Desperation Versus Happiness in Art
Two Exhibitions Explore the Theme in Bangkok
Suffering and desperation have always been a source of creativity for artists. Often the most emotional creations are born from the feeling of cruelty. Two exhibitions currently running in Bangkok explore this very theme.
Until November 17, Sathorn 11 Art Space confronts and opposes the vision of two artists. Olga Volodina, a Russian artist who lives in Bangkok, is expressing the enduring violence of the world, looking at the permissive effect of brands and politics propaganda in particular. “I live in a harsh world in Russia and my black and white pictures show the violence of our society. People’s brainwashing through brands, social media and politicians, the destruction of our own ability to think through religion, money and state institutions are part of my life,” says Volodina.
Olga’s desperate visions are expressed through elegant, aesthetically impeccable pictures in black and white, which brings viewers a mixed feeling of admiration and insecurity. “I refer a lot to my own country, Russia, but many of the themes I explore are universal and can be applied to other countries,” adds Volodina.
On the opposite side, Thai artist Kannika Jansuwan looks after Thai spirituality through the connection to animals. Her painting is vivid in colours, expressing her positive approach to life. The young woman has been selected as home artist of Sathorn 11 Art Space. She believes that the soul can merge into the animal’s mind and goes closer to nature. Her painting blends perfect human faces to the ones of the animals. “It is more a question of harmony with nature than pure aesthetics; I paint most of my female models by spreading mud on their face to hide their beauty. And despite the fact to be partially hidden by the mask, their own beauty comes from their connection to nature,” explains Jansuwan.
1X1 WALL Gallery is a brand-new multi-form space located along Ekkamai road. It is a meeting place, co-work space but also an art gallery. This is where Ark Saroj, a talented video and film director as well as one of the masterminds behind event organizer, Trasher Bangkok, is making its first photo exhibition with co-artist Makara, who produces videos. The exhibition is going on until November 18.
The theme is inspired by Marguerite Duras book, “Moderato Cantabile”. For Saroj however, this is a big jump into a new field, photography. “I have been preparing this exhibition over a year now. For me, Duras’ novel has also been a motivation to express the troubles of my own life.
Ark Saroj has a complex personality shaped by his own life reflected in his series of pictures. Broken sculptures of the Virgin Mary and St Peter evocate the destroyed relation with parents, a picture of a wasteland with abandoned furniture talks about the emptiness of home; the most powerful are two pictures of a gun put on a pillow. The caption is chilling: “I can’t remember which gun is the one he pointed at me and shouted, “Are you a faggot?” No matter if it had bullets inside or not. He kept one of them under the pillow every night. To scare or to shoot a thief. I could be as bad as a thief.”
Is it true? “Yes”, whispers Saroj. Another photo shows Ark Saroj’s suicide, in a manner that reminds us of the academic or romantic period. Such as the portrait of the assassinated French revolutionary Marat in his bath tube by French female patriot Charlotte Corday. Another coincidence? 1×1 Wall Gallery is located on the second floor of a complex on Sukhumvit Soi 63.
Words by Luc Citrinot
Exhibition runs until 17 November 2018.