Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook


Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

“Writing is much more exhausting than what I have done over the past 30 years” “I feel like I am becoming a stone” - Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

An Artist is Trying to Return to ‘Being a Writer’

One of the most prominent Thai artists working internationally, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s works discusses a wide range of subjects from death and lamentation to the impossibility of communication. Feeling unsettled and incomplete, presently Rasdjarmrearnsook wrestles with a betweenness as she considers the paradox of the overlapping role between artist and writer. Unlike her well-received career as an artist, her writings have rarely been translated into other languages and remain unobserved by the international art scene.

For this exhibition, Rasdjarmrearnsook presents new sculptures and videos including The Cruel (2017), a humorous reenactment of the artist’s habilitation meeting, in which other esteemed professors who are also important figures in Thai art world, critique the artist's controversial works that were never accepted in the domestic academic circle nor by the general public in Thailand. The critique indicates the tension of what constitutes permissible or moral within the national art scene.

Juxtaposed at the exhibition’s entry point, The Cruel is then echoed partly in another video work titled Betweenness in I was just told that my work is more or less too sad for Christmas (2017). A conversation between two women about death, sickness, the joys of youth and long-awaited desire, they discuss each issue more profoundly and philosophically than the academic realm presented in The Cruel.

Niranam Yummayooshi (2015) is a soundless video accompanied by two sleeping figures titled The Dead Ovary Lullaby (2016), in which a woman and a dog fall asleep under a glimmering light. They then travel to different dreamscapes, the ocean and the grasslands, or atop of injured skin. Meanwhile, an image of a body starts to form, layered and simultaneously dissolving in origin. Together, they are collaged with fragments of mundane experiences such as running and playing, to be wounded and covered.

A sculpture titled An Artist is Trying to Return to Being a Writer is displayed in two bodies, in two different states, presence and shadow, glorious and despair.

A fixation with imposing boundaries and restrictions on the national art stage, juxtaposing sculptures and fanciful projections, challenge like two sweet rivals—presence & shadow, representation & repetitiveness, tranquility & conclusion, birth & death. All of this meshes and intimately binds within An Artist is Trying to Return to Being a Writer. Perhaps visitors can trace and weave the faint sound of poetry that may impose itself within the exhibition.

About the artist

Rasdjarmrearnsook has featured in various high-profile art events, including DOCUMENTA (13) Kassel, Germany (2012); 51st Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2005); and her first retrospective in the United States at the Sculpture Center, New York (2015). Throughout her 30-year plus career, Rasdjarmrearnsook’s works have examined mourning and loss, feminism, spectatorship and animals. Unlike her well-received visual art practice, her writing has rarely been observed by the international art world, partly due to her highly specified use of Thai vocabularies. In this exhibition, Rasdjarmrearnsook presents her deep-rooted ‘unresolvedness’ between her two practices that has never reached equilibrium.

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