallery in Singapore.

The “fear” of the show’s title refers to the trepidation that living in military-ruled Thailand involves, in such a sensitive time of transition. Manit addresses that fear in artful photographs and a pair of videos depicting the political turmoil and its impact on the monarchy.

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Cautious, he has let the Singapore show handle some of the more politically risky elements, but is still taking chances mounting his first solo show in Thailand since the coup just ahead of Sunday’s referendum on the draft constitution.

“Like many Thais, I live with fear,” Manit says. “I’m afraid of violence and the absence of peace in our country. But, since we’re not allowed to speak aloud about our greatest fears, I’m expressing mine and what Thai society thinks about the situation through these shows.”

The notions presented in “Fear” are conceptual and self-censored, but nonetheless powerful in their evocation of the bloody years before the coup, the paralysing street rallies and the demise of the Yingluck government. Symbolic images – the flag, royal monuments – stand in for overt statements.

Solar eclipses provide another metaphor for uncertainly. At a dimly lit H Gallery on Sathorn Soi 12, the grey shadow of an eclipse signals uncertainty as visitors study the monotone photo series “Royal Monuments of the Chakri Dynasty”. You see statues of the eight kings from front, back, side and below, with nothing but grey in the background.

A two-minute video, “Siam Eclipse 1868”, can be viewed on a light box, edited from still images captured by Frenchman Francis Chit, who served as court photographer to King Mongkut, Rama IV. Nearby is “The Last Photograph of the King of Siam, 1868”, made by Manit, combined with Chit’s picture of the monarch, courtiers and diplomats assembled in Hua Hin to watch the solar eclipse of August 18, 1868, an event the King, a keen astronomer, had accurately predicted.

This was indeed the last photo taken of King Mongkut. He contracted malaria on that journey and was dead just over a month later. His 15-year-old son, Prince Chulalongkorn was also infected, but survived to assume the throne as King Rama V and continue his father’s mission of leading Siam into modern times.

King Mongkut’s untimely death prompted many Siamese to regard eclipses as harbingers of bad luck, a belief that persists today, and Manit takes note of the latest solar eclipse, on March 9 this year, as if wondering whether there was some political meaning to it.

A broad composite photo titled “Queuing for Happiness 15 July 2014” lies on the floor. It shows Bangkokians lining up at the military junta-sponsored Festival of Reconciliation, aimed at “returning happiness to the people”. A statue of King Anand, Rama VIII, is in another photo on a wall, coated in the same grey.

At the Kathmandu, a disturbing image of wrecked, upended cars with the Thai flag sprayed on them instantly brings to mind the street chaos. Its glib title is “Rajadamnoen Motor Show February 2017 Organised by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee”. The pictures were taken at the forced eviction of protesters camped on that road in February 2014.

Upstairs in ghostly blue is the picture of Yingluck, “Haunting Memory 2011” – created from one of her election posters – facing down the generals and admirals who plotted against her. Yingluck looked beautiful before her election, her digitally altered portrait seems to say, but now, hounded by corruption scandals, she’s become spectral, haunted.

Its opposite numbers are collectively titled “5 Generals Who Returned Happiness to the People 22 May 2014 Coup d’Etat”. You see their chests alone, no heads, although their identities might be guessed from the captions.

At the Tang inside Silom Galleria, Manit returns to Rajadamnoen, this time to 2013 for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee initial challenge to the Yingluck regime. The mournful recorded sound of Aunyawan Thongboonrod, Manit’s music teacher, playing “Spanish Cello” echoes through the gallery.

Four photo panels, each five to six metres in length, are held in place on their stands by sandbags, recalling another scene of protest. Yingluck reappears with hateful graffiti sprayed across her face in “Wall of Defiance 1 December 2013”.

The original wall was erected as protection against drive-by snipers and grenade attacks.

“Wall of Conscious 14 October 2013” depicts the thick barrier of concrete raised around Government House to keep out those same protesters as they marked the 40th anniversary of the October 14 Uprising.

The Thai flag flutters again in “Fading History: ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ 31 October 2013-22 May 2014”. Demonstrators are depicted wearing the tricolour on their clothes and accessories, donating money to help farmers impoverished by the government’s rice price-pledging scheme.

Manit’s take here, implied in the title, is that the smiles of those in the photo have faded following the military’s seizure of power, which abruptly ended nearly eight months of street protests in Bangkok and elsewhere.

On a television, in a video called “Primitive”, can be seen abstract images in blood red, glimpses of Rajadamnoen, handprints and footprints and implications of a never-ending tragedy.

