The tropical cultural creativity of Brazil and Thailand combines at HOF Art Space.
n recent years, the Thai art scene has broadened its horizons. More and more exhibitions have incorporated the work of international artists, a trend that’s enabled greater collaborative opportunities between Thai and foreign artists and created links to other scenes. It has also given viewers greater exposure to the differing – and comparative – interests and concerns of certain nationalities and regions.
A good example of this cross-border cooperation is the Tropikos exhibition currently running at HOF Art Space. Under the guidance of HOF’s resident curator, Linjie Zhou, Tropikos showcases collaborations between three Brazilian and three Thai artists. It’s an exploration of how the geographic proximity of Thailand and Brazil to the equator, and the resulting tropical climate, has shaped their similar artistic dispositions and philosophical outlooks. It looks at how common environmental conditioning might propel artistic production on an aesthetic and conceptual level.
Tropikos began when Zhou was introduced by a mutual friend to the three Brazilian artists, André Mendes, Fernando Franciosi, and Juan Parada. Based in the southern city of Curitiba, the trio had worked together for a number of years and were keen to forge new exchanges with countries that are on a creative and cultural trajectory parallel to their own. Zhou then sought out three Thai artists she thought would complement the work of the Brazilians, eventually choosing Chalit Nakpawan, Torlarp Larpjaroensook, and Jackkrit Anatakul.
This approach sees André Mendes’ boldly coloured abstract paintings and site-specific installations matched with Jackkrit Anatakul’s whimsical, illustrative compositions; the organic ceramic and fiberglass forms of Juan Parada linked with painter Chalit Nakpawan’s brightly coloured semi-abstractions, which centre on the elemental forces in nature; and the alignment of Fernando Franciosi and Torlarp Larpjaroensook’s works, which are based on a more conceptual path – the Brazilian appropriating and re-contextualizing ready-made toys and fabrics, while Chiang Mai-based Larpjaroensook exposes his canvases to the elements to mold topographic compositions.
Commenting on the Tropikos exhibition, Zhou says, “For the past several years I’ve been seeking ways to bring together Asian and South American artists. I find it interesting how little they know of each other, but how often their work portrays a similar attitude and world outlook. Particularly in the instance of Brazil and Thailand: both are transforming from village societies to big cities.
“I’d been trying to search for ways to encourage Brazilian artists to come and show in Thailand,” she continues, “and then I was introduced to Juan, Fernando, and Andre. Their design principles, natural elements, and vibrant productions translate well into the chaotic beauty that is Bangkok.
“Having them exhibit here will help promote a mutual awareness of the stunning similarities between Thailand and Brazil. The fact that the two groups of artists are based on the opposite side of the world makes it difficult for them to share a cultural bond, but with both countries continuing to develop and modern technology closing the gap, they are becoming more aware of their sister cultures.
“All six artists represent a new movement: a shift from an external attraction to Europe and the USA to the attraction of a tropical twin. The project is exactly what HOF Art is looking to promote – new international connections that help to bring Thai art to the globalized world and an increased local awareness of other international art cultures.”
Until February 24
BY STEVEN PETTIFOR
HOF Art Space
W District, 1599/288-290 Sukhumvit Rd
08 7438 3681, 08 9926 2196 I 10am-7pm I BTS Prakhanong