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

Participating artists: Kamol Phaosavasdi, Wisut Ponnimit,
Bhubawit Kritpholnara (Roj Singhakul) and Pattree Bhakdibutr
Organized by JTAC in collaboration with Kotchakorn Promchai

Golden Tiger / Hidden Monkey
The merging of invisible knowledge and scientific approach is still incredibly powerful and plays significant roles in Thai politics even today. It is not only leaders or the elite who are interested in astrology. This belief has become more accessible and popular among people from all walks of life. With the spread of digital technology, astrological information is more accessible to everyone. But why do people still believe and practice this tradition by consulting fortune telling? What is so special about astrology and why are we, as Asian people were, so obsessed with it in our daily life? Is this because this belief is so deeply rooted in our subconscious that it cannot be taken away by modernism and globalization?

Who do you consult and confide with when you are depressed or have problems? How many of you check your horoscope when you turn on the internet or read it in the newspaper on a daily basis? Who never consults a fortuneteller? If you never see a fortuneteller, what about your mother or grandmother, do they? The fear of not knowing your future and trying to find the best solution to your problems with the help of either a fortune teller or Feng Shui master seems to be an alternative that most of us use, but are not likely to talk about openly.

In our upcoming exhibition, the JTAC is collaborating with Khun Kotchakorn Promchai, a Chiangmai based Feng Shui master, to help conceive the idea of this exhibition “Golden Tiger/Hidden Monkey”. Here a series of contemporary artists will carry on a dialogue with Jim Thompson Art Collection, which highlights Brahma Jati : The Siamese Horoscope.

Among the collection of the Jim Thompson Thai House museum, traditional Thai paintings are some of the first objects that caught Thomson’s attention. It is fascinating to learn that one set of his Thai painting in the collection is about astrology and consists of “Bhrama Jati”, which is the Siamese Horoscope or “Twelve Signs”, traditional Thai paintings on paper. For an American who relocated to Thailand and became interested in local astrology, it demonstrates his ability to blend two traditions: his personal background and interest as an American with a new culture from his adopted homeland. He constantly adapted his beliefs and local tradition to conform with his daily life. When he started to build his famous Thai house, he consulted the monk about the auspicious day that he should move into the house. His horoscope chart is installed and exhibited in his study along with his personal horoscope, cast by the monk for his 61st year of age.

To continue in the spirit of blending and reinterpreting local knowledge with contemporary practice, we have invited contemporary artists, fashion designers, animators and fortunetellers to carry on a dialogue with his collection, to explore the idea of horoscope, its origin and a relationship with our daily life. The result will be a reinterpretation by various artists, fashion designers, animators and academics of this belief which refuses to fade away from our reality. We will attempt to explore the relationship of the zodiac with Buddhism and how it became integral part of our society. Most importantly we will see how this invisible local wisdom can be applied to our daily life.

About art works and artists:
Bhrama Jati, a Siamese horoscope from the Jim Thompson Thai House Museum Collection

When Jim Thompson decided to resettle in Bangkok, his passion was not only for silk, but also for various kinds of Thai and Southeast Asian arts and crafts. As a favorite pastime he began to collect artifacts, Buddha images, ceramics and traditional paintings. In fact, traditional painting and mural paintings were the first art objects that attracted him. William Warren describes this rationale behind collecting art in his book “Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Mystery”: As an art form they were in danger of dying out, and because of his admiration Thompson felt that someone should collect as many as possible of the old ones before they were lost entirely to the ravages of the tropical climates…Over the years, he managed to build up what is probably the finest collection of such paintings to be found anywhere. He was also instrumental in giving most Westerners their first look at the little known art, for he sent a group of his best paintings on tour of the American museums, sponsored by the State Department and also donated a number of them to museums that had Southeast Asian Collection. William Warren further mentions the secondary effect that Jim Thompson’s painting collection had on a number of younger Thai painters who went back to the traditional styles in order to supply a new demand for visitors who had seen Thompson’s collection. These phenomena perhaps became one of the most important factors resulting in the new movement of neo-traditional art among young Thai art students of modern art in Thailand in the 1960s.

