This past weekend I was in Bangkok for longer than 48 hours for the first time since I arrived in Thailand. Miracles do happen folks. Albeit I was there on an unhappy note. My passport was stolen in Chiang Mai and I had to make the trek over to my embassy to get a new one sorted out. (Brace yourselves, a blog post on this drama is coming.)
Life admin. I hate it so.
BUT - instead of staying inside my hotel room and crying about how much the month of July hates me, I decided to do some sightseeing. I met up with some friends from Chiang Mai and we hit up the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre.
I am a massive museum / gallery nerd. This is especially true when it comes to a country's local art scene. History of Art was my favourite subject in high school and is still something that fascinates me to this day. I love seeing the different techniques artists employ and how they choose to convey an array of different subject matters about the interesting times we live in today.
Going into the Bangkok Art Gallery, I had no expectations and didn't know what to expect. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed at all! There were a wide variety of pieces on each level, from sculptures to beautiful realism, mixed media and a couple of really thought-provoking avant-garde videos.
So without further adieu, here are my 10 favourite pieces that inspired and captivated me at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre!
1. Destroyed artistic nude photography print
This piece is part of a 4-part series. As someone who loves the female body, especially depicted in artistic nudes - this was one of the first pieces that caught my attention on the first floor of the gallery.
To achieve this effect, it looked like the artist has used two prints, with the one being destroyed to create this 3-D string effect. One day when I have my own house and I'm staying in one place for longer than 2-years, I'm going to have art like this hanging around for sure.
2. BUDDHA RUINS
I'm not usually a fan of sculpture art, but this piece was really cool. There are so many little details to it that make each space unique. From some disturbing pictures of a guy wrapping his dick around a stick to all the little Buddha's scattered around and some with plants growing out of them in various stages.
3. MIND-BLOWING REALISM
The realism in the gallery is top class. There were many pieces like this one that looked more like a photography print than a actual painting on a canvas.
This painting spoke to the South African inside me. As a country, we are often referred to as the "rainbow nation" and even as I write this, there is a continuous struggle for all races to work together. It's only then that we will be able to build the country we all want.
There was also a large scale impressionism piece by one art that was so incredibly detailed. I can only imagine how long that must of taken.
4. POLITICAL COMMENTRY
As a outsider of Thai culture, I felt this piece could be interpreted two ways.
One - it's showing the incredible devotion and love the Thai people have towards their King and how normal it is to have his picture everywhere.
Two - it's highlighting the unsettling nature of living in a military dictatorship where the population are bombarded with imagery like this on a daily basis. In essence, the dark side of nationalism.
Though, it was in the section of the gallery where all the paintings where dedicated to the King. So if the artist was going for number two, it was very tongue-in-cheek.
5. ANIMAL SCULPTURES
Again, not usually moved by sculpture pieces, but I loved the mixed medium used in this series of pieces by the artist.
I feel like if I had children, I could creep them out with a few horror pieces like this around the house.
6. THOUGHT PROVOKING VIDEOS
The artist for both these pieces had a few set up on the first floor of the gallery. I really love art like this. It's quite jarring and it makes you stop and just take it all in.
Whether it weirds you out, or makes you think about consumerism or the sexualisation of women in the media - or the exploitation of Thai women in sex tourism. I feel like it leaves a mark either way.
Did any of these pieces stand out for you? Do you make a point of checking out a country's local art scene when you travel? Let me know in the comments!