Events in Bangkok today
The late 1980s to 2000s was a period marked by a significant transition in Thai art. A handful of local artists, even big-name ones, started challenging traditional art practices by incorporating unconventional and unexpected materials and objects into their works, featuring subjects beyond religious and political themes, and using their bodies as part of a performance. These “rebellious” practices resulted in the creation of independent art spaces and connections with transnational art networks. This turning point, however, also created what seem to be “rifts” in the Thai art scene that are still present today. The Main Gallery of Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) is now displaying carefully selected artworks created by 13 Thai artists during this transitional period. The exhibition includes installations, sculptures, photography, and video art. Here are the ones that piqued our interest the most. Song for the Dead by Kamol Phaosavasdi, 1985Probably one of the most provocative pieces in the exhibition, Song for the Dead narrates the artist Kamol Phaosavasdi’s obvious rejection of both traditional aesthetic norms and Modern Art. The artist challenges modern aesthetics by using objects that, at first glance, seem random but actually hide a profound meaning. His original exhibition in 1985 featured both installation and performance art. The installation featured scrap metal, a wall adorned with random book pages, and pictures of Marilyn Monroe, while his live performance
Only a few, and not Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang’s entire terracotta army, traveled to Bangkok, but even these four earthenware statues are enough to draw in history buffs and the archeology-obsessed to this exhibit, which also includes almost a hundred ancient artifacts from China. In Thailand for the first time at Bangkok National Museum’s Siwamokkhaphiman Throne Hall, Qin Shi Huang: The First Emperor of China and Terracotta Warriors features the life-sized soldiers from Qin Shi Huang’s unearthed mausoleum in Xi’an, China, as well as ancient weapons, a bronze chariot, armor, pottery, jade and gold amulets, and inscriptions. Altogether, these give an insight into the life and work of Qin Shi Huang, who was named the first emperor of a unified China more than two thousand years ago. It also sheds light on his obsession with immortality, and how his rule has had a lasting influence on Chinese culture. According to Chinese historian Sima Qian, the construction of the massive mausoleum started soon after Qin Shi Huang ascended the throne in 246 BC. The project, which spanned decades, required a workforce of about 700,000 men to build a massive underground necropolis similar to Xianyang, the capital of the Qin Dynasty. In 1974, archeologists discovered an army of around 7,000 terracotta warriors, each one bearing different facial, hair, and clothing details at the site of the ancient resting place. These rows of statues served as guardians of what’s believed to be the much la
The exhibition The Art of Survival by Nattiwut Choomanowat reflects the other side that shows truth but however, his aim is to show the idea of how to create the problem in the positive ways. There are no boundaries that can limit the artist’s work. These artworks may sometimes define solutions and sometimes they may not. The concept is to tell the stories of the artist’s life by using the reference from the historical stories and novels, mixed with his emotions through his technique of art to tell the story of his works. Content provided by Time Out partner
The notable dining series of edgy luxury hotel SO Sofitel Bangkok makes a return in September for the eighth edition. The gastronomic festival gathers up known chefs from around the globe, including Nick Kim from three-Michelin-starred Masa in New York and Thierry Drapeau from his one-starred namesake restaurant in Saint-Sulpice-le-Verdon, France, for dinners, brunch and cooking workshops. Click here for more information.
Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji comes up with an exhibition showcasing a large scale installation and sculpture of dinosaurs and animals created by a tremendous amount of unwanted toys collected from Japan and Thailand. Fuji started his long-running project ‘Kaekko Barzar’ in 1997, where kids can exchange their unwanted toys. The project has led him to have more than 50,000 items in hand. He also realized that these unwanted plastic toys can harm the environment so the artists wanted to create an exhibition that will not only be fun for the kids but also create awareness for grown-ups as well.
Artist JAD Jadsada’s playful sense of humor and unique point of view are revealed in his latest photography exhibition, POINT Of JAD, where he puts together two unrelated objects into one weirdly beautiful image.