In Singapore, where speech is at least relatively free compared to present-day Thailand, “Fear” is much more outspoken.

“The Parliament of Happy Generals 31 July 2014” features computer-generated likenesses of high-ranking military and police officers who are members of the National Legislative Assembly. Unlike in Bangkok, the portraits there are complete, with faces shown.

FOUR EYES TO SEE

– The exhibition “Fear” is at the Kathmandu Photography Gallery (www.KathmanduPhotoBkk.com), H Gallery (www.HGalleryBkk.com) and Tang Contemporary Gallery (www.TangContemporary.com) in Bangkok until September 10, and at the Yavuz Gallery (www.YavuzGallery.com) in Singapore through September 18.

 

Weiwei in Spain

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Weiwei-in-Spain-30291522.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

People visit the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's exhibition 'The Poetics of Freedom' during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca,

People visit the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition ‘The Poetics of Freedom’ during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca,

The overview of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's exhibition 'The Poetics of Freedom' during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca, Spain. Photo/AFP

The overview of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition ‘The Poetics of Freedom’ during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca, Spain. Photo/AFP

People visit the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition ‘The Poetics of Freedom’ during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca, Spain. Photo/AFP

People visit the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition ‘The Poetics of Freedom’ during its opening at the Cathedral of Cuenca, Spain. Photo/AFP

Details of Weiwei's installation, 'S.A.C.R.E.D.'

Details of Weiwei’s installation, ‘S.A.C.R.E.D.’

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Ai Weiwei puts himself back in a jail cell in new Spanish show

Artist Ai Weiwei has reproduced scenes of his incarceration for a new art installation, a series of almost life-size dioramas – encased in steel boxes – showing his life in jail.

Visitors to the exhibition, in a cathedral in central Spain, have to peer through peep-holes in the stark, grey boxes to seethe 3D scenes, which show Ai watched by two uniformed guards as he eats, sleeps, showers and uses the toilet in his tiny cell.

Ai, one of China’s most high-profile artists and political activists, was jailed for 81 days on charges of tax evasion in 2011. China confiscated his passport, only returning it in July last year.

His installation, “S.A.C.R.E.D.”, is a highlight of a series of events under the title “The Poetry of Freedom” taking place across Spain to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes.

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The Spanish writer was held as a slave in Algiers for five years in the late 16th century and spent months in jail in Spain later in life for bookkeeping discrepancies, where he is thought to have conceived the idea for his masterpiece “Don Quixote”.

A quote from that novel, about a middle-aged gentleman obsessed by ideals of chivalry who travels central Spain with his loyal squire Sancho Panza, adorns the wall of the Cuenca exhibition: “Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has ever given man.”

The exhibition, at the 12th century cathedral in the fortified medieval city of Cuenca, runs through November 6.

 

Mai Iam’s modern marvels

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Mai-Iams-modern-marvels-30290753.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

The new Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum boasts vast exhibition space, but can still only share glimpses of its permanent collection at any given time. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

The new Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum boasts vast exhibition space, but can still only share glimpses of its permanent collection at any given time. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Co-founder Jean Michel Beurdeley, right, checks in at the gift shop. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Co-founder Jean Michel Beurdeley, right, checks in at the gift shop. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Museum cofounders Jean Michel Beurdeley, far left, and Eric Bunnag Booth, far right. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Museum cofounders Jean Michel Beurdeley, far left, and Eric Bunnag Booth, far right. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Architecture firm allzone converted an abandoned warehouse into a home for contemporary art. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

Architecture firm allzone converted an abandoned warehouse into a home for contemporary art. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

The high ceiling makes the space ideal for film screenings and stage shows. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

The high ceiling makes the space ideal for film screenings and stage shows. Photo/Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum

The late Montien Boonma is the star of the permanent collection. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

The late Montien Boonma is the star of the permanent collection. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

Navin Rawanchaikul donated his portrait of the late Patsri Bunnag to the museum. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

Navin Rawanchaikul donated his portrait of the late Patsri Bunnag to the museum. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

“Phantom of Nabua” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

“Phantom of Nabua” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

“Super(M)art Bangkok Survivors” by Navin Rawanchaikul. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

“Super(M)art Bangkok Survivors” by Navin Rawanchaikul. Nation/Phatarawadee Phataranawik

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Thai contemporary art gets a permanent home in Chiang Mai

The art scene in the northern capital has received a massive boost with the opening of the private Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum, whose remarkable permanent collection features some of the country’s biggest names and which is currently hosting a retrospective on acclaimed filmmaker-artist Apichatpong Weera- sethakul.