Fashion set by Roj Singhakul
The fashion design set by ISSUES derives from the 12 signs in Astrology, inspiring Bhubawit Kritpholnara (Roj Singhakul), the designer and brand owner to create 12 dresses for this exhibition. To present these 12 zodiac dresses, they will be paired up upon the relationship between each sign.

Roj has started his career in Fashion business since 1994, and founded ISSUES in the year 1999. Being a brand owner and a designer, he always seeks for inspiration by taking new journeys, to see diverse cultures and meet new people. During each journey, local materials become part of his new creations.

RACING, Animation by Wisut Ponnimit
An animation about the 12 signs of the birth chart will feature in the exhibit. It describes the unique characters of the 12 animals which represented the zodiac system. Plus, it will explain how the 12 signs were divided into different categories and how they live together in harmony.

Working in both Thailand and Japan, Wisut Ponnimit is one of the most popular and distinctive artist-illustrators. He started his prolific career as a cult cartoonist with a manga-inspired drawing style. Some have called his manga ‘arty’ and ‘philosophical’ because of its often radical and profound contents. His latest exhibitions include International Triennale of Contemporary Art Yokohama 2005, Yokohama, Japan (2005); Temporary Art Museum Soi Sabai, Bangkok, Thailand, (2006); and ‘Show Me Thai’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2007). Recently, Wisut has collaborated with famous artists, Haruomi Hosono and Tanigawa Shuntaro.

OPEN THE SKY 2009 by Kamol Phaosavasdi
The art object, defining the abstract of balance and tranquility, leads the audience to the direct experience of gentle sense to the state of abstraction by scent. The provocation of sensa triggers a process of mind linking to the imagination. They confront the context of breath's equilibrium by the sense of aesthetic for the relativity of object and abstract's explanation, with the seduction to the space.

Kamol Phaosavasdi is renowned as one of the forerunners of Thai conceptual ideas and installation, and is a video artist who has exhibited widely in Asia, Australia, Europe and USA. In 2003 he participated in The 50th Venice Biennale, Italy. His work is often situational and site specific as viewer's interaction and participation are essential. His happenings and performances are provocative and make us ponder about the potential of body art that is frequently stereotyped as part of dissident art. The meaning of tranquility is found in Kamol's work and has been expressed in the exhibition Bon Voyage (2002) and the Quiet Storm (2005). Therefore, personal sensation and experience are the most important factors in communicating work and the idea of the artist to the audience. The work of Kamol also talks about spiritual topics, and he has looked at different aspects of spirit. This, however, is not spiritual art, especially when considering western art history. Certain issues such as expression, which is the inner self's issue, do not appear in Kamol's work despite their non-realistic form connections. Kamol completed his MFA (Intermedia) from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design ,Los Angeles, CA.,USA ( 1984 ) under advisers Richard Jackson, Colwin Clairmont, Shiro Ikakawa and Miles Forst. After graduating he now lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.

POWER OF SCENT by Pattree Bhakdibutr
Pattree Bhakdibutr, a leading Thai fashion designer, believes in living life filled with passion. Her passion in creating Erb, a perfume company, was inspired by her happy childhood memories, the nostalgic sweet herbal smell, the tender massage of her grandmother, the refined way of traditional living, as well as her love in art and design.

It was her grandparents who introduced her to the magical power of herbs in preventing and curing illness, as well as in taking care of body and mind. Following her own inspiration and passion, Erb has become Pattree’s real piece of design. She’s devoted in every detail with boundless energy and creativity ingenuity. From formulating to combining herbal remedies. From searching the right aroma to creating the tender touch. From designing aesthetically appealing packing to embracing you with the believing in dreams.

Science of aromatherapy from essential oil has been grounded for more than 3,000 years. Each scent of essential oil has different impact on our nervous system. People with diverse elements and zodiac signs react toward each scent variously. In the exhibition, variety of scent is presented appropriately with the 5 elements of human-kind. Although, quality of each essential oil is diverse, yet giving out resembling effect.

