Of water tanks and felt

Art February 19, 2018 13:00

By The Nation

3,823 Viewed

Chiang Mai-based Thai artist Torlarp Larpjaroensook is to join Danish artist Andreas Schulenburg in leading a visual discourse on the relationship between the individual and society in the duo exhibition “I-solated Beings” at Subhashok the Arts Centre from March 17 to April 22.



Danish “hygge” and Thai “sanuk” are two examples of words that represent a conscious effort within each respective culture to connect the individual experience happily into the greater society. Though different in their communal ambience and energy, both expressions signify a focus on life to remove stress, to be kind, and to enjoy the present moment.

The works of Torlap and Schulenburg provide the space to feel comforted in today’s climate of anxiety.

Torlarp, 40, is a multidisciplinary artist who is interested in the interaction between people and artworks. He is also the founder of Gallery Seescape, an alternative art space in Chiang Mai, which he set up in 2008 with the aim of creating connections between people and contemporary art.

In “I-solated Beings”, he creates the USO (Unidentified Standing Object) and invites viewers to discuss the correlation between object and space. Ever-present in his works are reassessments of the value of functions, materials, and locations. 

USO explores an epiphany of narrow mindedness. What viewers witness as a fully functional living space is an otherwise overlooked 20-year-old home water tank .The practicality of the object and its new mobility set ask if we settle on the functionality of our creations prematurely. 

The tank has been fully repurposed and equipped with the makings of a modern living space, complete with bed and air con unit. The pre-existing conditions of the tools could be altered by a community that seeks to establish new connections to its environment. The appropriation of the water tank is guided by following the changes in surroundings whether remote in nature or active in public space. 

This work explores aspects of community by offering new engagements through the compact and migratory living space. It acts on the expectations that society is curious when presented with unknown stimuli. It also offers a new-found public familiarity with an often neglected product from everyday lives. 

Torlap’s previous work, the mobile gallery “3147966” from 2009, introduced this aesthetic of the compact, travelling unit. Outfitted in the back of an old truck, “3147966” brought the structure and function of a contemporary art gallery into a miniaturised form. The USO is a continuation of the mobile gallery’s conceptual community and provides a common experience to that of its predecessor; an imaginative and curious new possibility for a way to live one’s life. 

Schulenburg, 42, produces works in a variety of media and perspective such as ceramics, drawing, felt and sculpture. Felt is manifested in works of sculpture and 2D imagery in a range of sizes. This material continues to be his preferred medium as seen in this exhibition.

The common theme in his work is a profound focus on the imaginative and its relationship to nature and culture. His felt works hold a rather poetic sensibility, where the soft expression of the felt always covers serious issues that often refer to the human existence and its different threats such as natural disasters. 

Through the engagement of the felt sculptures and objects there is a space to change people’s usual view of the logic of things. The perspective is often comedic and bizarre giving pause to our traditional ways of thinking about the environment or society. 

The juxtaposition of the cushy felt and the socially distant content give off an almost surreal image. Many of the objects radiate a hallucinogenic tone, one that manipulates the viewer into feeling comfortable. The deconstruction of these intense moments into comfort is uniquely absurd and funny. There is a deeper phenomenon under the surface of these works, one that requests a playful imagination and an aim to reverse logic.

For this exhibition, he brings his latest felt-produces works that are centred around the night. The representation of this is delivered through the darkness and the light that emerges from this void. He tries to point out the fine line between the calmness of the night and the alarming sense of darkness/ loneliness/ the unknown in this series. There are uncertain reactions to situations which rest below the veil of the attractive. 

The gallery in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 33 is open daily except Monday.

Call (02) 258 5580 or visit www.Sac.gallery