Thai Transience _ Singapore Art Musuem


Showcasing the dynamism of Thai culture, Singapore Arts Museum is exhibiting Thai Transience from the 26th October 2012 to 6th January 2013. And since it’s Christmas today (Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all), admissions were free.

The Art Museum is definitely a place for me to refuel my creative bar or jolt it awake. I spent a good 2 and a half hours there just empathizing with the artist and the persona in their works. I’ve already seen the other exhibitions a few months ago so there’s more time for me to just be in awe with the “Thai Transience” exhibition.

Unlike Western artists, Thai contemporary artists explores surrealism in their society, faith and tradition. Colours are something you cannot miss in the exhibition as it depicts the exuberance of the Thai culture. (This is miles apart from the monotonous colours of Jia Aili’s work of Seekers Of Hope)

Sam 4Sam 11

Religious practices like meditation were also depicted to have great effect as have art-making. It crosses between the lines of zen and the vastness of the mind.Sam 14

But when it comes to the honest truth like that of gender issues, the persona in the paintings are “in states of distraught, panic and hysteria” like that of the works from Bussaraporn Thongchai. And out of all the paintings and artworks in the museum, this painting below, “You & Me” made me go back and take a long second look.

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This drawing on the wall shows the image of linga matching with a yoni; The meeting of the two genitalia sounds. While the title, “You & Me” suggests a happy ending, it’s apparent that there is an issue of sex and gender. The portrayal of Bussaraporn’s lovers remains in the patriarchal thinking, since it identifies herself by the existence of those men; to be twisted into almost beyond recognition.

Source: Bangkok Post

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These twisted figures looked so raw and deformed. One can relate these figures to Ancient Thailand where temples and statues seen to either be twisted or have Mythology associations. (Below: Khun Chang – Khun Phaen Garden)

Khun Phaen Garden

These feelings of being tormented in her sexual relationship are suppressed and Bussaraporn releases them by sketching them of pieces of parchments like sugar sachets, receipts and notepad pages. 100 of them are being exhibited in the Museum. She substitutes objects and limbs into phallic images and while it was disturbing to look at these images, I was honoured to get access to her creative yet dark mind.

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It’s quite shocking to see in such contemporary art that Thai artists are still focusing on problems that Western or more developed countries have slowly progressed out of; reversal of gender roles or lost of culture. Issues like gender and cultural identity are not better depicted than the works of these Thai artists.

There are just so many more pictures to be shown but you might as well see them for yourself at the Singapore Art Museum.

I was so intrigued by Southeast Asian contemporary art that I purchased “Tomorrow Today: Contemporary Art from the Singapore Art Museum (2009-2011), exploring collections from such artists that revolves their works around the wider social context.

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What I’m hoping for in the future is for Singapore Art Museum to exhibit Abstract Expressionist paintings. My inspiration mainly derives from emotions and artists like Jackson Pollock or Franz Kline’s contemporary works are just beyond the horizon of art and being.

Until next time and Happy holidays!


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