Installation by Korakrit Arunanondchai

Here is a video showing an installation by Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai at Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA.

The installation is entitled Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3. It features a denim-patterned floor, a 20-minute video several painted and costumed mannequins and several large denim canvases featuring abstract shapes in vivid primary colors.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3 (K11 Musea, Hong Kong)

The artist blends themes of religion and pop culture and elements of autobiography and fiction to create a dream-like space that evokes different times and different states of reality.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: One of the mannequins
Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai

For example some the mannequins sport Manchester United paraphernalia. In one scene in the the video component of the installation, the dedication of many Thai people to Manchester United is presented as being akin to religious devotion.

One of the mannequins (wearing shredded Manchester United gear)
One of the mannequins (wearing Manchester United gear)
One of the mannequins (wearing Manchester United gear)

This artwork on the canvases was inspired by a controversial dance and body paint performance that the artist saw on Thailand’s Got Talent.

One of the mannequins
One of the mannequins (detail view)

The denim-patterned floor represents a giant painting made to be seen from the point of view of a drone or a spirit looking downwards.

Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai: Painting with History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 3 (K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong)

The gallery showcasing the colorful multimedia exhibit was tucked away at the end of a long tunnel leading to a car park and required a small entrance fee, so no one else was there. That gave me plenty of time to soak up the visuals and music.

One of the mannequins (detail view)
Installation art by Korakrit Arunanondchai
One of the mannequins (detail view)

The Video within the Intallation

The video part of the installation serves a dialogue between the artist and a spirit—called Chantri—which embodies the communication between artist and audience. Chantri is voiced in French by the artist’s mother, You can see excerpts of the video here:

Photo Galleries

You can view the entire collection of 51 photos:

Three Questions

  1. Why do you think the artist focused on denim as a material?
  2. What impression does the use of bright primary color give you?
  3. Do you think pop culture is taking over some aspects of religion? If so, in what ways?

Art Challenge

Find a Barbie, Ken, GI Joe or similar kind of doll (If you have a lot of resources, you can use a mannequin!). Paint it and dress is in a costume that expresses your some aspect of your culture and/or beliefs.


~text and photos by

artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists

New Artwork by Kohei Nawa

Japanese artist Kohei Nawa displayed several new works at Hong Kong’s Pace Gallery.

PixCell Fallow Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

The PixCell Series

The mixed-media sculptures in Kohei Nawa’s PixCell series explore one of the artists common themes—the relationship between nature and artificiality.

PixCell Fallow Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

This sculpture of a deer—PixCell Fallow Deer—was created by covering a real taxidermied deer with transparent glass spheres. Viewed from a distance and brightly lit, the spheres on the surface give off a bright, radiant glow, giving the deer the otherworldly feel of a sci-fi crystalline animal (think of the crystal foxes of the Star Wars universe or a hybrid creature from the movie Annihilation).

PixCell Fallow Deer (detail view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

If you get a little closer to the sculpture, the animal within starts to become visible, but its shape and colors are distorted by multiple spheres of varied sizes.

Up close, the spheres act like magnifying glasses, allowing you to see fine details such as individual strands of hair.

PixCell Fallow Deer (close-up view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

To create these sculptures, the artist searches online for taxidermied animals being sold or auctioned off.

PixCell Fallow Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

The word ‘PixCell’ is a portmanteau created by the artist from the words ‘pixel’ (the smallest unit of a digital image) and ‘cell’ (the smallest unit of a life-form).

The exhibition also included a double-headed deer (mounted on the wall like a bizarre hunting trophy) and a rabbit.

PixCell Rabbit: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
PixCell Rabbit: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
PixCell Double Deer: mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
PixCell Double Deer (detail view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

The Throne Series

Also included in the exhibition are three sculptures in the artist’s Throne series. These elaborate sculptures deal with the artist’s concerns about humanity blindly following advancements in computing, science and artificial intelligence. The thrones represent a power that entices us to claim it while at same time threatening to overwhelm us.

