Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023

Last updated: 12 Mar 2024  |  500 Views  | 

Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023

Day 1 :  Pick A Craft takes you to see the art festival "Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023" at Chiangrai international art museum CIAM, a new art space in Chiang Rai which is a four-and-a-half-story contemporary building consisting of a pair of black/white towers representing two Chiang Rai's National Artist Thawan Duchanee of Baan Dam and Chalermchai Kositpipat of Wat Rong Khun (White Temple). CIAM exhibits the artworks of 14 Thai and foreign artists.

Thailand Biennale is the every-2-years contemporary art festival, according to the name 'Biennale', which comes from the Italian language. Chiang Rai is chosen to hold the third event after Krabi (2018) and Korat (2021) under the concept of “The Open World” by Co-Artistic Directors Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gridthiya Gaweewong, along with Co-Curators Angkrit Ajchariyasophon and Manuporn Luengaram, they presented a variety of issues. related to history, culture, and nature in Chiang Rai to 'open' people's artistic perception through the artworks of 60 Thai and foreign artists from 21 countries, at 10 main exhibitions in Mueang District and 7 other main exhibitions in Chiang Saen, along with 13 other Pavilions from 9 December 2023 - 30 April 2024.

Finally thank you Baan Mai Kradan Hostel for facilitating accommodation while traveling to see the Biennale Chiangrai this time. We will continue to present many more interesting artworks from the Biennale in our next episodes.

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Day 2 : Today we chose to travel to see the Biennale at Cherntawan International Meditation Center founded by V. Vajiramedhi. Another main exhibition venue of Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023 where we are interested in many highlights installation artworks of 6 well-known artists selected to create a working concept in a peaceful context surrounded by nature and religious thoughts.

Starting from the main entrance welcomes us with a large installation "The 4 Noble Truths" by Chata Maiwong, the Chiang Rai artist wants to convey the teachings of The 4 Noble Truths in Buddhism passed by the remains of 4 giant Krabok trees that were more than 200 years old.

Continuing to the wooden temple, there is a work inside by Singaporean artist Zen Shi Wei Teh "The Imperative Landscape: Mapping Spiritual Order in Mountain Topography" that arranges the composition of the installation art in harmony and creates a view of the peacefulness of the wooden temple.

Then enter the area inside, the sculpture "Garden of Silence" by Sanitas Pradittasnee that mesmerizes visitors as well 'Invisible Tower' in rubber plantation 108 trees which is shared a lot on social media and one of the most talked about events on Thailand Biennale this time!

Not far from the wooden temple, we found the work of Songdej Thipthong, a Chiang Rai artist, with his work "Sanctuary" in which the artist is interested in human beliefs, through the media of worship and creating an atmosphere in various rooms: A story of Power, Faith, Joy, Seeing and Feeling until the Emptiness that comes from letting go.

“Belief is like the Wind” by Arin Rungjang, is an installation that communicates the perception of the environment of natural sunlight and wind in the area. Through the elements of wooden frames, stones, ropes, and bells, in the atmosphere of the song of Pga Ka Yau hill tribe woman from Huai Hin Lad Nai community, Chiang Rai Province.

Nearby there is a bamboo "Pavilion of Perseverance" of Korakot aromdee Design (Silpathorn Artist in design category, 2017) in conveying the artist's local cultural interest to moving on to the process of using natural materials like bamboo to create works that can place outside perfectly.

Lastly, there is also the wooden building that showcases sculptures by the Korean Pavilion group and artworks that express the issue of PM 2.5 dust pollution by the Mae Ying Artists Collective group.

TIP: You should have 1-2 hours to visit the event. To travel, use the organizer's Free Bus Service from the city or the main station, Wat Rong Khun. Thanks again to Baan Mai Kradan Hostel for accommodations during this trip.

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Day 3 : Today after finishing breakfast, we headed to Chiang Saen, another main venue of Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023 , to visit the 7 main exhibitions in and around the city. The curators chose to present the events that are related to the history of Chiang Saen which was the foundation of art and culture in Chiang Rai later on.

Chang Warehouse (Huay Kiang Warehouse): At its main entrance, we found the artwork "Bad Spirit Who Makes People Sick 2" which communicates the belief in the spirit of the Hmong people through symbols on the canvases of Tcheu Siong, a Hmong artist, living in Luang Prabang. Go straight inside, Pablo Bartholomew's artwork "Weaving Chakma: An Imagined DNA Map of the Chakma People (2017 – 2019, ongoing)" Artist-photographer presenting the indigenous Chakma community in India. Inside the warehouse, there are more artworks to 'open' the world for visitors to understand Chiang Rai that is connected to all aspects of history, whether it be the area, nature, people, or thought.

Ban Mae Ma School was Selected as the location to present "Motion Pictures" by "Joe" Apichatpong Weerasethakul, an award-winning director who is internationally recognized who came to visit the area and chose this abandoned classroom to show the movie "Phi Ta Bo" in a new atmosphere such as a "Likay or Thai traditional dramatic performance" scene and white curtains of a movie theater shot through a movie projector!

