Bangkok art: Facial metaphors and positive perspectives

Bangkok art: Facial metaphors and positive perspectives

Bangkok Art Map, the city's essential guide for art lovers, shares its top picks for the coming weeks

It's a big month for artist Navin Rawnachaikul, who represents Thailand this month at the 54th Venice Biennale. 

Bangkok Art Map (BAM), published free every month in Thai and English, says that with the Thai pavilion now open Navin’s multifaceted exhibition, "Paradiso di Navin," will be on view for six months until the biennale wraps on November 27. 

Meanwhile, this month's BAM spotlights the work of 32 year-old, Bangkok-based German-Thai photographer Benya Hegenbarth, who debuts his first solo exhibition at H Gallery this month.   

This and more as BAM shares its list of the city's top art shows in the weeks ahead.  

Disunion, until June 30  

Benya HegenbarthDisunion is the debut solo photographic exhibition by Benya Hegenbarth. Graduating with a BA in History from Connecticut College, the 32-year-old German-Thai photographer presents a series of dislocated architectural landscapes from northern Europe. 

Laden with disconcerting nostalgia, the browning seasonal foliage and impending grey skies of the shots on display in Disunion imply transience. Marking a passage of time, they indicate diminished historical relevance, an era surpassed, a testament to the decline of old world European empires. 

The washed-out edifices to legacy, are polemic to the confident ascendancy of new regional powerhouses, particularly that of Asia, where Hegenbarth migrated to establish a renewed sense of home. 

H Gallery, 201 Soi 12 Sathorn Rd. +66 (0)81 310 4428. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday by appointment. BTS: Surasak

How Far From Us, until June 29

Inspired by the traditional landscape painting of his homeland, Chinese artist Lu Jun brings contemporary countenance to the genre through digital photo-manipulations.

A recipient of the 2009 Florence Biennale’s Gold Prize in Photography, the 49-year-old carefully observes and photographs ink washes, which are then woven into poetic abstractions that evoke hazy bucolic scenes of mountains and lakes. 

La Lanta, 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31. +66 (0)2 260 5381. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday by appointment. BTS: Phrom Phong

Façade, until June 18

Silom GalleriaJirasak Plaboothong, Chalermpon Ratanakomonwat, and Karuna Panumas are brought together for the shared capability of their portraiture.

Each artist utilizes their own idiosyncratic facial representations as metaphors for personal psychologies, with implications to broader societal referencing and the consequences of man’s self-serving actions. The three artists ponder the complexities facing Thai society. 

Number 1, Silom Galleria B1, 919/1 Silom Road Soi 19. +66 (0)2 630 2523. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. BTS: Surasak

Bitter Sweet, until July 10  

Lampu KansanohYoung female artist Lampu Kansanoh’s paintings brim with theatrical narratives and an endearing, largely innocent, sense of humour.

Centered upon intimate scenes that focus on a specific incident or gathering, the interplay of her subjects manifests through her acute ability to caricature, delivering deliberately exaggerated dramas with the hammed-up intensity of a Thai television soap opera. 

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art, 99/45 Belle Ville, Boromratchonnanee Rd (Km 10.5). +66 (0)2 422 2092. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.- 7 p.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

Melon Collie , until July 3

Narissara PianwimungsaPainter Narissara Pianwimungsa’s previous 2008 exhibition, Perfect Skin, examined how external indicators of "self," such as clothing and accessories, are hollow and shroud our true personas.

In Melon Collie, she maintains her interest in human behaviour by exploring how we resort to defence mechanisms to escape from the world around us. 

Galerie N, 139/5 Wireless Road. +66 (0)2 654 0522. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. MRT: Lumphini 

Village in Memory, until Jun 30 

Bi ChengThe current focus on Chinese art leans toward contemporary practitioners, yet there is also a strong tradition of more conventional techniques and styles, as evident in Bi Cheng’s ambient impressionist scenes of village life.

Having previously lived in Europe and the U.S., Bi Cheng has returned to his native land, where he prefers the peace of small town existence to the brash urban experiences of modern China. 

Gossip Gallery, Silom Galleria 3F, 919/1 Silom Road Soi 19. +66 (0)2 637 7878. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. BTS: Surasak 

The Beautiful Colours of Happiness, until June 30 

KoiDespite artists often choosing to focus on the darker aspects of society, the three painters on view at Koi prefer a more optimistic approach to their creativity.

Delivered through an exuberant use of colour, artists Thongmai Thepram, Sarawut Yasamoot and Chainarong Kongklin convey their positive perspectives to subjects such as globalisation and urban living. 

Koi Art Gallery, 43/12 Sukhumvit Soi 31. +66 (0)2 662 3218. Open daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. BTS: Phrom Phong 

Hidden Treasures, until July 9

H.H LimFor his first exhibition in Thailand, Malaysian artist H.H Lim presents a caged installation that links to a childhood fable pertaining to suggestion and curiosity.

Supported by selfportrait paintings, the central cage is a self-contained environment that holds a chained up suitcase and a seat for visitors to enter into and ponder the unseen contents. 

Tang Contemporary Art, Unit B-28 (Basement), Silom Galleria 919/1 Soi 19. +66 (0)2 630 1114. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. BTS: Surasak 

Legendary Birds: Oil Paintings by Li Rui, until July 17

Li RuiFollowing on from their last show of Himalayan botanicals, Serindia continues its natural history theme with a series of ornithological studies by Chinese artist Li Rui.

A student of painter Liu Xiaodong, Li Rui studies birds in museum displays, as well as out in their natural habitat, recording them photographically. The delicate realist paintings capture the spirit and majesty of the winged creatures. 

Serindia Gallery, OP Garden, Unit 3101, 3201, 4-6 Soi Charoen Krung 36. +66 (0)2 238 6410. Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Email:

Published monthly, the Bangkok Art Map (BAM) is a free monthly guide to Bangkok’s growing art arena. Now featuring both English and Thai, it’s put together by Steven Petifor, one of Thailand’s leading art writers, and is available all over the city.