From Venice in the West to Venice in the East
Bangkok's first art biennale to be held next year
On May 13, the Adriatic breeze and Venetian sunshine reflected on the Grand Canal. It was the busy week of the vernissage and opening of the 57th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale. Art enthusiasts and aficionados flocked to the grandiose art event regarded as the world's oldest and most extravagant biennale.
This is the backdrop of the announcement of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 (BAB2018), a contemporary art event that will take place late next year under the theme "Beyond Bliss".
The announcement took place at The Westin Europa & Regina Hotel by the Grand Canal, which faces the iconic Santa Maria della Salute that houses paintings by the great Venetian artist Titian. The Westin Europa & Regina is renowned for its history, as famous painters Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Claude Monet frequently stayed in rooms that overlooked the Grand Canal.
Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
For BAB2018, artists will gather to experience the heritage and dynamism of Bangkok. "Beyond Bliss" will deal with the interpretation of joy, happiness and enrichment as artists capture variant intensities, while sharing points of view on serenity and refuge.
The event will take place at various venues, chiefly the world-famous temples along the Chao Phraya River: Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Prayoon. Together with historic East Asiatic Company building, Bangkok Art and Cultural Center and Lumphini Park.
At the launch in Venice last month, distinguished guests from 17 nations arrived at the reception. Speakers included Thai Ambassador to Italy Tana Weskosith, Simone Venturini, deputy mayor, city of Venice, Andrea Marcon, consul-general, Royal Thai Consulate of Venice, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, president and CEO, Thai Beverage, and co-founder, Bangkok Art Biennale, and Prof Dr Apinan Poshyananda, chief executive and artistic director, Bangkok Art Biennale. The ambassador and deputy mayor of Venice both welcomed the upcoming event in Bangkok as the continuation of a strong relationship through art and culture that goes back to the time of King Chulalongkorn, who visited the Venice Biennale in 1897 and 1907, respectively. The year 2018 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and Thailand.
Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, president and CEO of Thai Beverage and a member of the Foundation of Bangkok Art Biennale, said: "Bangkok, also known as Venice of the East, will be the venue for the first-ever Bangkok Art Biennale. Artists from various parts of the world will create a new chapter in contemporary art."
As co-founder and patron, Mr Sirivadhanabhakdi's support and commitment add a new dimension to cultural diplomacy, as well as cultural tourism and a creative economy, through this international art festival.
Sandro Botticelli, marketing manager, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Rome, was enthusiastic that the Bangkok Art Biennale will attract new sectors of tourism and promote Bangkok as centre of international art.
Far right Prof Dr Apinan Poshyananda, chief executive and artistic director, Bangkok Art Biennale. photo:
Apinan, chief executive and artistic director of BAB2018, explained that "Beyond Bliss" is about a search for transcendence in the age of schism, chaos and disruption. Contemplation, refuge, intuition and delight can be reached through art and artistic practice. Bangkok Art Biennale's venues at temples, historical buildings, public sites and art spaces will offer artists and viewers challenges and delights. Here, heritage and contemporaneity will converge.
Apinan will announce his curatorial team for research and selection at a press conference at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in July. The BAB2018 board of international advisers consists of Fumio Nanjo, director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Alexandra Munroe, senior curator, Solomom Guggenheim Museum, New York; Nigel Hurst, chief executive, Saatchi Gallery, London; David Stuart Elliott, former director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Dr Eugene Tan, director, National Gallery, Singapore; Sungjun Kim, Sonje Art Center, Rikrit Tiravanija, Silapathorn Artist, New York, Berlin.
BAB2018 will take place from November 2018 to February 2019, with co-operation and support from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Beverage.
Visit www.bkkartbiennale.com or the Facebook page bangkokbiennale.
Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, president and CEO of Thai Beverage, and co-founder, Bangkok Art Biennale. photo: