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Bangkok's getting their very first art biennale next year

And they're banking on getting over 3 million visitors

By Siripannee Supratya | Jul 06, 2017

  • Bangkok's getting their very first art biennale next year
    Bangkok
  • Bangkok's getting their very first art biennale next year
    Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Art lovers in Singapore will be thrilled to know that Bangkok will be getting its first art bienalle set to happen from Nov-Feb next year. The fifth edition of the Singapore Biennale, titled "Atlas of Mirrors" ended last February and showcased 58 pieces and installations from 60 artists (10 of which are Singaporean) and three art collectives.

We're even sending an artist for the 57th Venice Biennale which is currently on-going. It looks like Thai contemporary art is about to get catapulted onto the global stage just like Singapore's did. After the initial announcement back in May, the organizers held their first official press conference this week (Jul 4), announcing just how big they expect this thing to be.

The answer: over 3 million people big. The chairman of the administrative committee, Thanpana Sirivadhanabhakdi, announced that he expects to attract 3.3 million visitors over the four-month period, mostly through tourism.

Alongside the exhibition's chief executive and artistic director, Prof. Dr. Apinan Posyananda, he also announced plans to host three biennales in total: in 2018, 2020 and 2022. The biennale itself can be seen as a spin-off to the success of the 2015 group exhibition of contemporary Thai artists, Thailand Eye, at Saatchi gallery in London.

With artists like Rirkrit Tiravanija, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook and Somboon Hormtientong (who's currently representing Thailand in this year's Venice Biennale) establishing strong global acclaim, the idea to host Bangkok's first biennale now makes a lot of sense. 

"We will be following the Venice Biennale model, respecting the heritage sites and to show that contemporary work has cultural value," said Prof. Dr. Apinan, who stressed that, while expanding state pockets, the event also plans to encourage aspiring artists through work placements, workshops and guided tour.

The list of exhibiting artists is yet to be announced, as the organizer is currently running an open call for international and local artists until Sep 30, 2017. The shortlist is expected to be confirmed by the end of Jan 2018

Popularized by Venice's famous biennial art show, which first took place in 1895, the term "biennale" is nowadays commonly used to describe large-scale recurring international contemporary art exhibitions.

Here's a sneak look at some of the host venues, in case you're planning ahead: 

 

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