An imitation of the royal crown replica that was stolen from a Paris museum in a high-profile art heist earlier this month will be exhibited in Paris tomorrow.
Mongkut (or crown), which will open at the Maison d'Art Bernard Anthonioz in Paris tomorrow, is a new project by Thai artist Arin Rungjang and curated by the Museum Jeu de Paume.
The installation comprises an imitation of the crown replica that King Rama IV gave to Emperor Napoleon III in 1861, and two television screens showing an interview with the artist and a French curator who talks about Southeast Asian history and culture. The piece was among 15 others stolen from the Chateau de Fontainebleau.
Last December, Arin and his team were allowed into the Fontainebleau palace to photograph, film and infrared-scan the crown replica to document its features. They were said to be the last group of visitors who could inspect the 154-year-old object up close.
"I had the idea of Mongkut for many years but only recently had a chance to realise it," said Arin. He was interested in the relationships between Siam and foreign nations during the modern period and the forces that shaped culture, history and people.
The artist who worked with Arin to create the replica for the exhibition is Woralak Sooksawasdi Na Ayutthaya, a great granddaughter of King Rama IV and whose family is famed for making khon masks. Ms Woralak said the replica was completed one day before they heard of the theft.