press release

Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021 2. edition

June 11–September 5, 2021

After the huge success of Thailand Biennale, Krabi 2018, in the year of 2021, Office of Contemporary Art and Culture Ministry of Culture (OCAC) has decided to hold the international contemporary Art Biennale again in Korat, Nakhon Ratchasima, the largest province in Thailand.

Korat is one of the most prosperous provinces of Thailand that has outstanding historical sites and richness of nature with the second largest population after Bangkok. In addition to serving as the entry point to the Isan region, Korat is also ideally located at the intersection of three cultural spheres: Thai, Khmer, and Lao. Thus, artists from many countries are invited to collaborate with local communities so that integration between history, art, and culture are encouraged to create a new format of artworks and projects for the natural sites and public spaces around Korat City, Pak Chong, and Pimai.

Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021 is a new challenge to present art and culture in concept, inspired by the location and to focus more on its specific ecologies. Yuko Hasegawa, the head curator and an artistic director of the biennale, points out a concept in the upcoming Thailand Biennale:

"The theme for this particular Biennale is a proposal and a practice, primarily focusing on the ecologies specific to this region, in an attempt to create autonomous micro-ecologies. These 'ecologies' do not refer only to natural environments: they also encompass an entire array of elements that surround us, whether they are social, psychological, or informational.

"Instead of a critique of current global capitalism, the proper practical role of art today, in the year 2021, ought to create a new form of capital focusing on a system of engendering, by leveraging its open, transversal nature.

"So what exactly is the nature of this new capital?

"The idea of the new capital is inspired by the theory of 'social common capital' by Hirofumi Uzawa (mathematical economist). It enriches people’s lives in both material and spiritual terms. In order to maintain social stability, it has recourse to three forms of capital: natural environment, social infrastructure, and institutional capital (medical care, education, and so on) These types of capital must be regulated and facilitated by professional experts and there needs to be a sense of fiduciary responsibility that respects the interests of the trustees.

"The second Thailand Biennale seeks to discover the latent potential and value of various sites of 'institutional capital,' including hospitals, universities, temples, museums, zoos, parks, and communities of ceramic or silk production, in line with this idea of a single, fiduciary trust. It is an attempt to implement a practice that will visualize and enhance this process, in collaboration with artists, architects, scientists, anthropologists, and other domain experts. The main role of the curators is to facilitate all these potential resources including animals and plants to activate and transform to rich entity.

"The goal of the Biennale is the detoxification of the body and spirit of this land as well as the fiduciary relationship among people who inhabit it. Korat is making light and careful preparations to usher in the Future, and a new life."

Yuko Hasegawa is a Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and an Artistic Director at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and has wide-ranging professional and international experiences through biennales such as Istanbul, Shanghai, São Paulo, Sharjah, and Moscow. Hasegawa will work with 3 curators as a team. Seiha Kurosawa, a Japanese curator and an artist based in Tokyo who has experiences in curatorial practices such as an assistant curator of 7th Moscow Biennale Clouds ⇄ Forests and more. Vipash Purichanont, a Thai lecturer at the department of Art History, Silpakorn University, was an assistant curator for the 1st Thailand Biennale Krabi, and a curator of Singapore Biennale 2019. Tawatchai Somkong, a renowned Thai artist and a curator. He curated The Revolving World, 58th Venice Biennale 2019.

The Thailand Biennale Korat, 2021 will be held by Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture (OCAC) and Nakorn Ratchasima Province. This is one of Thailand's largest contemporary art exhibitions to keep an eye on.

Exhibition date: June 11 to September 5, 2021