Jim Thompson Life & Legend Thai House & Museum Visitor Information Bangkok's Leading Host Special Events

2012-2555, 2556, 2557
A Video Installation by Korakrit Arunanondchai
At the Jim Thompson Art Center
1 April – 10 September 2016

Artist talk on 1 April 2016 at 5 pm., at Ayara Hall
Opening reception at 6.30 - 10 pm.

The Jim Thompson Art Center is pleased to present a video installation 2012-2555, 2556, 2557 by New York-based Korakrit Arunanondchai, an acclaimed young artist of international renown. This is his first solo show in Thailand and follows his most comprehensive solo exhibitions to date at MoMA PS1 in New York in 2014, Palais de Tokyo, a modern and contemporary museum in Paris and UCCA Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, PRC in 2015. Korakrit ’ s works, which encompass paintings, performances, installations and videos, are grounded in his experiences of the relationship between the East and the West, exploring what art is as well as the relation between art and life. His practice is not a simply a question of advanced technology – such as the Internet and social media − but one of modern society including pop culture and religious symbols in Buddhism, Christianity and Animism. His artworks bridge such concepts as lifestyle in the opposing cultures of Eastern and Western beliefs, fiction and reality and the world of science and technology including the environment and our future.

Korakrit has long been intrigued by denim, considering it as a global marker of consumption that ’ s ubiquitous everywhere in the world. He started to make denim painting by bleaching and then burning it, digitally printing the result of the fabric being set on fire. Known as ‘ a denim painter ’ , his hypothesis based on this question, “ If canvas, which originated in the west, was the ground on which painting history was built, denim is a parallel history of globalization, labor and western influence. Perhaps for the narrative of the denim painter, it is denim on which his history is built. ” In the last 4 years, this project has grown, the denim painting has changed in relation to the character of the artist in the video. The working process is self-searching and self-actualization, like other individuals. His works centered on the emotional connection, non-linear and the changes of human nature and the universe. He often incorporates the current issues of the contemporary world such as news from the TV or social media, so the narrative is interspersed with many different things other than just the linear. Big controversies or memes can intervene in his storyline and serve to emphasize his oeuvre. His intention, however, is to take a common ground through such interventions. In this way, he believes that careful investigation and consideration without bias against a preconception can lead to new attitudes.

2012-2555, 2012, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

The trilogy 2012-2555, 2556, 2557 is a series of three videos, which are selected from four related performances and videos in a three-year production from 2012 to 2014. The year in which the artist made the artworks gives the work its title, but is expressed in the Buddhist Era (B.E.): 2555 for 2012, 2556 for 2013 and 2557 for 2014 respectively. In his naming concept, Korakrit plays with time through Buddhism and Christianity. A parallel between the Eastern culture and the Western is a central theme of the show – that is to say the artist ’ s reflections on globalization and the Internet.

2012-2555 (2012) is a collection of Korakrit ’ s experiences and served as the starting point for his inspiration to make this trilogy as a collection of his memories in Thailand and the States. Those memories with Korakrit ’ s family, friends and at work his personal remarks on growing up in both cultures. The exhibition is also a reflection of his passion for denim and painting. He likes to document with a digital video recorder. His approach to the concept of painting is based on his syncretism whereas his interrogation without bias brings about new dialogue such as through the denim intervention. As both denim and the painting canvas are made from cotton, Korakrit deploys denim in the same way that other artists perceive the white canvas. This underlines an alternative way of understanding what art means from Korakrit ’ s perspective.

2012-2555, 2012, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

2556 (2013), the second video in the trilogy, questions what art is and his self-actualization. At the beginning, it quotes Silpa Bhirasri ’ s words on Facebook. Later the narrative presents his performance based on the controversial body painting performance video clip by Duangjai Jansaonoi from Thailand ’ s Got Talent and follows up with an interview by a renowned national television reporter with Chalermchai Kositpipat that explains what art should mean.

