A Tale of Two Homes Tales of Navin
Commemorative Exhibitions to mark the 20th anniversary of Navin Production
Varorot Market, 5 Kruang-mae Rd., Chiang Mai
On view until July 30, 2015, 10:00 - 16:00 (closed Sundays)
studiOK (Navin Production)
87/109 Sammakorn House, Moo 7, Fah-ham, Chiang Mai
On view until July 30, 2015 (by appointment only)
104 Maneenopparat Rd., Chiang Mai
On view by appointment only until October 31, 2015 (by appointment only)
Launch: May 1-2, 2015
To commemorate 20-years since the founding of Navin Production, artist Navin Rawanchaikul together with collector Dr. Disaphol Chansiri have organised a special collaborative art event at three-venues around the artist’s hometown of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
Titled A Tale of Two Homes, the exhibition will be held concurrently at the Rawanchaikul family fabric shop - the O.K. Store - where the artist celebrates his father’s 80th Birthday, and at Navin Production’s recently built studio on the bank of Ping River. In conjunction, key selected pieces from Dr. Chansiri’s private art collection will be on view in the Tales of Navin exhibition at his garden residence in the heart of city. The project includes a number of collaborative works with family members and artist friends. A series of community-based workshops and an educational programme will also be developed throughout the exhibition period with the support of Jim Thompson Art Center, who have also collaborated on specially created merchandise for the event.
Only in his mid-40s, Rawanchaikul has exhibited at many of the world’s most important art stages with his work housed in key international collections. Ambitiously forming the art studio Navin Production in Chiang Mai while in his early 20s, the artist’s creative stable has been industrious for two decades. In recognition, Rawanchaikul comes full circle by returning to his childhood home to dust off and reinvigorate identity formative memories, combining them with present and future musings from within the new Navin Production home of studiOK.
Featuring an impressive range of media, including grand portrait painting, sculpture, comic books, found objects, sound and video installation, interactive elements and even art created from household dust, Rawanchaikul propels us on an intimate autobiographical odyssey from boyhood innocence through to recent uncertainties of middle age.
Known for creating elaborate egocentric narratives that blur fact and fantasy, here Rawanchaikul sifts through the once familiar rooms of his youth to rediscover genuine relics of personal history. He site-specifically reinterprets his father’s fabric shop and the former home above, which the family vacated in 1983. Located within the city centre’s Varorot market, as a backdrop the revealing archival habitat conveys the transformative face of a modernising mercantile community.
The exhibition also presents the new four-part series depicting the artist’s funeral. Born out of a crisis that led to entering the clergy, and subsequent personal and artistic reevaluation, the epic polyptych is ultimately optimistic in its projection. Letter writing has also consistently featured as intimate stand-alone works, with this exhibition highlighting a series of letters written by Rawanchaikul since the early-nineties, plus selected writings penned to the artist.
At the DC Collection key works from Rawanchaikul’s oeuvre are displayed with particular focus on the bonds of community. A central theme to Navin’s art, be it preservation, regeneration, or societal building, it dates from the early bottle photograph assemblages, through to the reflective community engaged project Fly with Me to Another World, and the Mahakad market series that looked at mercantile community history. Also included is the stretching almost eight-metre Paradiso di Navin painting and Chairman Navin sculpture that were centre-pieces of the Navinland Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Curated by the Jim Thompson Art Center Director, Gridthiya Gaweewong, the exhibition spotlights a new twist on his signature taxicab art projects with a video series that captures memories of Chiang Mai through the eyes of the shrinking community of samlor rickshaw riders, who pedal commuters around the city streets.
A continuing influence and venerable mentor, Rawanchaikul was a former assistant to the late Montien Boonma in the early 1990s, during the establishment of the Chiang Mai Social Installation - a decisive springboard for Rawanchaikul to produce radical art interventions. Rawanchaikul has paid homage to Boonma on several occasions, including dedicating his 2010 Silpathorn Award to his former teacher. This exhibition is no exception, with a significant Boonma work on view at the DC Collection, along with a tributary House of Hope (2013) video installation and sculptural assemblage constructed from recycled material to be ceremonially torched during the opening event.
A Tale of Two Homes / Tales of Navin is a cross-generational exhibition loaded with biographic references that convey memories to personal history, educational grounding and mentorship, friendship and legacy. Aside from a capsule to the sustentation of memories, it is about excavating and processing thoughts to make sense of who we are, where we are from, and what we value as sanctuary. It is readying for the future by learning from the past.
This project would not have been possible without the continuing support and dedicated professionalism of the Navin production team. There is special recognition for the expertise of Navin Production’s guest contributors, Steven Pettifor, Worathep Akkabootara, and Somsuda Piamsumrit. Tales of Navin at the DC Collection is curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong. A number of art works and workshops have been made possible through collaborative projects with local artists and designers, as well as neighbourhood communities.
Friday, May 1, 2015 at O.K. Store & DC Collection
14:00-16:30 A Tale of Two Homes exhibition launch at O.K. Store
16:30-17:30 Varorot market walking tour with the artist
17:30-18:00 Samlor rickshaws from Varorot market to DC Collection
18:00 onwards Tales of Navin exhibition launch and reception at DC Collection
Saturday, May 2, 2015 at studiOK (Navin Production)
15:00-16:00 Studio visit and reception
15:30-17:00 A Tale of Two Homes exhibition walkthrough with the artist and collaborators
17:00-18:00 House of Hope blessing and performance
18:00 onwards OK Party hosted by Jim Thompson Art Center
For appointment or further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel +66 (0)8-1111-9621 Please check www.navinproduction.com and www.facebook.com/NavinProduction for updates.
Born in 1971 in Chiang Mai, Navin Rawanchaikul is a Thai artist whose ancestral roots are from the Hindu-Punjabi communities of present day Pakistan. Questioning modern systems of artistic creation and presentation, Rawanchaikul has developed a unique and vast body of work that relies heavily on team spirit and collaboration. His socially-engaged multiples are often presented under the banner of Navin Production Co., Ltd., and were first introduced in 1994 when the artist released undrinkable bottles of water from a polluted canal in his hometown. Seeking better and more visible ways to introduce art into the lives of everyday people, in 1995 he initiated his landmark project Navin Gallery Bangkok, in which an ordinary Bangkok taxicab was transformed into a mobile art gallery. Its great success prompted several versions of the Taxi Gallery to be created around the world.
With his international profile substantially raised, Rawanchaikul began to engage in a process of exploring the ongoing negotiation between local circumstances and unavoidable globalisation. The artist is best known for dynamic art practices that involve direct public interventions, social commentary, and an innovative style of integrating community or individual experiences into eccentric fictional tales featuring recurring characters. Over the years, his oeuvre has grown to encompass a broad array of media, including performances, billboards, films, comics, games, merchandise and cocktails.
In addition to a series of community-based projects that he has continually presented in public spheres, Rawanchaikul has held solo shows at prestigious museums and galleries including New York’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre (2001), Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2002), Jim Thompson Art Centre in Bangkok (2006), Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2009), Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai (2009, 2011) among being included in several international art exhibitions and festivals. His works are housed in the collection of international art institutions including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, Pinchuk Art Centre in Ukraine, Moderna Museet in Sweden, Inhotim in Brazil, Fukuoka Asia Art Museum in Japan and Singapore Art Museum.
In 2010, Rawanchaikul was awarded the national Silapathorn citation from the Thai Ministry of Culture in the field of Visual Arts. He also represented Thailand at the 54th International Art Exhibition at Venice Biennale in 2011. The artist divides his time between his family in Fukuoka, Japan, and his hometown of Chiang Mai where the Navin Production team and studiOK are based.
A trained lawyer and lifetime art aficionado, Dr. Disaphol Chansiri has initiated the DC Collection. He started collecting after graduating from Chulalongkorn University Law School, gradually building up his collection of both local and international modern and contemporary art while furthering his studies in London and Boston. Establishing his collection for limited viewing in Bangkok, it has become a vital resource for art lovers, schools and the public.
The aim of extending the DC collection to Chiang Mai has been to provide public access to one of the most unique contemporary art collections in Southeast Asia. Located within a historic residence that once belonged to a former prince of the city, the collection houses a wealth of remarkable work created by leading Thai and international artists, providing students and the community at large first-hand access and an important educational tool. The DC Collection is one of the country’s rare repositories to catalogue key pieces in the development of contemporary Thai art.