Korakrit Arunanondchai in his New York studio by Lelanie Foster for Artsy.
Korakrit Arunanondchai, history painting (if they cannot see the happiness, at least they'll see the light), 2017. Image © Korakrit Arunanondchai 2019. Courtesy of the artist; Carlos / Ishikawa, London; Clearing, New York; and Bangkok City City, Bangkok.
Korakrit Arunanondchai’s work has always been pretty unmissable in person. He makes brashly ambitious sculptures, where twisty coils rise up from matte-black bases and loom above the heads of gallery-goers; canvases licked with images of flames; and video works that evoke the calming presence of a Thai jungle or the feverish world of a rave. In 2019, he became globally visible: His work is currently on view at the Whitney Biennial and is featured in the Venice Biennale, making Arunanondchai one of the few artists included in both shows at the same time. The artist shows with London gallery Carlos/Ishikawa, as well as Bangkok CityCity Gallery and the Brussels- and Brooklyn-based Clearing.
This kind of world-spanning presence makes sense for Arunanondchai, as he splits his studio practice between New York and his native Bangkok. His work addresses the modern notions of transit and identity. Jane Panetta, one of the Whitney Biennial’s curators, put it this way: “For the purposes of the work we included in the Whitney Biennial, we were excited by the ways in which his video fuses the personal with the global—including fantastical, narrative elements that he deftly interweaves with questions around family, loss, the environment, and even the navigation of multiple cultures.” Arunanondchai was one of eight artists who planned to withdraw from the biennial, then ultimately stayed after Whitney vice chairman Warren Kanders resigned.
Korakrit Arunanondchai, No History in a room filled with people with funny names 5 , 2018. © Korakrit Arunanondchai 2019. Courtesy the artist; Carlos / Ishikawa, London; Clearing, New York; and Bangkok City City, Bangkok.
This year, Arunanondchai will also show work at the Singapore Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, and New York’s Performa. Istanbul Biennial curator Nicolas Bourriaud remarked on the rare precision of Arunanondchai’s work: “The beholder can feel the weight of the time intervals during his videos,” he said.