– Words by Vincent Sung –
Bangkok’s thriving art scene shows no signs of slowing down. One after another, new galleries opening in town keep adding a fresh artistic vibe to the already saturated plethora of the city’s department stores. And with artistic initiatives, such as the upcoming Gallery’s Night scheduled November 25-26 2016, we can hope that the city will be back into the spotlight, for reasons better than political turmoil or economic instability.
Here are some noteworthy gallery openings showing how Bangkok is trying to rebrand itself as a worldwide destination for art and culture.
Adler Subhashok Gallery
Tucked away in a small alley off Sukhumvit soi 33 and difficult to find upon the first visit, Adler Subhashok Gallery will impress visitors with its modern design, spread across four floors with over 1,000 square meters of space dedicated to Art.
With an international and highly professional team, including collector Subhashok Angkasuwansiri (owner of Subhashok Art Center), French couple Armelle and Joel Cohen of Adler gallery Paris, and Subhashok’s French art dealer, Laurent de Pass, the gallery aims to market Thai contemporary art around the world as well as introduce more Western art to Thai collectors.
Expect artworks and installations by upcoming young Thai and international artists, whose works has never or rarely been exhibited in Bangkok.
Adler Subhashok Gallery – Bangkok
160/3 Soi Sukhumvit 33, Sukhumvit Rd., Klongton Nue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: (+66) 2-662-0299 http://www.sacbangkok.com/
Further down and hidden deep inside Sukhumvit soi 31 (BTS Phrom Phong), another privately owned gallery, 56th Studio was created by a Thai creative director/designer Napawan and art director/bartender Saran. This quirky space is dedicated to Visual Designs, with a blend of graphic design, illustration, product design, furniture and ‘everything sitting in between’.
Combining a pop-up speakeasy with drinks tailored to the theme of each exhibition, the 45sqm attic functions not only as an office to a multi-disciplinary design studio, but also as a bar, a concept store and a meeting point where established designers, upcoming artists and all design-lovers collide.
Their monthly-curated events showcase young and upcoming designers and creators, with selected graphic prints, illustrations, furniture and fine art. Make sure to have a chat with them on their secret outdoor covered terrace and try their excellent concoctions.
56th Studio Private Gallery
(opens on Fri, Sat, Sun from 12.00 – 24.00)
235/10, unit 9-11 Green Connect, Sukhumvit soi 31, Klongtun-nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
H Gallery Bangkok
H Gallery Bangkok was established in 2002 and deserves a special mention in this article as one of Thailand’s pioneering venues for current art in the region.
With an exclusive focus on Thai artists, the gallery has evolved as critical shifts in Asia’s art scenes and continues to ensure the transnational importance for the very notion of Contemporary Art ‘made in Thailand’.
2011 saw the birth of H Project Space (on the second floor of H gallery) as a continuation of Bangkok’s longstanding history of alternative venues. It’s directed by Dr. Brian Curtin, an art critic and curator. In 2012, H Gallery Chiang Mai opened with an installation by the celebrated Thai artist Mit Jai-Inn. H Gallery also manages two exhibition spaces at Gaysorn department store in Bangkok.
The gallery roster includes Sopheap Pich, Somboon Hormtientong and Jakkai Siributr. H galleries has also collaborated with Shen Wei, Sakarin Krue-On, Michael Lee, Jedsada Tangtrakulwong, Olivier Pin-Fat, Viet Le, Simon Larbalestier and a provocative variety of emerging and established talents. H Gallery keeps an extensive inventory of works, which can be viewed by appointment only.
H GALLERY BANGKOK / H PROJECT SPACE – 201 Sathorn Soi 12 Bangkok
H GALLERY CHIANG MAI . Mae Rim Province . Chiang Mai – Near The Four Seasons Resort
G1 CONTEMPORARY & THE SPACE . Gaysorn Shopping Center . Bangkok
H GALLERY at EAT ME RESTAURANT Convent Road Bangkok
Tel: +66(0)85 021 5508
Speedy Grandma & Speedy Grandchild
Speedy Grandma* was founded in August 2012 by Lee Anantawat and Thomas Menard, both big supporters and art enthusiasts of the dynamic Thai contemporary art scene. Entering 2015, Pisitakun Kuntalang and Judha Su united the team, and started to position themselves as an “alternative space”.
In addition to monthly exhibitions held at Speedy Grandma, they recently launched a new project, Speedy Grandchild, which is exclusively dedicated for art students or young (inexperienced) artists to occupy their second floor studio each month.
Opened for any kind of experimental ideas, they are also running artist-in-residency programs for international artists, who would like to work and share their experiences with local artists and audiences. Lee Anantawat ‘Granny’ truly believes in the transformative power of art, youthful spirit, and non-hierarchical relationships. She declares: “Art should not be condemned to an isolated or exclusive universe, so our main mission is to advocate for the dynamic and critical role of art in the society. We see the experimentation as a mode of inquiry which is necessary if we are to insist on a constant, probing and generous interaction with reality. If you are having any daring and risk-taking idea, and think we can be helpful, just contact us; as ‘Granny’ with a restless soul I am always available for you”.
*The name “Speedy Grandma” comes from an urban ghost legend. A Grandma riding a motorbike in Bangkok was cut in two pieces by a string stretched across a small street. The legend says that if anyone rides too fast in that small street, he will see in his wing mirror the upper half Grandma’s body crawling after his vehicle. Just like any urban legend can be spread out quickly, the “Speedy Grandma” space aims at popularizing art, and intends to promote a new generation of talented and ambitious artists. The name also reveals the quirky character of the four members team.
Speedy Grandma & Speedy Grandchild,
672/50-52 Soi Charoenkrung 28 Bangrak Bangrak, Bangkok
Tel: +66811005154 (Jen) / +66921158696 (Thomas)
Soy Sauce Factory
Following his steps to develop more art venues in what was then ‘an abandoned part of Chinatown’, Thomas Menard (co-founder of Speedy Grandma) opened Soy Sauce Factory in May 2014, an eclectic art space which operates like a bar gallery on the first floor, an exhibition space on the second floor, and an artist in residence accommodations on the third floor. The interior is bare and industrial, a reminiscence of New York warehouses converted into airy lofts. Upstairs regular exhibitions are often held in collaboration with Most photography agency, led by Eliseo Barbara.
The recent addition to the venue is a Northern style street food restaurant overlooking the destitute khlong and offering outdoor sittings. Enjoy a strong ‘rhum arrange’ (perfumed rum) while swinging over the canal which is home to a couple of giant lizards.
Soy Sauce Factory, Soi 24, Charoenkrung road, Bangkok
Tel: +66(0)61 835 6824
In what was previously Le Bar, S gallery hosts new exhibitions every two months. Curated by MG art design, they feature the works of Thai or French painters, photographers, sculptors and installation artists.
Current exhibition: ‘Out of Curiosity’ by Bruno Tanquerel (June 18th – Sept 6th, 2015).
French artist and architect Bruno Tanquerel’s solo exhibition features his latest contemporary artwork in the style of Paul Klee, with abstract lines that touch upon human relationships.
S Gallery, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
The latest addition to the burgeoning Bangkok art scene, YenakArt Villa is the second collaboration between Frederic Meyer and Jeremy Opritesco (Namsah Bottling Trust).
Inside a spacious building influenced by the European 1930’s architectural avant-garde and a facade made entirely from glass, facing a 600 square meters garden, the innovative duo created a place “where art could be enjoyed during intimate gatherings, in the presence of the exhibited artist; a place where art is considered as an essential part of a subtle and exciting life-style; a place where art could be experienced together with fine dining, wine tastings and music; a place with a cosy ambience, where all the guests could express their own personalities, in the company of old and new friends.”
The highlight being their bi-monthly exclusive gathering, with fine dining paired with wine in the presence of the artist and music played by a DJ according to the exhibited art works. For each diner, around 15 invitations are sent out to selected individuals – art collectors, critics, journalists, key opinion leaders, academics, artists and entrepreneurs, mainly Thai but also expats living in Thailand.
Yenarkart Villa is located at 69 Soi Prasat Suk and can be visited only by appointment
Tel. +66(0)2235-9800 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Photos: courtesy from the galleries unless specified (© photo by Vincent Sung) –