Sridonmoon Art Space: An artistic tourist attraction founded by senior artist Sriwan JanehuttaKarnkit who moved to live at Doi Sa Ngo after retiring from Bangkok. The large-scale painting "Phra Malai’s Journeys to hell 2023" was inspired by the story of Phra Malai, a record of Siamese wisdom and culture.
The Community Digital Center in Wiang, Chiang Saen District presents Hsu Chia-Wei's video art installation short films and VR (Virtual Reality) works. Besides the digital center, we found a giant set "His Displaced, Whose Land?" stands tall on the banks of the Mekong River by Nawin Rawanchaikul & Navin Production - studiok. It presents various people related to Chiang Rai and a short film that records the memories of people in Chiang Saen.

Ancient Monument No. 16 (Chiang Saen City): There are 2 artworks of Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts & Culture. The outdoor installation art in an abandoned temple is in the form of two foundationless inflatable architectural pieces in the shape of a stupa and a temple base comparing the persistence of objects with a continuous state of decay and rebirth.

Wat Pa Sak is an important historical site that shows the beauty of the stucco pagoda Lanna architecture. This place has artworks such as Chitti Kasemkitvatana and "Kala Ensemble" which brings the Kala Face (a demon god who guards sacred places and symbolizes time), and the drumhead of the Victory Drum (or Poo-Jaa Drum, a rhythmic instrument used in Lanna rituals), to be presented in a context that is in harmony with the place. "Three Parts" by Tawatchai Puntusawasdi presents the dimensions of space on the horizontal and vertical axes based on images of people in meditation poses.

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Day 4 : We return to stay in Chiang’s downtown to explore the remaining Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023 in and around the city. We started by walking to see two venues near our hostel, “Tobacco Warehouse” and “Singhaklai House”, before moving out to “The Old Chiang Rai City Hall” and “RJJ building” which are not far away, then driving out to see the venues outside the city at “Wat Rong Khun or White Temple”, “Ryokan Café”, “Sla Khin Pavilion Opening J. Prommin’s World”, “Art Bridge Chiang Rai” and ending up at “Chiang Rai Train Library”.

Tobacco Warehouse: in front of the entrance we find an Air balloon shaped like a spaceship that is the art installation "Museo Aero Solar" by Tomas Saraceno that strikes visitors well, because we were able to touch the special dimensions inside the balloon, which was made from scraps of used plastic bags collected by artists and local people to create this work together. There is also an interesting work such as "We are flying" by Japanese artist Shimabuku, who joins the community to help make life-size kites to reflect the coexistence of humans and nature! Outside the building there is a colorful artwork "Joy and Grace" by contemporary artist Atta Kwami; "A Ballast Flora Garden: Weeksville Heritage Center" by Maria Teresa Alvez, which focuses on deforestation around the edge of the reeds, and "Somewhere I Read" in the form of a performance show by Arto Lindsay.

Singhaklai House: An old missionary house where the exhibition “Zomia in the Cloud” by Production Zomia is a group of artists in regions such as Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar who want a space to communicate the thoughts and lifestyles of refugees, minorities, and people. Visitors can also go up and watch a video under the house’s roof, which is not often open to the public!

The Old Chiang Rai City Hall: Michael Lin's "Weekend" is displayed on the building's front wall, showing patterns and colors from hill tribe fabrics that reflect the diversity of ethnic groups in this area.

RJJ Building (the former Youth Stationary Shop): Rubanah with the exhibition "Don't be afraid to walk alone" by a group of Indonesian artists with art installation used old chairs and items used in old hotel rooms are displayed to reflect traces of the past and memories of this hotel.

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple): Showcasing the Skipper (Kneedeep) sculpture and three Untitled paintings by Tsherin Sherpa, inspired by Tibetan spirituality. Walk a little further and find the art installation by Korakrit Arunanonchai “2014 (Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 2)” in the Wat Rong Khun’s Art Gallery.

Ryokan Cafe': we drove outside the city to see the artworks of the Mae Lao artist group, who presented "Mae Lao Playing with Tongs" on a rice field, reflecting the way of life that is tied to agriculture and in harmony with local culture through interesting art installations, music, and live performances.

Sla Khin Pavilion Opening J. Prommin’s World: where we come to see the story and history of Jamrus Prommin (Sla Khin), an artist who taught himself art with the broadcast of local life Ethnic communities in the north, from photographs to his beautiful paintings.

Art Bridge Chiang Rai: Exhibiting watercolor paintings “International Watercolor Painting Exhibition” with over 80 artworks by International Watercolor Artist Group.

Chiang Rai Train Library: Inside the train car, we entered the video "Every water is an island" by the Poklong Anading group that came to record images of the water with beautiful sparkling light, but it's actually a micro-plasma from the city's wastewater treatment plant Walking outside into the public park area surrounding the wastewater treatment pond, there was “Anonymity” that featured a series of portraits of Chiang Rai residents holding a mirror on their faces to reflect sunlight hitting the artist's camera lens (a light box designed by Songdej Thipthong, a Chiang Rai artist).

Finally, thank you once again Baan Mai Kradan Hostel that facilitating and supporting accommodation with the team from the beginning until the end of the trip!

 

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