Eric Bunnag Booth and his stepfather Jean Michel Beurdeley of the Jim Thompson silk firm have established the 3,000-square-metre museum to showcase the more than 600 works that they and Eric’s late mother Patsri Bunnag amassed over the last 25 years.

“The idea is to have a permanent collection of contemporary Thai art on display at all times,” Eric says. “In no way does it represent the whole history of Thai contemporary art, but rather our own points of view, based solely on the emotional response these pieces give us. A work of art exists as a result the artist’s creativity, but also in the emotional response it produces in the viewer.”

Chiang Mai, already a vibrant centre of arts and crafts, is now home to three ambitious private museums, the others being artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert’s 31st Century Museum and the DC Museum owned by Bangkok-based collector Disaphol Chansiri.

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“Mai Iam means ‘brand new’,” says Eric, “and in our case it refers to Chiang Mai – ‘new city’ – and to my greatgrandmother’s aunt, Chao Chom Iam, to whom the museum is dedicated. The dialogue between old and new interests us very much, and you encounter it all the time in Chiang Mai.”

Gridthiya Gaweewong of the Jim Thomson Art Centre, who curated the permanent collection and Apichatpong’s show, lauds the museum’s founders for choosing San Kamphaeng district as the location.

“San Kamphaeng has always been and always will be one of the most important areas for the arts-and-crafts tradition of the North. I hope the Mai Iam will become fully integrated within this cultural landscape and bring more exciting creativity and innovation to the community.”

The site in the town of Baan Ton Pao is a 15-minute drive from the city core, and no one could have anticipated the dramatic architecture – an ultramodern two-storey structure that over the course of 18 months grew out of an abandoned warehouse.

The firm allzone, led by Rachaporn Choochuey, conceived the design, which includes a dazzling array of mirrored tiles on the exterior fa็ade. The mirror mosaic, found in a Lanna temple, adds to the museum’s modern appearance but also lends a traditional touch. Visitors love taking selfies in front of it.

The Mai Iam was the first art museum that allzone designed, but it’s handled art-related projects before. It mounted Pinaree Sanpitak’s vast installation “Breast Stupa Topiary” at Chulalongkorn University in 2014 and set up with space for the “Temporary Storage #01” exhibition curated by Chitti Kasemkitwattana at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in 2012.

“We wanted it to look contemporary, but at the same time not too alienated from the context of Chiang Mai,” says Rachaporn. “We tried out many materials for the exterior but finally settled on the small mirrored tiles. We searched all over the country for craftsmen capable of putting the tiles on the wall, but everyone was busy with temple work, so we asked the government’s Fine Arts Department, and they helped us develop a new technique for installation that’s faster and more efficient than the traditional method.”

With 1,300 square metres devoted to displaying art, the facility has plenty of room left for screening films in its 35-seat cinema and hosting educational workshops, stage performances and small-scale concerts. It also has a library, a 60-seat restaurant and a gift shop.

Nearly 100 people visit the museum each weekday and more than 130 visitors on weekends, Eric says.

A selection from permanent collection, entitled “Feeling the 1990s”, is on the second floor, comprising paintings, sculpture, installations and photography.

“That was when we entered the age of globalisation,” Gridthiya explains, “and it was an important period for many Thai artists as they began to join in conversation with the global art world. With their groundbreaking work they became mentors to the younger generations of artists, who are also represented here.”

The late Montien Boonma is given centre stage with key works on display including “Painting and Candles (Stupa)”, “Perfume Paintings” and “Handprints in Cement Construction” and the installations “Venus of Bangkok” and “Sala of Mind”. Alongside you can see Rirkrit Tiravanija’s huge charcoal abstract “Untitled 2013 (Study for freedom cannot be simulated)”.

Chiang Mai-based Navin Rawanchaikul is represented by another massive work, “Super(M)art Bangkok Survivors”. On the walls surrounding it are Kamin Lertchaiprasert’s “Death is Dhamma”, an untitled self-portrait by Chatchai Puipia and Prasong Luemuang’s “Kor Kon”.

On the ground floor is Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s 1995 installation “Isolate Moral Female Object, in a Relationship with a Male Bird I”. Hung nearby are Pinaree Sanpitak’s “The black, the white and the body”, Udomsak Krisanamis’s “Paint It Black” and Cambodian Sopheap Pich’s “Far From the Sun”.