When his beloved Canon 60D started acting up and giving Nanut Thanapornrapee “cracked” photographs and images of poor quality, the artist, instead of throwing out his camera, thought that he should do something to pay tribute to it. The DSLR camera had served him well for seven years after all. N01SE.JPEG, as much as it is an ode to a cherished camera, is also an exhibition that reveals the photographic “noise” or flaws that usually appear when a digital camera fails to do its job in accurately evaluating and recording a subject. Digital noise or dead pixels usually manifest as indecipherable speck-like elements on a photo. There are ways to avoid their appearance; more advanced cameras, in fact, are equipped with technology that eliminates these dead pixels. For this exhibition, however, Nanut renders digital noise as valuable, and set his camera at 12800 ISO or the “maximum light value” to capture surreal-looking images that play up the presence of these dark dead pixels. He also explains that the presence of noise on an image may reveal when a camera was produced, representing the photographic technology of its time.
Explore the world of legendary Japanese photographer and contemporary artist, Nobuyoshi Araki, who is best known for blending eroticism and fine art, through a series of 30 images. The 79-year-old artist is probably one of the most radical and critically acclaimed photographers of our time. Araki became more renowned when his work turned increasingly towards eroticism, exploring the deepest depths of human desire. His prominent collections include photographs of women in Japanese bondage, the female genitalia, and subjects like food and flowers depicted in a sensual light. The artist has published over 500 books with these photographs to date. Despite coping with prostate cancer, losing his right eye, a malfunctioning heart and, most importantly losing his wife, Yoko, Araki’s fascination with photography has never waned. In fact, he has taken inspiration from these challenges to create more delicate and sentimental photographs that discuss the narrative of life and death, as reflected in his latest exhibition, Life by Film by Nobuyoshi Araki. The exhibition, specially curated for Leica Gallery Bangkok, showcases 30 black-and-white images shot with a Leica M7. The images highlight “I-photography,” in which Araki muses on his life in close proximately with others.
“Too much theoretical knowledge could tamper the process of creating art. We sometimes have to let humaneness be the instruments to art,” says Suebsang Sangwachirapiban, one of the curators of Thailand and Japan ART BRUT: Figure of Unknown Beauty, a collaborative exhibition between the two countries that’s being shown across Southeast Asia. Art Brut, created through the eyes of socially and culturally isolated people such as the disabled, inmates, the elderly, or individuals who are not trained in the arts, was first established around 1945 by French artist Jean Dubuffet. Its prominence hinges on its portrayal of unique forms of creativity, as well as the innocence, rawness and freedom of its creators, i.e., those who are not following a set of artistic rules. Another remarkable aspect of this form is how it encourages individuals or groups of people not within mainstream society to utilize art in order to express their personal statements. The exhibition at BACC displays the art of 51 Thai and Japanese artists in various forms such as paintings, ceramic art, 3D art and photography.
The sequel to From Monet to Kandinsky, this multimedia exhibition shines the spotlight on the creations of Italian Renaissance masters. The exhibit will include masterpieces such as Mona Lisa and The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, and The Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.
Movies now showing
If you like your space odysseys brimming with formula-filled blackboards and quantum mechanics, consider this a trigger warning: Ad Astra is not that kind of sci-fi. Unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey or Interstellar, two obvious points of parallel, there’s no Arthur C Clarke or Kip Thorne behind the scenes to bring Nobel-worthy science to the fiction. This is a movie where a man travels to Neptune, a distance of 2.7 billion miles, without aging a day—a reach even when that man is Brad Pitt. It features killer baboons in zero gravity. At one point, Pitt jacks a spaceship—while it’s taking off. On paper, at least, it’s just Moonraker with a PhD. Leave any disbelief at the door, though, and you’ll be rewarded with an often gorgeous, soulful sci-fi that’s charged with emotion and bursting with spectacle. It has meaningful things to say about letting go, dads and their sons, and the challenges of reconciling with the past. Sure, it’s set in “the near future” and mostly against the endless solitude of space – captured by Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema with lunar greys and Martian ochres – and it boasts possibly cinema’s first moon-buggy chase (as awesome as it sounds), but director James Grey and his co-writer Ethan Gross never lose sight of its intimate heart. They’re aided in that by a terrific, nuanced performance from Pitt. For the most part, Ad Astra wears its near-future-ness with a light touch. Exactly what’s happening on Earth is kept deliberately murky, beyond
