Exploring Thailand's Contemporary Art Scene

Bangkok sunset

Today’s featured post was provided by James, representing skyscanner.net. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t entirely au fait with Thailand’s Contemporary Art scene, so thought you might find this post as interesting as I did! Enjoy!

First-time and returning visitors to Thailand alike can't help but be drawn to the stunning works of ancient art found in temples like Wat Phra Kaew and museums such as the National Gallery of Thailand or Prasart Museum.

Yet there is a thriving contemporary artistic community in Bangkok and beyond that is also worth exploring. Whether you are interested in investing in a piece to take home or simply want to hobnob with Bangkok's bohemians, there's bound to be a gallery for you.

Notable Artists

Thailand is still a deeply traditional country, and cultural traditions as well as the influence of Buddhism are seen in the work of many current artists. The artwork of Kamin Lertchaiprasert is reflective of this, with his meditative, almost surrealist photographs and prints. Chusak Srikwan is an artist attempting to bridge the gap between traditional Thai arts and contemporary fine art, with his emphasis on playful shadow puppetry used in whimsical installations.

For an interactive take on modern Thai society and commerce, Surasi Kusolwong is a multimedia installation and performance artist who has replicated a typical kitschy marketplace in various locations around the world, including London's Tate Modern.

Galleries and Museums in Bangkok

Bangkok's art scene is still somewhat disjointed compared to other cities, with many galleries being far-flung or touristy. The city's universities are always a good place to start looking at new artists, with art schools throwing exhibitions. Bangkok University has its own on-site art gallery with rotating works by current students.

If you've come to Bangkok seeking works from more established artists, you may want to start by visiting the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, which opened its doors in 2008. It features several floors of galleries, as well as a film and music program. Lectures by local and international artists take place on a regular basis here.

The Bangkok Art Map is a free guide published monthly offering a roundup of what's happening in the city's galleries. This is distributed throughout the city's cafes, hotels, and museums, although you can also check the listings online. You can find 9 art galleries housed inside of the Silom Galleria, along with antiques and jewellery traders.

There are several more located on Silom Road, making this a prime location for a one-stop art shop. Sathorn Road is another centre for art galleries, with the H Gallery being one of the most prominent in this area. Gallery Ver is run by a local conceptual artist, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and is known for staging interactive and thought-provoking installations.

Further Afield

Thailand Boat

Thailand's art scene is not confined to Bangkok by any means. While you are exploring the countryside, you may stumble across artisans of all types, including painters, sculptors, and video artists. There are also galleries worth exploring in cities such as Phuket.

The Bodega is a café and hotel with local art for sale, while the D Gallery showcases art from Thai artists as well as other fresh talent from across Southeast Asia.

Chiang Mai also has a lively art community. The centrally located Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre gives a rundown of art from ancient times up until today, and the Chiang Mai University Art Museum exhibits work from students as well as visiting contemporary artists.

Thanks to James for providing today’s post. At the time of this posts publication I hadn't been to Thailand so the photos within were all sourced from flickr user MikeBehnken, under a creative commons license.

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