Thai art makes a splash in Australia next month as the contemporary art space Grau Projekt in Melbourne plays host to the “Un-Thaid” exhibition.
Running from June 13 to July 27 and curated by prominent Melbourne-based Thai artist Vipoo Srivilasa, the exhibition is a diverse showcase of performance, painting, ceramics, sculpture, video and installation by five Thai contemporary artists Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Nakarin Aaron Jaikla, Bundit Puangthong, Pimpisa Tinpalit and Somchai Charoen – all now living and working in Melbourne and Sydney.
Articulating multi-dimensional and layered histories, they are emboldened in their shared cultural experience of growing up in Thailand and then relocating to Australia while continuing to develop and refine their artistic practices.
The installation “Silence 1.2.2” by Pimpisa – a queen size bed suspended Shibari-style from the ceiling with black rope – will showcase the transformation of everyday objects into sculptural forms to give the viewer a silent space for contemplation. Her previous work “Silence #1 1.2” was on display at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat for the Biennale of Australian Art last year.
Phaptawan was trained as a mural painter while her father Paiboon Suwannakudt led a team of painters to work for Buddhist temples throughout Thailand during the 1980s-1990s. She has translated her skills into creating the “Elephant and the Bush” paintings. Completed after her residency at the Arthur Boyd properties in the Bundanon Residency programme, she put together the Australian flora and fauna and the Thai elephant to reflect her move to the Australian society.
Painter Bundit brings together traditional and contemporary iconography creating a cacophony of colour and images. Inspired by traditional Thai painting, pop art and graffiti, he stylistically fuses delicate linework with free form painting and stencil work, creating layered dreamlike worlds full of symbolic references to both Thai and Australian culture.
The courage and confidence to undertake such large scale paintings is well informed by Bundit working as signwriter painting billboards as a teenager in Thailand and previously working as an art director on film sets.
Sydney based ceramicist Somchai creates vibrant sculptures out of slip cast porcelain using ceramic slip cast moulds to give the flexibility to experiment with layering and repeating forms. His “Jaegun” vertical sculpture vases playfully stack arrangements of bold geometric shapes on top of each other.
Some of the bases of vases are black, while brighter colours of orange, blue and greens are used to accentuate the multiple levels of the forms. Variations of the vases come in many colours and forms while some appear to lose their balance midway, tilting over with abandoned glee.
Performance artist Nakarin’s mesmerising video series “Void: uses the movement of the human body through dance to activate space. His work “Void 4.1” combines the belief of Japanese Buddhist philosophy and Thai folk belief in the spirit.
Find out more details at www.GrauProjekt.com.