Bangkok-raised artist Korakrit Arunanondchai engages a myriad of subjects such as history, authenticity, self-representation, and tourism through the lens of a cultural transplant. His work seeks to find a common ground in artistic experiences through a pastiche of styles and mediums.
For his first solo museum exhibition, Arunanondchai presents 2012–2555, a large-scale installation which is the first in a trilogy of video-installations. Named for the year in which it was produced (2555 is the year 2012 on the Buddhist Calendar), the work features footage of the artist revisiting his artistic achievements from 2008 to 2011 and documents his grandparents as they transform the family garden into their “elderly home.” The work explores the cyclical nature of life and memory. For Arunanondchai, the work also evokes the death of his current practice and a transformation into a new one.
Shown along with 2012–2555 are three series of paintings generated from different videos. Untitled (Muen Kuey), was born from 2556, the second video in the trilogy. The paint marks on the denim result from a re-performance of Thai performance artist’s Duangjai Jansaunoi use of her own body to paint on canvas during season 2 of Thailand’s Got Talent. Jansaunoi, whose performance outraged viewers and sparked a dialogue on the role of performance art in Thai culture, was a part-time female go-go dancer, who was paid to go on the famed Thai show in order to increase the number of viewers. Named after a popular Thai song, Muen Kuey, which translates to “It’s always the same,” the paintings are each accompanied by 100 DVDs containing documentation of Arunanondchai’s performance, Jansaunoi’s performance and the televised critique of her performance by famed Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
Untitled (History Painting), attempts to make a connection between the history of Western painting and the shift in global commerce and consumption. The works were originally shown with the video Painting with History in a room filled with men with funny names (2013), which features footage of modern American artists interspersed with images of Thai youth in blue jeans. In both the paintings and in the video, Arunanondchai relates the rise of denim culture with the importation and appropriation of western culture which affected everything from fashion to modern art. With these paintings he seeks to identify himself as the “denim painter.”
Untitled (White Temple Paintings), arise from footage of a famous temple in Northern Thailand called Wat Rong Kun (White Temple), which was designed and produced by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. This series of eleven white and gold paintings marks the artist’s first collaboration with his twin, Korapat Arunanondchai. The paintings emerged out of the narrative of the third video in the trilogy, Painting with History in a room filled with men with funny names 2 (2557), in which the Arunanondchais travel to the famous temple.
Korakrit Arunanondchai (Thai, b. 1986) earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009 and his MFA from Columbia University in 2012. He has had several solo exhibitions at CLEARING gallery in New York and Brussels and has been featured in major group exhibitions at the Sculpture Center and the Fisher Landau Center. Additionally, the artist previewed his upcoming film, Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 2, at MoMA PS1’s event during Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2013.
In conjunction with his exhibition, Korakrit Arunanondchai will present four videos accompanied by live performance featuring his twin brother Korapat Arunanondchai and performance artist Boychild with lighting by AJGvojic of Thunder Horse Ent. as part of MoMA PS1 Sunday Sessions at the Spring Open House on March 23.