Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present Cold Cuts, a solo exhibition by Pinaree Sanpitak, one of Southeast Asia’s most widely known and deeply admired living artists.
For over two decades, Thai artist Sanpitak has explored the form she calls the “breast stupa”, in a practice spanning numerous media and frequently incorporating the relational and participatory. We have come to expect the unexpected from Sanpitak, not only because of her insistence on playful reinvention within an elegantly reduced formal vocabulary, but also because of her repeated relinquishment of control through various forms of creative collaboration.
In Cold Cuts, Sanpitak presents for the first time in a gallery context eight freestanding sculptures known as Breast Stupa Topiary: structures that, placed in a garden, will support and shape the growth of plants. Indeed, these futuristic trellis-like objects were originally exhibited outdoors, in a snowy European garden during the winter of 2013. Manufactured to exacting standards in industrial stainless steel by a Bangkok furniture company—just one of numerous collaborations in the Cold Cuts exhibition—this garden of “breast topiary” invites the curious visitor to enter and engage. Crawling between the legs of the structures or catching sight of our reflection in their highly polished surfaces, we enact another kind of collaboration in this project. In the absence of plants in the white-on-white environment of a gallery, human participants become the unpredictable, seasonal element.
In a way, though, plants are all around. In a series of five new large-scale paintings created “in conversation” with the sculptures, Sanpitak presents floating ovoid forms based on the shape of seeds. The scumbled surface of each canvas, finished in a shade of acrylic appropriately named “stainless steel”, is interrupted by a small field of delicate dried flowers. Just as Breast Stupa Topiary ask us to not only look but to interact, so too do Sanpitak’s paintings invite a perambulatory viewing and intimate inspection.
Serving as a bridge between the paintings and Breast Stupa Topiary sculptures is a series of wall-mounted shelves. Manufactured in brushed stainless steel and designed by the artist’s friend and sometime collaborator, Philippe Stouvenot, the shelves feature recesses inspired by Sanpitak’s “breast stupas”, some of which are used to hold molds from the ongoing Breast Stupa Cookery Project. The collaboration here is open-ended, as the positive and negative forms of the shelves transform in each ephemeral arrangement.
Like much of Sanpitak’s practice, Cold Cuts offers a space in which to slow down, and with which to play. Based in the fluid forms of nature, the works on show are pared back to such pristine precision that the social becomes central. In Cold Cuts, an assured artist invites us to consider our relationship to the works, and their relationship to one another, as a kind of index of our bond with nature and with each other.
Pinaree Sanpitak (b. 1961) has exhibited extensively in major galleries and museums worldwide, and participated in the 18th Biennale of Sydney, the 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, and the Busan Biennale in 2008. Her works are included in numerous international private and public collections, including the Singapore Art Museum (Singapore), Queensland Art Gallery (Australia), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA), and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan). In 2007, she was rewarded the Silpathon Award from the Thai Ministry of Culture. Sanpitak currently lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.