This yr’s theme is without delay hopeful and ironic: “Escape Routes” suggests a flight from our uncommon occasions of pathological disruption and political cataclysm — right here, there and all over the place — and but the theme is an acknowledgment of these in-our-face uncertainties from which we wrestle to seek out an exit.
On this unusual second in historical past, the Bangkok Artwork Biennale 2020 (BAB 2020) bucks the development and decides to go forward. Scheduled from Oct 29 to Jan 31, Bangkok’s largest artwork present is about to occur as a bodily occasion regardless of a slate of challenges on many fronts, mainly the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide intervention that has compelled a number of worldwide artwork occasions to cancel previously months in addition to within the close to future. However all through the three months of BAB 2020, 82 artists, working beneath the banner “Escape Routes”, will put up their works at 9 venues, that includes work to efficiency periods, video artwork to large set up items.
Given the timing, BAB 2020 units itself up as one thing greater than only a citywide artwork present. As the primary main worldwide occasion to happen in Thailand within the socially-distanced age, it will likely be a check whether or not the nation is able to transfer throughout the brink. And if it succeeds — if it beats logistic and journey challenges — artwork will illuminate the trail and turn into a saviour to us all.
“Precaution measures will likely be in place to make sure public well being requirements,” says Apinan Poshyananda, chief govt and creative director of BAB 2020. “Clearly there are challenges. However we need to construct confidence and belief, and now we have an enormous workforce to make it occur. If we pull it off, it may be an instance to many different occasions that Thailand, with essential measures, is able to welcome worldwide guests.”
On this version of Bangkok Artwork Biennale, 82 artists from 35 international locations, together with over 30 from Thailand, will exhibit their works at each out of doors venues and artwork galleries: particularly Wat Po, Wat Arun, Wat Prayurawongsawat, BAB Field, The Prelude, The Parq, Bangkok Artwork and Tradition Centre, Museum Siam and Lhong 1919. It is price noting that within the earlier version, the three historic temples — Wat Po, Wat Arun, Wat Prayurawongsawat — proved distinctive within the architectural and aesthetic presentation of artworks, in addition to the truth that they’re vacationer sights, and their return to this yr’s present is most welcome.
Popi by Khvay Samnang. Photograph Courtesy of Khvay Samnang
The variety of artists has expanded from 75 within the first version, and the 2020 difficulty will see a combination of Thai and overseas artmakers, marquee names and rising stars, visible artists, efficiency artists, photographers, filmmakers and multi-disciplinarians, whose works span a variety of conceptual depths, political commentary and playful spectacle. It’s not possible to checklist all of them right here; however as an example, Serbian doyenne Marina Abramovic will return after her go to in 2018. Anish Kapoor, the British sculptor recognized for monumental items, for the primary time will exhibit in Bangkok. Yoko Ono and Ai Weiwei can have their items proven (although unlikely they are going to be right here in individual). Different notable names embrace Invoice Viola, Ho Rui An, Din Q Le, Khvay Samnang, Miles Greenberg, Elena Knox, Ga Ram Kim, Rachel Maclean, Lu Yang, Baatarzorig Batjargal, Dane Mitchell, Ana Pvracki and plenty of extra (see bkkartbiennale.com).
A battalion of Thai artists will likely be readily available to contribute to the dialogue. Once more, a great mixture of veterans and mavericks whose works contact on the whole lot from politics, LGBTI, anthropocene and the setting to the Deep South, the Chilly Warfare and regional identities. Artists will embrace Araya Rasdjarmereansook, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Dansoung Sungvoraveshapan, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Michael Shaowanasai, Nipan Oraniwesna, Tawan Wattuya, Yuree Kensaku, Lampu Kansanoh, Lolay, Word Kritsada, Ruangsak Anuwatwimon, Tada Hengsapkul, Chantana Tiprachat, I-na Phuyuthanon, P7, in addition to Thailand-based non-Thai artists and plenty of extra.
An artwork biennale within the time of a viral scare could be testing and inspirational, says Apinan, who additionally leads the workforce of curators for the occasion.
I-na Phuyuthanon’s video work The Reflection Of The Stigmatic Victims Of The Insurgencies. Photograph Courtesy of I-na Phuyuthanon
“We introduced the theme ‘Escape Routes’ final yr, and a few artists had already begun working,” Apinan says. “However as soon as Covid-19 brought on such disturbances world wide and uncovered the vulnerabilities that after lay hidden, a lot of them have determined to alter course and provide you with new ideas in response to the scenario.
“So what we’ll see within the present will likely be one thing that speaks in regards to the present time we’re dwelling in.”
But it surely’s not simply Covid-19 that invitations a list of creativeness on attainable escape routes. Humanity, Apinan says, is beset by so many challenges, from local weather change to refugee disaster and political upheavals, from mass migration to unemployment. Identification is undermined, nationalism promoted, intolerance on the rise. Even earlier than the coronavirus, the world, says the curator, was threatened by violence, both apparent on in guises, and even the thought of escape is difficult in itself, as a result of it is not clear to the place this escape would lead us.
“On this method, artists can in all probability information us by means of the best way they interpret the phrase ‘Escape Routes’,” Apinan says. “The pandemic has jolted us to understand all the issues, the angst, that we’re going through, and never simply in Thailand however all around the world.
Marina Abramovic’s nonetheless from Rising. Photograph Courtesy of Acute Artwork
“On the identical time, artwork could be inadequate. As a result of what’s occurring on the planet — what you’ll be able to see on CNN, just like the knee-on-neck incident within the US or different critical troubles elsewhere — is so actual, so intense, that no matter artwork can inform you just isn’t the entire story. Some folks ask about censorship and I say, what is the level of censorship when what you see every day is a lot extra violent?”
In her interview with BAB, Marina Abramovic reiterates the significance of artwork within the occasions of unpredictability. “On this scenario [of the pandemic], it is the second when artists should create their works, to provide the message of hope to the society. It is vital to confront the fears and to look into the longer term.”
The Bangkok Artwork Biennale will happen from Oct 29 to Jan 31, 2021. The BAB 2020 is supported by Tourism Authority of Thailand, Metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand Conference and Exhibition Bureau, and numerous non-public sponsors, principally Thai Beverage.
Emergency Case by Lampu Kansanoh. Photograph Courtesy of Lampu Kansanoh
Admission is free in any respect 9 venues: Wat Po; Wat Arun; Wat Prayurawongsawat; BAB Field, on the nook of Rama IV and Witthayu roads; The Prelude on Witthayu Street; The Parq close to Queen Sirikit Nationwide Conference Heart; Bangkok Artwork and Tradition Centre; Museum Siam; and Lhong 1919 on the Chao Phraya.
Precautionary well being measures will likely be strictly noticed, whereas BAB volunteers, often called Dek Bab, will guarantee social distancing guidelines and information guests throughout their go to in any respect venues.
The BAB 2020 is curated by Apinan Poshyananda, Witugorn Kongka, Wenjie Solar, Ong Puay Khim and Dow Wasiksiri.
For a full checklist of artists and different updates, go to bkkartbiennale.com
Wat Prayurawongsawat will function a venue for BAB 2020. Photograph Courtesy of Bangkok Artwork Biennale
Invoice Viola’s Three Girls, a 2008 color high-definition video on flat panel show. Photograph Courtesy of Kira Perov