THE EXHIBITION UNDER THE NAME JOAN CORNELLÀ: BANGKOK SOLO EXHIBITION HELD AT THE FUTURE FACTORY TELLS US THAT THAI PEOPLE ARE MORE INTERESTED IN ART THAN MANY WOULD THINK…
After his exhibition in Taipei at the end of last year, Joan Cornellà finally made it to Bangkok. With HAVE YOU HEARD? as the facilitator, the exhibition under the name Joan Cornellà: Bangkok Solo Exhibition and the show held at The Future Factory between the 10th and 26th of March 2017 became the city’s hottest art show with viewers vigorously checking-in and instagramming with, of course, the hashtag #JoanCornellaBKK. What the exhibition tells us is that Thai people are more interested in art than many would think with the first week welcoming over 4,000 viewers, which is a phenomenal number. It sheds light for those who questioned the 200 THB fee of the exhibition on the doubt as to whether people would actually pay money to see art. Well, they do. Apart from the name Joan Cornellà that got thousands of Thai people to spend their hard-earned money on an art exhibition, and the success of both Have You Heard? and The Future Factory, another worth documenting piece of information is the reasons behind Cornellà’s deliberate decision not to include any specific subject matter about Thailand within the work despite the fact that four of his featured paintings for this exhibition were done during his stay in Bangkok. When talking with the HAVE YOU HEARD? team, we were told that Cornellà did intend to incorporate the so-called ‘Thai-ness’ in as a part of his painting (it’s almost unsurprising that he would want to do so considering the surreal stuff that has been going on in this country lately). But with the drama before his arrival in Bangkok where a group of people left frenzied comments about the painting of a monk who set himself on fire saying how it was utterly inappropriate and against every moral value of our Buddhist country, the team decided to use a different work for the promotion of the exhibition. While Cornellà himself didn’t want to risk it with the possible feedback, he played it safe by re-presenting his previously exhibited works instead. It’s a real shame that we lost our chance to see the clash between Cornellà’s sarcastic and humorously dark aesthetic and the subject matter that would not only have been something we could closely relate to but conceived specifically from the actual context of our country. To the question about his future returns to Thailand, we can tell you right now that it won’t be any time soon.
TEXT: NAPAT CHARITBUTRA