By Phatarawadee Phataranawik
Joggers and tourists visiting Lumpini Park this winter can fly across borders by donning, at least mentally, the bronze wings lovingly sculpted by acclaimed Mexican artist Jorge Marin. The masterpiece, entitled “Wings of Mexico”, is on display behind the Lanna-style wooden pavilion next to the King Rama VI statue on the corner of Rama IV and Rajdamri roads. The sculpture has been travelling through this part of the world since last year and Bangkok is the last stop on its Asian tour.
Mexican Ambassador to Thailand Jaime Nualart and curator Elena Catalan talks about Jorge Marin sculpture "Wings of Mexico" displaying in Lumpini Park, Bangkok until end of April.
“Bangkok is the City of Angels so what better place to bring the Wings than to this city, which is full of people who are friendly, like to play and enjoy outdoor activities,” Mexico’s ambassador to Thailand, Jaime Nualart, told The Nation at last month’s launch event.
A leading light of the contemporary art world for the last 25 years, Marin, 53, began sculpting ceramic in the early 1980s, but switched to bronze – now his signature material – 10 years ago. Create in 2010, “Wings of Mexico”, an interactive 3.5-metre-bronze sculpture project, aims to allow the viewer, at least for a second, to live the dream of flying. A permanent exhibition is on show at Paseo de la Reforma Avenue in Mexico City.
Intended as a public art project, the artist has displayed his wings in public parks and squares in Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Lumpini, which was home to last year’s “Elephants Parade”, was the obvious choice for its Bangkok stop.
“Lumpini represents Thailand. There’s a traditional Thai pavilion behind the sculpture and you can see Bangkok’s skyline in the background. The city is a fascinating mix of contemporary and traditional architecture and people will enjoy interacting with the sculpture from Mexico,” the ambassador said.
Nualert expressed the view that Thailand was the right place to close out the Asian leg of this project, pointing to its position as a major tourist centre and a hub with exponential growth opportunities across all of Southeast Asia for commercial and cultural relations. After this display, which finishes in April, the “Wings” will start their journey through Africa.
The sculpture transcends geographic and cultural boundaries through a symbol that everyone can identify with. The wings have been presented in different societies seeking to create a bond of brotherhood between nations. The viewer can play with it, wear the wings and become part of the work to get an interpretation of it.
The artist was not present at the opening, but the project’s art director and curator Elena Catalan was happy to explain the concept.
“The wings means freedom, liberty and the dream we all share of flying. Through this sculpture, we are trying to communicate with people and change society in a good way. The second goal is to have a dialogue with the people who play with wings,” Catalan said.
In addition to flying with his wings, the artist also invites viewers to join a photo contest and send their photos with the wings to the Embassy’s Facebook page by January 10. The three photos that conquer Marin’s heart will receive a graphic and he will present the awards around mid January. The photos received from all the contestants will be compiled for a commemorative poster of the exhibition.
“This is to promote Mexican art and culture to Thailand through Jorge’s work. It aims to encourage dialogue, interaction and cultural relations between our two countries. It’s our gift to Thailand so come and enjoy playing with it over the next four months or so and think about Mexico,” the ambassador said.
FLAP AND SHOOT
- The “Wings of Mexico” is on display in Lumpini Park until the end of April.
- The photo contest closes on January 10. Upload to Instagram using hashtag#WingsofMexicoThai, Facebook.com/embamextai/and Facebook.com/marinescultura/.