The final part of trilogy, 2557, is entitled Painting with History in a Room Filled with Men with Funny Names 2. Here Korakrit broke the binary opposition between the East and the West, including between fine art and street art or between the spiritual and worldly sides of religion. He casts doubt on the meaning of authentic experience and transcendent embellishment. The video is a voyage of popular culture and spiritual matter that takes the artist and his twin, Korapat, to Wat Rong Khun - known as the White Temple - in Chiang Rai. The way the artist narrates the story is rather like a music video and he also includes the previous year ’ s body-painting situation. This poses a critical question to the public rather than resolving it. By all accounts, the norm in Thailand has Buddhism as consciousness and the sexual industry as unconscionable conduct. Such opposites are juxtaposed in the conception of the painting which asks whether or not they should be amalgamated.

In addition to this trilogy, Korakrit exhibits his video work, Painting with History in a Room Filled with Men with Funny Names, which was produced between 2011 and 2013. The video situates itself in an imagined room between two rooms, one filled with the artist and his friends smoking cigarettes and discussing their lives, and the other a room of a YouTube playlist of mostly white male abstract painters; a room in which western abstract painting history is built upon. The beginning of this video is a conversation between the artist and his guidance counselor at his Christian all-boys school.

2556, 2013, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

2012-2555, 2012, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

2556, 2013, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

2557, 2014, Video Still; Courtesy of the artist

The exhibition 2012-2555, 2556, 2557 is organized by the Jim Thompson Art Center and runs from 1 April to 10 September 2016. The gallery is open from 9.00 to 20.00 (free admission).
For more information, contact us at 02.612.6741 or email at artcenter@jimthompsonhouse.com
FB: the Jim Thompson Art Center
Website: www.jimthomspdonartcenter.org

About the artist :
Korakrit Arunanondchai was born in Bangkok in 1986. He attended the Bangkok Christian College and received his International Baccalaureate from the New International School of Thailand in 2005. He then went on to study at Rhode Island School of Design and earned his MFA at Columbia University. He has had several solo exhibitions. His first, in 2013, “ Muen Kuey (It ’ s always the same) ” was shown at CLEARING Gallery in Brussels and was followed by “ Painting with History in a Room Filled with Men with Funny Names ” at CLEARING Gallery in New York. Bill Brandy KC later took the show “ Painting with History in a Room Filled with Men with Funny Names 2 ” to Kansas City. In 2014, he had four solo exhibitions in renowned museums and galleries: “ Korakrit Arunanondcha i ” at MOMA PS1 in New York, “ Letters to Chantri #1: The lady at the door/The Gift that keeps on giving (feat Boychild) ” at The Mistake Room in Los Angeles, “ 2557 (Painting with History in a Room Filled with Men with Funny Names 2) ” at Carlos/Ishikawa in London and lastly “ Performance at Museum ” at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. In 2015, Korakrit showed in Paris - “ Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3 ” at Palais de Tokyo – and in Beijing, “ 2558 ” at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

To date in 2016, he has had two solo shows. The first at S.M.A.K. in Ghent was entitled “ Letters to Chantri #1: The lady at the door/The Gift that keeps on giving (feat Boychild) ” . The second was “ The fire is gone but we have the light: Rirkrit Tiravanija and Korakrit Arunanondchai ” at Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca.

Korakrit has also featured in many group shows. In 2012, the Sculpture Center in New York introduced his artwork as part of the show: “ Double Life ” while the Fisher Landau Center for Art in New York unveiled his “ Columbia MFA Thesis Exhibition ” . The Jim Thompson House in Bangkok showed his solo exhibition “ Memonikos ” in 2013. In the same year, he exhibited two artworks in New York: “ Digital Expressionism ” at Susan Geiss Company and “ High Desert Test Sites ” at Joshua Tree. In 2014, “ Beware Wet Paint ” was in two group shows at ICA in London and at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin.