Artist explores human limits in new exhibition

A video of performance art by Kawita Vatanajyankur. (Photo courtesy of Jim Thompson House Museum)

Labour exploitation in the textile industry is the subject of "Spinning Wheels", which is running at Jim Thompson House Museum, until Feb 28.

Held in collaboration with Nova Contemporary, this is a solo exhibition by Kawita Vatanajyankur who touches on materialism, labour issues, feminism, humanity and machines.

She references the tasks undertaken by physical labourers in the textile industry through performance art which is meant to serve as a voice for the neglected and the marginalised.

Presented through videos, the show sees the artist transform herself into a hybrid of machine and organism, like a cyborg, and put her body into arduous positions with repetitive motions. These actions are performed in quasi-nude form and set against a hyper-coloured backdrop.

The constant motion signifies the territories of production and reproduction in a materialistic world while her body becomes a site of tension for the struggle of human existence against becoming a simple cog in a machine.

Her meditative approach shows a labourer's hardship and the endurance and unwavering resilience against it. It also indicates that dualistic relationships of public and private, pain and joy, mechanism and self-enlightenment, resistance and acceptance can be physically manifested.

Her performative oscillation between humans and machines is suggestive of the possibility of human transformation and evolution.

Jim Thompson House Museum is on Soi Kasem San 2, off Rama I Road and opens Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 6pm. The entry fee is 50 baht (free for members and students under 10 years).

Visit or call 02-216-7368.

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