Three sculptures in Kohei Nawa’s Throne series

The golden sculpture in the middle is based on traditional designs found in portable shrines and festival parade floats. This throne is unoccupied

Throne (g/p_Pyramid): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

In the middle of the sculpture, there are two metallic spheres, one facing the front and one facing the back. These represent the eyes of the world, with one looking toward the future and the other looking back on the past.

This sculpture is a smaller version of one that was displayed in the glass pyramid at the Louvre. The color is partly inspired by the gold-leaf trim of the museum.

In each of the other two sculptures, the throne is occupied by a tiny childlike figure in what looks to be a spacesuit.

If advanced technology is a throne, does humanity sit on the throne or it subsumed within in? Will we control technology or will it control us?

Throne (p/g_boy): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Throne (p/g_boy) (detail view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Throne (p/g_boy) (view from the side): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Throne (SiCp_boy) (detail view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Throne (SiCp_boy) (detail view): mixed media sculpture by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

The Elements Series

The exhibition also featured nine paintings in Kohei Nawa’s Elements series. These are silkscreen and acrylic works that have dark patterns on even darker backgrounds. They give off a sense of mystery and the unknown as ambiguous, amorphous shapes emerge from and recede back into the darkness.

Element-Black#8: silkscreen on paper, acrylic, wooden panel,by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)
Element-Black#7: silkscreen on paper, acrylic, wooden panel,by Kohei Nawa, 2019 (Pace Gallery)

Photography Challenges

One thing about this artist is that his works are quite difficult to photograph! For example, the bright light reflecting off of the PixCell animals tended to blow out the highlights. Therefore, I reduced the exposure when shooting the images. When I was editing the photos, I left the tones a little darker and warmer in order to better bring out the shapes of the spheres.The actual sculptures, when lit up, are brighter.

Similarly, the photos of the dark paintings are not quite as dark as the paintings are in reality.

Go Further

Visit the artist’s website: kohei-nawa.net

Three Questions

  1. Which work do you like best? Why?
  2. What worries do you have about future technology?
  3. Can you think of a metaphor for one of your worries (e.g., an attractive throne)? How could you then represent this metaphor in art?

Art Challenge

Find something in naturea leaf, a branch, a rock, a flower. Transform it by covering it or merging it with something artificial (e.g., thread, cloth, plastic, glitter, etc.).


~text and photos by

artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists

Culture Saves Lives: Drum Circle & Art by Alexa Black

I shot this video while checking out a drop-in activity associated Culture Saves Lives, a non-profit group dedicated with trying to connect people, particularly marginalized indigenous people, with their culture. While walking past their building in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside neighborhood. I was attracted by the chanting and drumming coming from within. I asked the guy standing in the doorway (the guy on the far right of the picture below) what was going on and he replied that it was an informal jam, that people were just there to hang out and that most of the guys were his family members and that I was welcome to come in.

Drum Circle at the Culture Saves Lives community center in Vancouver

Inside the room, —which functioned as an art gallery (The Window Community Art Shop), a performance space and simply a safe place to hang out—the walls were covered with paintings for sale, mainly by a self-taught artist, Alexa Black.

Bone Weaver: Mixed media art by Alexa Black

Alexa Black, an artist of Métis and Mestizo ancestry, usually works with mixed-media, combining oil painting and photography with elements of the natural world: bones, leather, antlers, flowers and feathers. She uses such materials to honor the natural world and its cycles. In nature, many of these element – bones, animal hides, antlers and feathers – also serve as a kind of protection. They can represent the strength and resilience of nature. However, there is also an element of fragility and impermanence.

Mixed media art by Alexa Black

There was a nice positive vibe at the centre, but my daughter wanted to move on to see other things, so I just took a few minutes of video and a couple of snapshots.

Go Further

Three Questions

  1. How do you feel about the mixed media works on this page?
  2. How would you interpret the first work of art, Bone Weaver? What message do you think the work sends?
  3. How can contemporary art, which is often concerned with exploring new techniques and breaking boundaries, revitalize traditional cultures?

Art Challenge

Create a mixed media work using materials from the natural world.


~video, photos and text by

artjouer

Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists