By Rémy Jarry
Featuring 73 artists from 35 countries, and over 200 artworks exhibited in 12 different venues, the third edition of the prestigious Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) promises to be a groundbreaking event.
The curatorial team behind the Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2022 epitomises the Eurasian dialogue that this art event has established since its inception. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of BAB, Jirat Ratthanawongjirakul, Director of Gallery VER, and Chomwan Weeraworawit, Founder of Mysterious Ordinary, this illustrious team includes Italian curator Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani and British art consultant Nigel Hurst. Add to that Mori Art Museum Director Mami Kataoka, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Curator Alexandra Monroe, among other international advisors, and the whole organigramme of the biennale becomes a blend of East and West.
Supported by ThaiBev, along with other private sponsors, BAB 2022 will start on October 22, and continue for four months. Entitled ‘CHAOS : CALM’, this year’s biennale completes the two previous editions – ‘Beyond Bliss’ (2018) and ‘Escape Routes’ (2020) – as a trilogy to showcase an artistic assessment of our contemporary era; between apocalypse and redemption.
The 2022 biennale should benefit from an increased budget (200 million Baht), as well as closer institutional partnerships with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). In addition to its usual venues, the renovated Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) will become its new gravity centre, displaying about half of the artworks over a space of 2,000 square metres. BAB Virtual Venue, an online platform featuring digital artworks, completes the 11 physical venues, while allowing art enthusiasts from all over the world to participate virtually in the event.
At Wat Pho, British artist Antony Gormley (born in 1950) will show two metal sculptures in the shape of the human body, placed in the temple’s corridor and surrounded by dozens of Buddha statues in sitting postures. Oscillating between emptiness and fullness, movement and stasis, materiality and spirituality, reality and ideality, his sculptural work appears as an interesting pick for such a location. In fact, the proximity of his aesthetics to Buddhist art is no coincidence, as the artist considered becoming a monk after travelling to India and Sri Lanka in the early 1970s. Antony Gormley is also expected to give a lecture about his artistic practice and deep interest in Buddhism during the biennale in Bangkok.