Quentin Tarantino’s buzzy alt-history of late-’60s Hollywood puts truth in a bong and smokes it
Even in our Stranger Things–dominated popscape, no one was expecting 2017’s It—a second attempt at a ponderous 30-year-old novel—to become such a huge phenomenon. A monster hit? Sure. No one likes a clown, evil or otherwise. But the highest-grossing horror movie of all time? To understand that outcome, one would have to consult the dark forces trapped in Stephen King’s typewriter. Finally, though, the hype is justified: It: Chapter Two improves on its predecessor in nearly every way. King’s book was bifurcated into halves, one hefty chunk going to its 1950s preteens living in a fictional Maine town, and the other to these tiny warriors grown up into equally haunted ’80s adults. It: Chapter Two follows suit, but the movie doubles down on the deeper, metaphorical nature of losing one’s innocence and discovering a world full of real-life pain. Disturbingly (and boldly), the film opens with a scene of vicious gay bashing, as modern-day Derry has become a place similar to so much of today’s hate-brimming America. Like autumn leaves, those menacing red balloons reappear—the movie does a beautiful job of bridging its natural and supernatural elements—and it’s up to an older, lonely Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), now the town’s librarian, to call his buds. They include Bev (Jessica Chastain, a persuasive sufferer), trapped in an abusive marriage; Bill (James McAvoy, a little stiff), now a Hollywood screenwriter and crafter of “bad endings”; a slimmed-down Ben (Jay Ryan); the hypochondriac
Review by Joshua Rothkopf At this point, after Superbad and Booksmart, we’ve hit upon a formula: dorky, essentially sweet-natured kids getting into R-rated trouble scored to DJ Shadow’s “Nobody Speak.” Good Boys drops the age range to tween—though it’s certainly not meant to be watched by them, only by nostalgic adults—and makes the most of its disparity between life inexperience and oddly poised dialogue. (The biggest laugh comes when our sixth-grade hero drops the random slam: “Everyone knows your mom plagiarized her cookbook.”) It’s a one-joke premise, which might be best summarized as Kids Say the Fucking Darndest Things. (Hey, that child just swore!) Regardless, this movie is blessed with a cast of young actors who all seem to be in on the gag. Max (Room’s gifted Jacob Tremblay) and Thor (Brady Noon) are both on the verge of discovering girls; Max’s father (Will Forte, supportive to a degree that’s wince-inducing) is thrilled to learn that his son his masturbating. But their gang’s third member, Lucas (Keith L. Williams, who deserves his own spin-off), is still trapped in that squeaky, shrieky zone of easy tears, bruised emotions and instantaneous guilt. Good Boys saddles Lucas with divorcing parents, a wobbling speed walk and the keenest awareness of his being left behind in the sexual sweepstakes, and Williams plays it as expertly as Will Ferrell did in Step Brothers. The screenplay (cowritten by The Office vets Gene Stupnitsky, who directs, and Lee Eisenberg) isn’t
It's the laugh that gets you first: Joaquin Phoenix’s half cackle, half rasp has all the soothing aural balm of a vulture in a blender. It’ll be ratting around in your ears long after the old-school “The End” card flashes up on this unrelenting, grimly funny and brilliantly visceral reinvention of the DC supervillain. Joker is a truly nightmarish vision of late-era capitalism—arguably the best social horror film since Get Out—and Phoenix is magnetic in it. He runs Heath Ledger cigarette paper-close as the finest screen Joker. Like everything in this drum-tight movie, the title’s lack of pronoun is no accident: It’s not the fully formed Joker being introduced here, but Arthur Fleck, a man whose ambition to tell jokes for a living is at odds with the living he scraps as a clown-for-hire on Gotham’s grimy streets. Judging by the movies playing—Excalibur and Blow Out—it’s 1981, but it feels more like the ’70s of Death Wish. He lives with his frail mom (Frances Conroy) in a broken-down tenement, eking out a little joy watching a TV chat show hosted with oily relish by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). He’s on seven types of medication and has a neurological condition that causes him to laugh—okay, cackle—uncontrollably. In these early domestic scenes, Phoenix establishes Arthur as a man who sees himself less as an underdog than a mutt waiting to be put down. “I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore,” he says. And no wonder: It’s a seriously bleak world he inhabits, a cityscape