Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism

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Who : Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

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Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism




Produced in honour of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s seventh cycle, 84th birthday celebration, this art exhibition is a fresh look at artistic and creative activities during the long and eventful Reign of King Rama IX. Selected art works that cover seven decades showcase one of the largest exhibitions on Thai art in history.
Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai trends from Localism to Internationalism reflects turning points, defining moments and artistic watersheds by the nation’s renowned and emerging artists. This exhibition is about the breadth and depth of Thai art’s presence throughout the Reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thematic secions highlight recurring subjects such as Thai identity, celebration of royal cycles, social status, art patronage, dissident art, marginality, gender, taboo, experimentation and thrive for international recognition.
Instead of chronological periods, the exhibition is structured according to themes: Search for Thai identity; Buddhist Faith as Inspiration; Abstraction and Individualism; Social Space and Patronage; Socio-political Struggle; Fantasy and ‘Sur’ reality; Gender and Marginality; Locality and International Limelight; Experimentation and media culture.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s significance as painter and patron is displayed in context of the development of Thai art scene. His Majesty’s gestural brushstrokes combined with aspiration to experiment with oils on canvas are compared with his enthusiasm in photography and music particularly jazz. Notably, His Majesty’s contribution to the National Exhibition of Art, illustrations of Mahajanaka Jakata and mural decoration at the Phra Buddha Ratana Sathan are exemplary of the Preferred Royal Style.
Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism is intended to encourage exploration and imagination from the audience, thematic sections reflect creativity to relations to paradigm shifts, socio-political transformation, popular culture, quests in religious beliefs, class and social conditioning. Status and social hierarchy between artisan and artist, patronage and corporate social responsibility, art pedagogue and art jury, craftsman and celebrity are compared in open-ended spirit.
More than 300 artists ranging from highly revered national artists to young emerging talents; from Neo-traditionalis painters to experimental artists; from internationally recognized artists to locally celebrated artisans; from court painters to art activists.
This exhibition includes data and archival research on history of Thai art that compares events and development of art in Asian countries including Indonesia, Philippines, India and Japan. Emphasis is placed on art education through visual display, wall texts and captions together with publications, education kit and website that cover the multifaceted layers of art history during the Ninth Reign. Seminars and artists’ talks allow audience and students to participate and learn about various trends in Thai art at various pivotal stages.
Apart from highlights on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation, performance and experimental art, Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism offer comparison in disciplinary fields namely architecture, design, music and film. Last but not least, this exhibition includes art works by expatriate artists whose presence contribute to the rich and stimulating creativity during the sovereignty of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Organised by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre,  Art in the Ninth Reign: Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism is curated by Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda. As renowned scholar and international curator, Prof. Apinan has been invited to be Chief Curator of this historical survey of Thai modern and contemporary art under the Reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His curatorial team includes Luckana Kunavichayanont, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Sermkhun Kunawong, Pakorn Klomkliang and Nikan Vasinondh.
Prof.Dr.Apinan Poshyananda, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, comments, “Previously, there have been significant survey exhibitions on Art in the Ninth Reign at Queen Sirikit Convention Centre and Queen Sirikit’s Art Gallery in 1996 and 2006, respectively. This upcoming exhibition will cover seven decades of Thai art under His Majesty’s reign but instead of chronological survey our methodology will be according to thematic view points. In several areas, we will get a chance to scrutinize and revise significant trends and leading figures in the contribution to modern and contemporary Thai art. Moreover, this exhibition will examine visual art in context of film, music and literature that offer rich and extensive interdisciplinary comparisons”.
 Luckana Kunavichayanont, Director, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre adds,“The exhibition will offer a rare public viewing of significant works of art kept under a number of private collections. Besides, the large scale exhibition itself, the project will also publish a book of collected essays by leading Thai contemporary art scholars, historians, artists and curators, revolving around the development of Thai art in the past seven decades. The book, to be published in Thai and English, will be an indispensable reference on the course of modern and contemporary Thai art history at length.




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