After graduated from Richmond University, UK, major in Marketing, minor in fine Arts, Pattree Bhakdibutr joined Leo Burnett, Thailand as Graphic Designer. She’s received several distinctive awards such as, Certificate of Recognition, D&AD Magazine, UK, Best Graphic Design, BAD Awards, Thailand, and Silver Award for corporate gift Design, TACT Awards, Thailand. By 1995, Pattree’s become partnered at Greyhound Co., Ltd., titled head women wear designer, Greyhound Original, and achieved Popular Vote, Best new designer of the year, Elle Magazine, as well as Woman of the Year, Cosmopolitan Magazine. She’s founded and devoted to Palama – Lapa Co., Ltd. under the title of Managing Director since 2000. Currently she lives and works in Bangkok.

Kotchakorn Promchai
Kotchakorn received a bachelor degree from the faculty of Economics (Monetary Economics), Ramkhamhaeng University and a master degree from the Graduate School (Man and Environment Management), Chiang Mai University. Kochakorn has studied Feng Shui in more than ten countries around the world including in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Her master degree in Man and Environment Management gives her insights into how to manage people and their surroundings in order for them to live in harmony, happily and sustainably. She teaches that the use of landscape architecture designs according to Feng Shui principals creates the economic use of energies and helps relieve problems of global warming.

Kotchakorn is currently working as a special lecturer in Feng Shui for a number of prominent universities and is a private consultant for real estate companies, hotels, prominent firms, stores and many well-known artists.

For more than 10 years, Kotchakorn has researched the art of Feng Shui and astrology and has introduced this topic to people in many fields. By sharing her knowledge to those in need, she helps them to make the most out of their careers and their lives, including resolving business conflicts, health problems, and student problems related to their studies. She helps those who consult her avoid problems that might happen in the future with maximum accuracy and confidence.

Though Kotchakorn possesses wisdoms from the past, she represents a new generation of Feng Shui experts who pay attention to scientific concepts. She is aware that not only is ancient Chinese knowledge based on nature, but also old Thai astrological studies are based on science. Thus, she combines them together and creates a new subject called Huangho (a Thai combination of Feng Shui and astrology). This is her own style of Feng Shui and astrology that perfectly fits her teachings and our contemporary world.

Educational Programs:

Artists talk
November 24, 2009
2.00 – 4.00 pm @ William Warren Library

Talk by Kotchakorn Promchai and participating artists about the idea behind this exhibition. Kotchakorn will lecture about the zodiac signs which play an integral part in our lives. Followed by artists talk e.g. Kamol Phaosavasdi, Issues, Wisut Ponnimitra and their works in the exhibition.

Workshop about Feng Shui
December 13, 2009
1.30 – 4.30 pm @ William Warren Library

Kotchakorn Promchai and her students will give a lecture and workshop about the 12 signs, their compatibility and give advice to you. Better prepare for your future!

Workshop Mindfull Art
January 16, 23 & 30, 2010
2.00 -
5.00 pm @ William Warren Library
This art therapy workshop, “Mindfull Art” will be facilitated by Kitt Kertbundit, a professionally trained art therapist, who will use various type of artistic practice with a Zen Buddhism, to guide you to explore your own self.

Lecture about Feng Shui and scientific rationality
February 20, 2010
1.30 – 3.30 pm @ William Warren Library

Feng Shui and scientific rationality is a research explanation by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vorasun Buranakarn, research expert and Doctor of Philosophy advisor, Faculty of Architecture Department, Chulalongkorn University. His talk will center around the scientific approach on astrology (Architectural influences of Feng Shui in China and Thailand) as invisible forces which play influential roles in our lives.

For further information, please contact;
The Jim Thompson Art Center
Tel: 02-612-6741, 02-219-2911

Exhibition Coordinator, khun Penwadee Nophaket Manont
E-mail: penwadee@jimthompsonhouse.com

Education Program Coordinator, khun Somsuda Piamsamrit
E-mail: somsuda@jimthompsonhouse.com

Horasart lang Nawayook (astrology in post modern context)
William Warren, Jim Thompson : The Unsolved Mystery about Jim Thompson