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All eyes on Saatchi

Sep 25. 2015
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By Phatarawadee Phataranawik

Tomorrow in Bangkok, the London gallery will reveal its selection for "Thailand Eye"
Thai contemporary art  will be the focus of an exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery from November to January, a chance for 25 local artists to broaden their appeal.
Alongside Culture Ministry Permanent Secretary Apinan Poshyananda, Saatchi director Nigel Hurst will be in Bangkok tomorrow for the unveiling of his selection for “Thailand Eye”.
Hurst will also give a talk about the gallery founded by influential collector Charles Saatchi, “through whose eyes” the best of modern Thai art will be presented. The exhibition follows successful shows from Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and, earlier this year, “Singapore Eye”.
“Thailand Eye” is the final project in the London “Totally Thai” cultural-promotion trilogy after presentations of classical dance at the Royal Albert Hall and films at the Princess Anne Theatre in Piccadilly. The events are co-hosted by the Culture, Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Sport ministries and commemorate Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday. 
“I met Nigel Hurst earlier this year in London while I was preparing the khon performance and the Thai film festival and we discussed the possibility of having a Thai contemporary-art show,” says Apinan. Hurst subsequently visited Bangkok twice to view exhibitions and meet artists and then dispatched a team to spend a few months surveying the scene and meeting curators and critics.
“Saatchi’s team has visited many galleries and studios and met other key figures in contemporary art in Bangkok and Chiang Mai,” Apinan says. “Hurst has selected 25 works from among the 200 pieces we suggested.”
Apinan served as adviser to a Thai selection team that included BACC curator Pichaya Suphavanij, Sansern Milindasuta of Bangkok University and Thawatchai Somkong, editor of Fine Art magazine.
Some examples of contemporary Thai art have already been seen in London, says Apinan. On view permanently at Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon are murals by National Artists Chalermchai Kositpipat and Panya Vijinthanasarn, painted in the mid-1980s.
In 2005, conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija had a major solo show at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and in 2013 at Tate Modern, with an exhibition of portraits. Rirkrit’s subjects included poet John Giorno, artist Karl Holmqvist and rice farmer Lung Neaw, who was the subject of a feature film Rirkrit made.
In 2006 Surasi Kusolwong presented the performance installation “One Pound Turbo Market (You’ll have a good time)” as part of Tate Modern’s “Long Weekend”.
These London showcases have involved only individual artists, however, whereas the upcoming group exhibition will offer a much broader perspective of what’s happening here, Apinan pointed out. “‘Thailand Eye’ will represent the largest survey of new Thai contemporary art to date and features an exciting group of artists who’ve only recently emerged into the global art scene.”
Continuing into January, “Thailand Eye” will cover installation, sculpture, painting and “new media”. The gallery will also publish a book featuring works by some 70 contemporary Thai artists, to be launched at the opening. 
For those unable to make the trek to London, the exhibition will be coming to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre next March.
- The announcement of the selections for the Saatchi Gallery’s “Thailand Eye” exhibition will be made at 6pm tomorrow at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
- Seating is limited. To reserve a spot, e-mail [email protected]
- For more details, see


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