Eric’s family lineage is traced back to the Ayutthaya Period in a separate exhibition, including his great-grandmother Chao Chom Iam, consort of King Rama V. They are depicted in paintings and photos, including a portrait of Patsri by Navin that he donated to the museum.

Also sharing the ground floor and half the second is the temporary exhibition “The Serenity of Madness”, dedicated to Apichatpong. Well known as a filmmaker, his work in the other arts is less known. This show is the first time his fellow Thais are getting to see his photography and printmaking talents.

From his earliest experimental films, Apichatpong has always explored themes of memory, animism, Buddhism and the supernatural, using the narrative traditions of his native Isaan. Visitors can see the reference materials used in his films “Mysterious Object at Noon”, “Blissfully Yours” and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”, including scripts and production sketches. And 30 of his short films, newly re-mastered, are being screened.

What’s on view at the Mai Iam is only the tip of the iceberg, says Beurdeley. “This is only 10 per cent of what we have. We’re planning more shows with new themes.”

Thus we can look forward to seeing works by National Artists Thawan Duchanee and Chakrabhand Posyakrit, and Eric says he “can’t wait” to exhibit his latest acquisitions, including pieces by Ruangsak Anuwatwimon, Tawatchai Pattanatorn, Parapet Jiwarangsan, Tada Hengsapkul and Latthapon Korkiatarkul.”

The Apichatpong retrospective will be replaced at the end of September by another devoted to Kamin Lertchaiprasert. In December, Eric says, “there’ll be an exhibition dedicated to my mother, who had a unique vision of ‘what is style’. It will be a dialogue between fashion and the works of art.”

MUCH TO SEES

– The Apichatpong Weerasethakul retrospective “The Serenity of Madness” continues through September 10.

– The Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum is at 122 Moo 7 Ton Pao, San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai. It’s open daily except Tuesday from 10 to 6.

-The admission fee is Bt150 (Bt100 for students, free for children under 12).

– Find out more at http://www.MaiIam.com and the “maiiam” page on Facebook.

 

Where life jackets bloom

Published August 19, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Where-life-jackets-bloom-30290750.html

CONTEMPORARY ART

‘F Lotus’ by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Photo/AFP

‘F Lotus’ by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Photo/AFP

A visitor walks under the artwork ‘Wang Family Ancestral Hall’ during last week’s press preview of the exhibition ‘Ai Weiwei translocation – transformation’ at the 21er Haus, Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna. Photo/AFP

A visitor walks under the artwork ‘Wang Family Ancestral Hall’ during last week’s press preview of the exhibition ‘Ai Weiwei translocation – transformation’ at the 21er Haus, Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna. Photo/AFP

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Ai Weiwei brings his visual comments on migrants to the pond of Vienna’s palace

Visitors to Vienna’s Belvedere Palace were confronted Wednesday with 1,005 refugees’ life jackets drifting in the baroque pond – courtesy of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

The installation, entitled “F Lotus”, consists of 201 rings each holding five life jackets – retrieved from the Greek island of Lesbos – arranged in the letter “F” and floating like lotus flowers.

Ai, who in February this year attached 14,000 life jackets to the columns of a Berlin concert house, says the work is his way of addressing the tragedy of Europe’s migrant crisis.

Despite the mixed responses to his intervention in Berlin, the Chinese descendant artist has brought his first solo exhibition “translocation – transformation” to Austria for the first time.

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“There are more than 500,000 life jackets left on (Lesbos) and it looks like a landscape,” he says. “It is something so related to individuals. It could be the last thing you grab when you have to escape.”

Spanning multiple locations from the 21er Haus to the Upper Belvedere, the exhibition features a number of large-scale installations and interventions that explore and address the main theme of “translocation – transformation,” which the 21er Haus defines as the metamorphosis caused by the migration, deliberate relocation, and expulsion of people and objects.

Surrounded by the pond is his remarkable installation “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads”. The iconic installation “Wang Family Ancestral Hall” and gigantic installation “Teahouse” and “Spouts” are displayed in the 21er Haus.

The artist went too far for some earlier this year when he recreated the death pose of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler found dead on a Turkish beach in 2015, in a photo shoot for an Indian magazine.

China’s most prominent contemporary artist helped design the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics, but his works have often fallen foul of China’s authorities. In 2011, he was detained for 81 days.

Migrants on the march

“Ai Weiwei translocation – transformation” is at the 21er Haus in Vienna through November 20

 

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