The Inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale Brings Contemporary Art to Ancient Temples—and a Mall. See It Here
Marina Abramović, Lee Bul, and Yayoi Kusama are a few of the artists taking part in "Beyond Bliss," which runs through February.
Contemporary art may not the first thing most people associate with Bangkok, but Thailand’s capital city is hoping the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale will change all that.
Although the three-month event was announced at the Venice Biennale in 2017, this sprawling affair has a few key differences from the so-called “Art-World Olympics.” Most importantly, admission is free (tickets to the Venice Biennale will run you about $28), and the art is peppered across more than 20 locations around the city, including the landmark East Asiatic Building, the temples of Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Wat Prayoon, and inside a shopping mall.
The citywide art extravaganza is composed of more than 200 works made by 75 international artists from 33 countries, and around half of the artists are Thai. The biennial managed to nab art stars like Elmgreen & Dragset, Marina Abramović, and Yayoi Kusama as participants, and it counts the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Curator Alexandra Munroe and artist Rirkrit Tiravanija as advisers.
If the marquee artists help get people through the doors, organizers also hope the event will bolster local artists and the country’s contemporary art scene. In a statement, artistic director Dr. Apinan Poshyananda said the Bangkok biennale’s emphasis on local artists will offer visitors a different perspective on contemporary art: “Looking into the contemporary art in the West, I feel it is so stagnant and jaded. This can only be a response from the plaguing presence of uncertainty, terrorism, Brexit, the economy, and fear. Come to Bangkok and go beyond bliss.”
The Bangkok Art Biennale runs through February 9, 2019. See pictures from the inaugural event below.
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