• News
  • Feb 05, 2024

Private Art Space Takes Over Factory in Bangkok’s Chinatown

A talk with MICHEL AUDER at Bangkok Kunsthalle in January. Via Facebook.

Thailand welcomes a new addition to the art scene with the opening of Bangkok Kunsthalle in several derelict factories in the gentrifying Soi Nana area near Chinatown. The initiative is spearheaded by art philanthropist Marisa Chearavanont, spouse to chairman Soopakij Chearavanont of the Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand’s largest private company. Director and curator Stefano Rabolli Pansera, the former director of Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz and a video art enthusiast, will oversee approximately four shows annually that will feature newly commissioned artworks from both international and Thai artists, accompanied by public programs such as artist talks, lectures, workshops, screenings, and readings.

Three abandoned, interconnected buildings in the former headquarters of printing house Thai Watana Panich on Maitrichit have been renovated to house the massive multidisciplinary art space. Its multifloor gallery includes several thousand square-meters of show space. The oldest part of the complex is more than seven decades old and was abandoned after a fire damaged the upper floors nearly 20 years ago. Now, Chearavanont seeks to build Bangkok Kunsthalle into “a dynamic, rigorous and accessible cultural institution devoted to art, cinema, music, science, dance, literature, architecture, and other creative languages.”

The inaugural exhibition, “Nine Plus Five,” opened on January 12 and runs through February 11, showcasing the selected works of French-American filmmaker Michel Auder. The show is split into two sections, with film works on nature that include Voyage to the Centre of the Phone Lines (1993), I am So Jealous of Birds II (2011), Domaine de la Nature (2023), and the dual-screen video installation Flowers of Thailand (2023). A second section features nine works on the evolution of Auder’s oeuvre through different genres, including his filmic portraits: Florence (1975), Alice Neel Painting Margaret (1978 ed.2009), Cindy Sherman (1988), Heads of Town (2009), Gemälde (2011, ed. 2019), Van Gogh (2023), Bangkok City (2023), Bangkok Yaowarat (2023), and DAUGHTERS (2023).

Camilla Alvarez-Chow is an editorial assistant at ArtAsiaPacifc. 

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