I took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok while in Thailand over the weekend during a business trip. The museum has only been open a couple of years and is a bit out of town (expensive Uber ride!) but is well worth a visit. I would guess that the place is on the scale of MoMA in New York City.
The collections are focused on contemporary Thai art, some of which is a stunning fusion of the traditional and the modern. Captions are provided in English and Thai.
Included in the foreign collection are some photographs. There seemed to be a strong narrative style, with a dash of fantasy running through the photos. This reflects the slightly surreal theme running through the rest of the art collection.
The Photographers shown (accompanied by iPhone snaps) were:
Manit Sriwanichpoom – I initially read this as a gay take on the Adam and Eve story, but on reflection, it could also refer to the commoditisation of sexual fantasy; the man with his pink shopping trolley encouraging the women to perform for his own voyeuristic pleasure. Perhaps a view formed by my perception of the sex trade in Thailand and a Western perspective on the colour pink. However, the artist explains the series of photos from which the print is taken, as a criticism of an emerging consumerist society, with the colour pink signifying vulgarity and the sex trade in Thai culture (reference Pink Man Begins).
Tom Chambers. Chamber’s work is of composite fantasy scenes, made with skill enough to make the viewer question whether or not the scenes passed in reality. Chambers describes his process on his website; photomontage based on sketched concepts that can take several months to complete.
Richard Tuschman. Constructed bedroom scenes, processed in a painterly style. The museum’s collection contained a number of paintings in a photorealistic style, so this made an interesting juxtaposition. Even intercontextualisation. In Petapixal’s interview with Tuschman, his influences are described as follows, ‘Richard Tuschman began experimenting with digital imaging in the early 1990’s, developing a style that synthesized his interests in photography, painting and assemblage.’ Photoshop acts as his canvass.
Thavorn Ko-Udomvit – blind glasses. This was an almost absurdist work – thumbnails of headshots of people all wearing the same ‘blind’ glasses. I laughed to see the confusion on the faces of the sitters – the disorientation if temporary blindness. The concept gave me an idea for my own project which I’ll revisit soon, perhaps in the context of coursework.
MOCA, Bangkok [website]. Available from: www.mocabangkok.com [accessed 27.6.16]
Petapixel [website]. An Interview with Richard Tuschman, the Photographer Behind ‘Hopper Meditations’. Available from: http://petapixel.com/2014/01/14/interview-richard-tuschman-photographer-behind-hopper-meditations/ [accessed 27.6.16]
Pink Man Begins [webpage] . Available from: http://www.rama9art.org/manit_s/pink1.html [accessed 27.6.16]
Tom Chambers [website]. Available from: http://www.tomchambersphoto.com/about.html [accessed 27.6.16]