With just less than a month left to enjoy the first edition of the Bangkok Art Biennale, the clock is ticking to get out there and explore.
The spectacular Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) event looks at bringing art from all around the world to Bangkok, as well as integrating with the works of Thai artists. Temples such as Wat Arun, public spaces, hotels and malls, are all exhibiting artworks of artists until February 3, the date of the official closure of the almost four-month-long event.
I suggest visiting the BAB Box @ONEBANGKOK, next to Lumpini Park, to admire an incredible collection of contemporary artworks. The Box is a temporary structure, painted in dark colours and standing at one of the busiest corners of Bangkok on Wireless/Rama IV Roads. The place would go entirely unnoticed if it wasn’t for the giant, floating sculptures inside and outside the structure, drag turning the heads of passing traffic.
The BOX is indeed one of the most important exhibition spaces of the BAB. It is the only specially created space for the event while other exhibition areas have used the existing structure. It is free of charge and offers visitors a fantastic display of contemporary art by both Thai and international artists.
Climb to the first floor (Second floor for Thai) to discover a giant mural work of a Laotian-Isan artists’ collective. They came together to create a mural inspired by a piece of literature, the Sang Silpachai, which speaks about a teenager looking to rescue his aunt by travelling along the Mekong River from Vientiane up to Bangkok, meeting demons, super-heroes and soldiers. Painted like ancient religious murals, the ‘Hooptam’, depicts Buddhist lessons and philosophies as well as local wisdom and cultures of Laos and Isan mixed with elements of modern life such as mobile phones or TV heroes.
An awe-inspiring series of painting comes from Natee Urarit, one of the most intriguing Thai contemporary painters. Urarit mixes traditional Thai, renaissance style and baroque painting, which evokes blind faith and the issue of death. Renaissance figures from Italy and Holland cohabit in his paintings while evoking Thai values. Another major Thai artist present at the ‘Ephemeral Museum’ is Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit, showcasing a series under the theme ‘Dharma, Nature and Normality’ depicting humans confronted to skeletons. But livings are embroiled into suffering due to their selfishness while skeletons evoke a stand of happiness.
The Box also presents an opportunity for locals to view internationally renowned artists. This is a rather unique opportunity as few foreigners are exhibited in Thailand due to fiscal reasons. French artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Turkish artist Canan, and Italian artist Francesco Clemente, all confront their visions with Thai counterparts. Truly fascinating.
@ONE BANGKOK is open from 10am-9pm every day except Tuesday. Entry is free. closest MRT stop is MRT Lumpini Park.