Distinguished Encounters

Distinguished Encounters
A Selection of Modern and Contemporary Art from Thailand
19th February –  30th April, 2009Curated by Brian Curtin

Thawan Duchanee
Pratuang Emjaroen
Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit
Kamin Lertchaiprasert
Pichai Nirand
Michael Shaowanasai
Vasan Sitthiket
Ronarong Thanomtup
Toi Ungkavatanapong
Sujin Wattanawongchai
Damrong Wong-Uparaj
Natee Utarit

Sombatpermpoon Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition that explores questions of the modern and the contemporary for Thai visual art. Distinguished Encounters brings together works by Thai artists who came of age under the influence of modernism with a selection that more immediately fits notions of the contemporary. This exhibition poses questions about how we understand ideas of modern and contemporary in terms of individual Thai artists, the relationships these artists can have with each other, canonical theories, and the role of the audience in determining the significance of artworks.

As commentators have long since pointed out, cultural production in Thailand is marked by a negotiation rather embrace of foreign influences. Concerns with national identity, traditional pattern and/or Buddhist influence, among related references, consistently underline local engagements with the purportedly universal or international remits of modernism and contemporary art. Moreover, the visual terms of modernism and the contemporary are far from clear-cut.

Distinguished Encounters explores such insights in order to raise important questions about how significant art practices in Thailand may be perceived, discussed, categorized and related to one another other. The juxtaposition of very recent artworks with older and canonical pieces by artists such as Thawan Duchanee and Pratuang Emjaroen can be considered radical and provocative but should ultimately be understood as enlightening.