Saturday, 27 February 2010

Art spaces and current exhibitions

I've been looking at art in the city today and am full of joy and fire from it, so here are a few of my favourite art spaces along with current exhibitions that I've enjoyed or am planning to check out.

I've chosen things that are a) free (except Eat Me, because that's a restaurant) and b) easy to get to from a skytrain station. There's so much more out there, so if you like art and don't already know about BAM! (Bangkok Art Map), look out for it in galleries and caf├ęs. It's a free monthly guide to what's happening on Bangkok's art scene, with exhibition listings and a map showing where they all are. But here are my picks:

Thavibu - Solid by Pinaree Sanpitak (13 Feb - 31 Mar) and Bangkok Station by Therdkiat Wangwatcharakul (13 Feb - 7 Mar)
These are my two favourite Thai artists and I was so excited to discover they both have exhibitions at the same gallery right now. Pinaree does amazing sculpture and installation work in varied media based on a breast/stupa motif, always elegant and ever-so-slightly strange. Solid features both aluminium and Murano glass sculptures. Therdkiat is known for his oil paintings on aluminium sheets, showing scenes from daily life in Bangkok's streets, the grunge and the transient beauty.
Thavibu is on the 3rd floor of the Silom Galleria Building, 919/1 Silom Rd. I've never been there but it looks easy to get to from Surasak BTS station. Open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tue-Sat; noon - 6 p.m. Sun; closed Monday.

A joint recommendation: H Gallery and Eat Me. H Gallery specialises in contemporary Asian art and often shows work with a deep sense of aesthetics and relevance. Its current exhibition is Thai Contemporary Art, featuring several artists, including Jakkai Siributr, whose textile and mixed media pieces play with spiritualism and materialism and are a bit breathtaking. I'm trying not to gush, but really, if you're in Bangkok go see this. He manages to make art that's fragmentary and cohesive at once. I'm in love.
H Gallery is on Sathorn soi 12 (round the corner from Chong Nonsi BTS station), open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Tuesdays ("Tuesdays by appointment or by chance", the website says).

Eat Me is a a restuarant which also exhibits art and is curated by H Gallery. As a restaurant it's great, has the nicest vegetarian options of any upmarket eatery I've been to, awesome deserts (English breakfast tea-flavoured ice cream!), and a wicked mars bar vodka that sometimes comes out at the end of a meal. Their current exhibition is Transit 7, photography by Glen Wexler, January through April. The photos run around the walls on a continuous backlit strip, and are of the things I wish I could capture - glimpses by roadsides of the passing-by world, quirks of city corners, buildings, rooftops.
Eat Me is in soi Phipat 2, off Convent Rd. (close to Sala Daeng BTS station), open evenings, check website for number to call for reservations.

The Thailand Creative & Design Center, on the top floor of Emporium shopping centre, has an exhibition of Japanese bamboo handicrafts (28 Jan - 25 Apr; 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.). The exhibition includes information on the history and technique of bamboo weaving in the city of Beppu, tables with bamboo strips and instructions so visitors can try their hand at the craft, and stunning examples of basketry. Some of the pieces look more functional than others but all are artistic, and the range of shapes and textures and styles that can be created with just strips of split bamboo is impressive.

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