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? 🙂

 

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