A Bangkok gallery with international contemporary art is a rare thing. But the capital's latest art space, Nova Contemporary, has an ambitious goal -- to put the City of Angels on the international art map.
'Today Is the Day: The Proposition of Our Future' at Nova Contemporary.
In its inaugural exhibition featuring the works of Yoshitoma Nara, Lawrence Weiner, Jean-Juc Vilmouth and other prominent names, Nova Contemporary has already shone a light on the local contemporary art landscape.
Run by Sutima Sucharitakul, who has two years of experience at The Met in New York and an abiding passion for contemporary art, Nova Contemporary is determined to connect the knowledge of contemporary art to the youth and general public, as well as support the Thai contemporary art scene to become the next world-class art destination.
"A lot of international artists want to come to exhibit in Thailand because it is a culturally rich country," said the founder and director of Nova Contemporary. "People come to Wat Phra Kaew, but they don't know where to go for contemporary Thai art. Thailand and its artists have the potential to reach an international audience. I see that as a mission."
The new art gallery opened at the end of last month with "Today Is the Day: The Proposition of Our Future", a travelling exhibition from Miyauchi Art Foundation Hiroshima, curated by David A. Ross, former director of Whitney Museum in New York, and Noritoshi Hirakawa, founder of Today is the Day Foundation.
The exhibition features oeuvres in diverse media by 10 prominent figures in the world of contemporary art. The powerful group show alludes to how the bitter Fukushima Daichii nuclear disaster left marks.
A strong draw to the show, Yoshitoma Nara lends his work to the exhibition. "Strong Power", "Not Being Surrender" and "Recovery In One Day Earlier" comprise a heartbreaking photo series as Nara visited the abandoned Ukedo elementary school in Namie, inside the Fukushima nuclear disaster exclusion zone, after the 2011 tsunami.
Jean-Juc Vilmouth travelled to Yamamoto town, 60km away from the Fukushima Daiichi site, right after the disaster in March 2011. Taking three whole years to capture in a five-minute video, the late filmmaker artistically unearthed how the radioactive rampage has lingering effects on the local fishermen and their way of life. It is plain visual storytelling -- both painful and profound.
With the embracing conceptual artworks, the exhibition resonates with the power of nature -- and is, at once, contemporary and political. As Sutima realised how art can be life-changing, she aims for Nova Contemporary to be an open space to exchange artistic dialogue and an inspirational site for art students and art aficionados to gain an understanding of contemporary art.
After the gallery debut, light installation by renowned UK artist Chris Levine is in line to excite Bangkok's art scene. The gallery also serves as a platform for creative collaboration, art consultancy and art education.
"Today Is The Day: The Proposition Of Our Future" is on display until June 30 at the new Nova Contemporary gallery, located at Baan Somthavil, Soi Mahatlek Luang 3, Ratchadamri Road. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 11am-7pm, or by appointment.