By PHATARAWADEE PHATARANAWIK
A prolific artist with a career than spans more than six decades, Chalood Nimsamer, now 84, has yet to put down his brush. The National Artist spends a good part of his day working on his own creations and fills in the rest of the time teaching at Silpakorn University, where he studied with Prof Silpa Bhirasri, the father of modern Thai art.
This evening, he’ll be at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) greeting guests at the unveiling of his latest series of 400 murals created since 2010 in the exhibition “Chalood’s Mural Painting and Retrospective”. Also featured will be some 100 old masterpieces ranging from drawings, paintings, sculptures and prints to experimental installations.
The show is curated by Sutee Kunavichayanont, a student of Chalood who now is teaching at Silpakorn University and Pakorn Klomkliang of the BACC and is divided into six sections based on his working periods.
Entering through a life-size door – an ink-jet print depicting his installation “Baan Krua Dam” - viewers will see his A2-size-mural painting series. These contemporary murals portray his experience as an artist and depict his signature figures of women and children in traditional Thai costume – blouse and phasin (sarong). The ink drawings and acrylic paintings on saa paper symbolise purity and gentleness and are inspired by nature and culture,
Chalood has long held that working on his art every day is key to a peaceful mind – a kind of natural dharma practice. The exhibition includes works from his “Dharma Silpa” series, works he painted between 1987 and 1996 without any intention of conveying Buddhist meanings but rather as a tool to show that his mindset was nurtured by dharma. The works have a simplistic form with a serene structure and soft colour tone that pleases the eye. The series reflects the purity of a calm and free mind that is the result of a meditational state.
His “Drawing” series showcases the technique of which he is particularly fond. This series consists of four drawings: “Visual Poetry” (1982-1983), “Daughters” (1985), “Sculpture in Landscape” (2007), and “Meditative Drawing” (2011).
Regarded as one of the pioneers of the Kingdom’s conceptual art movement, Chalood created the “Rural Environmental Sculpture” series in 1982. Inspired by the simple way of life enjoyed by rural Thais, he used found objects in daily life to create his experimental art projects. He began by hanging and placing the objects on a tree stump then moved towards hanging the objects on his own body as a means of expressing the relationship between humans and nature in rural Thailand.
The “Rome Drawings and Abstract Prints” series represents his study of the intaglio technique in Rome between 1956 and 1958 and of lithographs in the US in 1964. While in Europe, Chalood drew the landscapes of various locations in Rome and Paris, France and these artworks include several abstract graphic arts techniques that have never been presented to the public.
Although named as a National Artist in Sculpture in 1998, Chalood’s broad range of talents is reflected in the works he created during 1955-1962. He explored Thai rural life with the printmaking technique of wood engraving and was the first person in Thailand to experiment with Masonite or hardboard as a replacement for real wood. He later produced a series of monochrome and colour woodcuts.
In 1956, he became the first artist to use gold leaf on contemporary art. His “Rural Life, Tempera and Gold Leaf” series harmoniously incorporated traditional Thai art with contemporary art to convey the stories of Thai way of life.
MEET THE | MASTER
- Chalood Nimsamer opens his exhibition at 6.30 tonight at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s main gallery on the ninth floor.
- The show runs until August 18. Find out more at www.BACC.or.th.