‘Why Are They Here?’ – Bangkok Art Biennale, ‘Escape Routes’ | Art Review

17
February 2021
·
min read

The exhibition is at its best when artworks appear to disrupt the event’s sweeping therapeutic narrative

The Thai Kingdom is, for once, a picture of civic health. Tucked away in one of the second Bangkok Art Biennale’s ten venues, Prateep Suthathongthai’s photorealistic painting Dusit Thani Province 1 (2020) depicts a pointy-roofed Thai temple hemmed in by neat lawns and white crenellated walls. Just beyond lie the pintsize, European-style buildings that made up King Rama VI’s Dusit Thani, a miniature model city that served as his proof-of-concept playground for the principles of democracy, complete with party elections, a constitution and even a daily newspaper, back in the 1910s. Suthathongthai’s carefully hand-rendered recreations of archive photos are joined by large-format UV prints of the project’s original blueprints, while projected on the floor is drone footage of a dusty northeastern Thai village built by the government for former Communist Party members – failed fighters for a very different utopia – during the 1970s.

Read More

The exhibition is at its best when artworks appear to disrupt the event’s sweeping therapeutic narrative

The Thai Kingdom is, for once, a picture of civic health. Tucked away in one of the second Bangkok Art Biennale’s ten venues, Prateep Suthathongthai’s photorealistic painting Dusit Thani Province 1 (2020) depicts a pointy-roofed Thai temple hemmed in by neat lawns and white crenellated walls. Just beyond lie the pintsize, European-style buildings that made up King Rama VI’s Dusit Thani, a miniature model city that served as his proof-of-concept playground for the principles of democracy, complete with party elections, a constitution and even a daily newspaper, back in the 1910s. Suthathongthai’s carefully hand-rendered recreations of archive photos are joined by large-format UV prints of the project’s original blueprints, while projected on the floor is drone footage of a dusty northeastern Thai village built by the government for former Communist Party members – failed fighters for a very different utopia – during the 1970s.

Read More