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Art enthusiasts are invited to immerse in artistic pleasures with a lineup of globally curated artworks

The curtain has finally been raised on the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 (BAB 2020), the Thai capital’s beloved and long-awaited contemporary art festival. This time around, the mixed-use real estate projects in the heart of the city One Bangkok and The PARQ will join in hosting the event by providing venues on their premises, including The Prelude, BAB Box, and BAB Café at The PARQ, for the exhibitions of artworks by several acclaimed international artists.

The festival will help cement Bangkok’s reputation as world-class contemporary art and cultural destination while locals are encouraged to embark on a fun-filled journey of discovery and art appreciation.

Following on the success of the first Bangkok Art Biennale in 2018, the second Bangkok Art Biennale this year is held under the theme of “Escape Routes.” Bringing together a lineup of more than 200 contemporary pieces of art from 82 Thai and international artists, Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 will invite visitors to experience, discover and interpret highly emotive and meaningful pieces of art, which can open our eyes to solutions to global issues that affect societies, economies, politics, and the environment. The forms of art displayed at Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 encompass a wide variety of mediums including paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, installation artworks, videos, mixed media projects, and blueprints.

One aim of the international contemporary art festival is to generate a dynamic atmosphere of appreciation of Thailand’s unique art scene while at the same time inspiring art-conscious visitors and leaving long-lasting impressions on them through various artistic perspectives from across the globe.

At the same time, the art festival is expected to stimulate economic growth as it will be the first international-scale event held in Thailand in this era of New Normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 will help send the message to the art world at large that Bangkok is an emerging global destination for art and culture because the city has been successfully capitalizing on its strengths to keep the pandemic in check.

One Bangkok and The PARQ have agreed to sponsor the Bangkok Art Biennale Festival 2020 in a significant way. The event is part of an ongoing mission that both projects have been pursuing after the establishment of BAB Box in 2018 as exhibition spaces for the Bangkok Art Biennale within the One Bangkok project and the recent launch of a permanent contemporary public art collection called “The PARQ Collection.” Both moves have underscored One Bangkok’s and The PARQ’s commitment as private sector players to incorporating art as a key element of wellbeing into urban life.

One Bangkok and The PARQ both see Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 as an important event for bringing art closer to people’s lives. Their aim is to help do away with an old perception that art is somehow separate from people’s daily experiences as it belongs in galleries, museums, historical sites, or cultural landmarks. As a result, this pioneering initiative has led to the idea of installing fine pieces of art on public display in mixed-use projects located in the central business district of Bangkok with easy access via public transportation for the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020.

To ensure a memorable experience filled with joyful inspiration for all visitors and art enthusiasts, the curators have carefully selected an array of contemporary artworks by acclaimed and emerging artists from all over the world to be exhibited at the festival. Despite a number of challenges, particularly in terms of the shipping and installation of the works, the artists, curators, and local volunteers have been coordinating closely in order to help make this much-anticipated event happen.

The Prelude, BAB Box in One Bangkok, and The PARQ are three of the venues for the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 out of a total of 10 landmarks in the city. Some of the highlights on display in The Prelude, BAB Box, and The PARQ that no art lover should miss are:

The Prelude

Dusit Thani Province 1 by Prateep Suthatongthai: This artwork investigates the history of Dusit Thani, a utopian city founded on the vision of King Rama VI. The artist explores the structural plan and meaning of the city, reconstructs its blueprints, and recreates old photographs of the city through realistic painting techniques. Prateep also traces the connection of this visionary city of the Thai king to the realities of the village of Nom Klao in Loeng

Nok Tha district in Yasothon province. The village was created by the government, which allocated land for the people belonging to the Communist Party of Thailand to end their armed conflict against the state.

BAB Box

DO A TO MII Doll 1939, Doll 2020 by Lolay: This installation includes paintings and sculptures that embody the physical conditions of society, the community, the city, the country, and the world. The cyborg characters incarnate symptoms that people worldwide endure from the effects of catastrophes like epidemics, political strife, and social conflicts.

Martyrs: Earth, Wind, Fire, Air by Bill Viola: The video installation depicts four Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) and their capacity to endure pain and hardships in order to remain faithful to their values, beliefs, and principles. The four scenes shown are not passive expressions of victimhood but exertions of the active characteristics of fortitude, perseverance, endurance, and sacrifice as the body, tested to the limit, transcends the veil of darkness and death.

Devi/The River (After Aristide Maillol) by Thanet Awsinsiri: The artwork explores various contexts of the female body as the artist borrows ideas from a world-famous painting Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters and Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona, reinterpreting them in a way to offer viewers new sensations and perspectives.

The PARQ

A Child’s World in the Days of Adults by Narongyot Thongyu: Narongyot Thongyu is invested in “the truth to materials” and revealing their essence. The installation encourages viewers to compare reality with imagination. The artist uses the process of inventing toys as a way to return to his childhood memories. Several blinded dolls represent the need to escape the feeling of isolation that emerges from everyday conditions and dislocation.

Tooth Clinic by Note Kritsada: Note Kritsada expands on his childhood visits to the dental clinic and takes viewers into a mutually shared experience to open up new perspectives. The artist relies on his ironic sense of humor and the mundane experiences of others to create a fantasy world of dental care through various forms of art, including drawings, sculptures, and 3D animation.

Rising by Marina Abramović: A VR artwork by Marina Abramović, Rising is designed to reflect the tragedy of climate change and is to be shown for the first time in Southeast Asia. The VR player places the viewer in the middle of the Arctic Ocean stranded alone on a wooden dock while ice caps are melting into a turbulent sea. In the glass tank, Abramović is trapped inside and drowning as the water rises.

Bleu Blanc Rouge by Yuree Kensaku: Yuree reimagines Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix, which depicts the fight and dedication of the people of France, in her recognizable style. The iconic woman raising the flag and embodying the power of the mass is now turned into a loveable and cute character in electrifying colors, a rich sense of humor, and candy-coated cartoon characters.

Sphere with Rectangle Hole, Sphere with Triangle Hole, Sphere with Square Hole, and Sphere with Oval Hole by Anish Kapoor: This series of polished metal objects created by one of the world’s most prominent sculptors who specializes in conceptual art creates illusions that will take us on an escape route and allow us to enter into new dimensions of truth through rectangular, triangular, square and oval shapes.

Beyond these, dozens of more celebrated artworks for the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 are waiting for visitors to explore at The Prelude, BAB Box and The PARQ, among other venues. The festival is open without admission fees from today until January 31, 2021.