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Peaceful Chaos - Thai Contemporary art through the lens of Fukuoka
■Period:11 May, 2017 - 01 November, 2017
■Venue:Asia Gallery
Approximately 600 years ago, in the Ayutthaya era, the Kingdom of Thailand today was called Siam. Trading ships traveled frequently between Siam and the Kingdom of Ryukyu, which was then an independent state. Japan continued a trading relationship with Thailand through Ryukyu until Sakoku (isolation) policy of Tokugawa feudal government was implemented. In the late 19th century (Meiji era), two countries both experienced modernization and launched a formal diplomatic relationship through the Declaration of Amity and Commerce between Japan and Siam in 1887. This is considered as the first diplomatic relationship that the Japanese government signed with the Southeast Asian country. Since then, two countries have developed a close friendship in various fields. The year 2017 marks the 130 years anniversary since the 1887 declaration.

In the field of art, Fukuoka Art Museum is a leading institution that introduced Thai contemporary art in Japan. Contemporary Asian Art Show 1980, the first international art exhibition in Japan that specialized in Asian countries, exhibited the works of five Thai contemporary artists. This marked the first time that the Thai contemporary art was publicly introduced. This exhibition continued until 1994 under the title, Asian Art Show, and was carried on into Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale by Fukuoka Asian Art Museum after its inauguration in 1999. This exhibition introduces Thai contemporary art that Fukuoka has encountered through the works exhibited in these exhibitions.

Rise of New Traditionalism
Theravada is a school of Buddhism that literally means “school of the elder monks” and places emphasis on ordination and its doctrines. As a major religion in Thai, Buddhism plays a central role in people’s life and culture since the ancient time. Thai art has also been influenced by Buddhism and the “new traditionalism” in the 1980s produced the works based on Buddhist stories. This section introduces the work of Panya Vijinthanasarn, a leading figure of this movement, and others as well as the sculpture of Khien Yimsiri who brought the expression of Buddha statues of the Sukhothai dynasty (13th-15th centuries) into his art.

Accelerating Industrialization
While agriculture has formed Thai’s economic basis, the accelerating industrialization penetrated from the capital Bangkok to the vast agricultural area. This section introduces the works of Supachai Satsara and Vichoke Mukdamanee who depicted the distortions caused by rapid economic growth using industrial products and wastes as their medium.

Humanity in the Age of Mass Consumption
In the 1990s, Thai experienced economic crisis due to the expansion of the free market and capitalistic system. People’s suffering in the military coup also accelerated the instability and chaos of the country. In response to such social conditions, the Thai artists sought to draw out the people at the center of the crisis. Among them, Manit Sriwanichpoom critically depicted the Thai’s consumerism culture and capitalistic society using various methods.

Panya Vijinthanasarn "The Journey of Soul" (2001)
Supachai Satsara "On the Road Again" (1992)
Manit Sriwanichpoom "This Bloodless War" (1997)
PeriodThursday 11 May - Monday 25 December 2017
VenueAsia Gallery
AdmissionAdult \200 /College & High School \ 150
*Free for Secondary school and under
OrganiserFukuoka Asian Art Museum
InquiryFukuoka Asian Art Museum / 092-263-1100
RemarksClose: Wednesdays
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