Art in the City

Art in the City

These days, one of my favourite pastimes is to visit any of the hundreds of art galleries, here in Bangkok. I mean there are literally hundreds and I have not even begun to scrape the surface because I always end up at my favourite; The Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre or BACC as we like to call it.

I first went to the BACC back in 2014 and it never fails to amaze me. There are always interesting exhibitions on and, every time I go there, it feels like it’s the first time, even though I know every square inch of the place. The first five floors circle around the central atrium with displays of photographs, drawings, or paintings on the walls. It’s such a lovely environment to stroll around and simply enjoy the artist’s creations. The light is perfect too – there are big windows which allow the natural light to stream in, but there’s also recessed lighting inside which helps to show the art off in the best possible way.

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre

I’ve been to three art exhibitions over the past few months, each one different, each one just as fascinating and inspiring as the other.

Opera Omnia

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Opera Omnia by Caravaggio

Opera Omnia was held at the BACC and it featured 40 masterpieces by Caravaggio. Unfortunately, they weren’t the originals, they are all currently housed in museums around the world, but this exhibition was the next best thing! The paintings had been digitally reproduced in HD and, I’m happy to say, they did not take away the sheer brilliance of this master painter.

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Chalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni, circa 1621. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Caravaggio was active in Italy between 1590 and 1610 and he painted from life rather than drawings, much to the chagrin of his fellow painters. He was one of the great painters of the Baroque period and his use of Chiaroscuro, strong contrasts of light and dark, gave his paintings an almost life-life appearance. Much of his work depicts crucial moments, struggles, torture and death, transfixing his subjects in bright shafts of light. The intense realism of his paintings are what he became famous for and he greatly influenced many painters that came after him. Bernard Berenson, an American art historian, had this to say about Caravaggio: “With the exception of Michelangelo, no other Italian painter exercised so great an influence.”  See if you can spot Caravaggio, he was known to include himself in some of his paintings!

Abandonia

I ventured to a new gallery called Jam, but it doesn’t really compare to the BACC, if only for the fact that when I asked where the gallery was, the guy asked me, “Gallery, what gallery?” with an air of disinterest in his voice. So much for promoting your place in a positive light! Luckily, another guy directed me upstairs, so I could find out what Abandonia was all about.

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Jam, Bangkok

Bangkok is changing and it’s happening very quickly. There are many places that have been razed to the ground (don’t get me started on Hemingways!) to make way for shiny new hotels or condos! (like we need any more!) Unfortunately, no one cares about beautiful buildings or residents that have been in their homes for years or workers that are put out of jobs, it’s all about money. If the authorities are not careful, there will be nothing of interest left to see in the city. And, once it’s gone, people tend to forget.

Fortunately, there are people who want to remind people of what was, and Abandonia was an exhibition by Bangkok-based photographer Dax Ward who has made it his mission to go out and capture those abandoned places that no one cares about anymore. The exhibition showcases places in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand too. In his words, “Every derelict has its own history….they are reminders of what once was… the allure for urban explorers and photographers lies in identifying and capturing the remaining beauty in these forgotten locations…” Check out Dan’s website for more Abandonia photography.

Beyond The Air We Breathe – Addressing Climate Change

I wonder if we will ever realise how climate change can seriously affect the world we live in. This exhibition featured over 100 images by 80 world-renowned photographers, including one of my favourites – Steve McCurry,  who have tried to depict the effects of a changing climate. Some of the photos are more than a little distressing, but all of them are stunning. Some are obvious in their message, some are not and it takes a while before you realise what the photographers are trying to convey. The capturing of these images is a powerful way to get the message across!

For photographs of the art galleries, check out morrisophotography 🙂

Caravaggio

Abandonia

Beyond The Air We Breathe

What art do you have in your city? 🙂

 

22 Replies to “Art in the City”

  1. Strikingly different exhibitions. I could not spot Caravaggio – every man in his works looks a little bit like him 🙂 Visiting the other two exhibitions would break my heart. These things happen all over the world. We live like there is no tomorrow.

    1. Hi, Inese, yeah I thought so too. Haha yes they do, I couldn’t get over how life like his paintings are.. Yes, we live like there is no tomorrow and that we are the kings of the planet, we are but a tiny blip in the scheme of things 🙁

  2. Wow, what an amazing building!

    I’m slightly embarrassed to say that Bangkok is one city in which I’ve never visited an art gallery. Next time I’ll definitely make the effort.

    Love the talented Caravaggio’s work and the fact that he painted from life, which is so much harder to do than from a drawing. ‘Cardsharps’ reminds me a little of Van Gogh’s ‘The Drinkers’.

    Steve McCurry had an exhibition in Sicily last year when I visited the island but as it was expensive to get in, so I gave it a miss.

    1. When you are back in Bangkok, I definitely recommended you visiting at least the BACC. Yes, I agree with you about painting from life. For me, I can draw and paint far better when I am copying something… although I do try from life sometimes and I surprise myself. I was really impressed with Caravaggio’s paintings, must try and seek out the originals! There’s an art gallery here called the House of Lucie here and they had a load of his photos as part of a master photographer exhibition, it was really cool! 🙂

      1. I’m surprised that BKK has such a great art scene. We I volunteered in Khao Lak, there wasn’t an art scene there but then again it was touristy seaside town.

        I used to do ink drawings and also painted a few oils when I was much younger…a long time ago. 😉

        1. I was too before I started discovering places, it really surprised me. Even bars get in on the action, displaying people’s work. It’s a fab city to live. 🙂 Do you still have the drawings and paintings? 🙂

          1. I had 2 exhibitions, one last year in a coffee shop and bar and earlier this year in a bar which had a gallery upstairs. I sold one picture and a book, not a lot but worth it and more importantly, I really enjoyed putting these together and plan to do more, just dont know when! It’s a shame that you can’t take your stuff with you, impractical I know! 😉

          2. I remember reading about those. In Australia, there are some cafe/restaurants in which you can hang your art for sale.
            The proprietor gets a commission (of course) and you get the rest.

            Yes, I had my exhibition here in January but it was not one in which I could sell my art as I didn’t pay for anything – mayor from the village hosted the event.

            I was supposed to have another exhibition last month, but time got away and didn’t get around to it – in other words slack. 😉

            At one point, we were talking about doing the festivals and shows around the UK and Europe with Reg (MH) and stocking him up with my photographs to sell. It’s too hard on an Australian passport. 🙁

          3. That sounds like a fab idea, although shame you cant do it. Tell me about time getting away, I dont have enough hours in the day to do everything I want! We can but try 😉 OOOh you could do the same in Italy?? They have plenty of festivals, but not sure whether you would be able to sell stuff 🙂

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