Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
by Wu Men Hui-k'ai
Southern Song Dynasty (1183 – 1260)
Reminiscent of photographic portraits, two couples – four friends – are posing together under a delicate summer breeze that moves lightly through their hair; Another couple is caught into an impromptu tango in the laundry room; Two pally men are leaning onto each other during an afternoon nap on the sofa; And a herd of horses are galloping with vitality, resonating with the summer pool teemed by bodies in full Dionysian sensuality.
“Style is a simple way of saying complicated things,” said Jean Cocteau. His words best exemplify Kitti’s world, in which the imagery of life is depicted as it is – in its simplicity.
Born in 1976 in Thailand, after obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bangkok, Kitti started to develop a unique artistic dimension which gradually evolved towards a language of graphic signs and simplicity. Elaborate and superfluous styles are whittled in order to arrive at the sheer essence of each image. The skillful mastery on the modulation between abstraction and the real world then enables Kitti to infuse his personal journey into his art: as an autobiography which seeks to get beyond the borders of the self and become no longer self-centered, but rather a symbol of everyone’s potential life.
Kitti’s art provokes with extreme delicacy. It is all a calling forth rather than a sting. Spontaneity and immediacy become the triumph of interiority and communicability. It’s in the apparent simplicity of his subjects, bi-dimensional figures of people or animals represented with curved lines, that lies his visual strength. Paradoxically combined, realism and stylization correspond to the maximum of individuality and the maximum of universality. Those who are capable of grasping the contrast in Kitti’s art will find a further meaning: there’s an element always immanent in reality he represents. Endowed with the quintessence of vitality, his figures are literally imbued of this substance, rather than being obfuscated by a superimposed concept.
Therefore, the achievement of abstractionism, which he sometimes lands to in a few works, for Kitti is a decisive development. The element of immanency of his figurative canvases naturally becomes the substance of his abstract works. It’s evident how Kitti’s process is a coherent journey built over the years, based on solid foundations and in line with the natural development from the “figurative” to the “stylized” to the “abstraction” typical of most of the great masters of history. The lightness of his language comes from research and from the chiselling of the image, rising to become “concept” and “sign”.
Precisely it’s in Kitti’s ability to reinvent himself by the contact with otherness that lies the meaning of the whole exhibition: from the adherence to an actual representation, it achieves a semantic disquiet. In fact, there’s always something more in the signs of a representation which gradually shifts from a dimension of visual happiness to interpretative uncertainty.
As an interpreter of the contemporary LGBTQ scene, Kitti, with works like Sofa Mi Re Do and Tension depicted in pure and natural ways, is willing to convey a message beyond the visual. There’s no scandal springing from his representations, and all the scenes are paired in an equal kind of love – for people, for animals, and for life. In his canvases even a very stylized still-life becomes a sensual element. It is the internal contradictions that open up the space for reflection – our eyes cannot go numb if the mind’s eyes are solicited. In Kitti’s art, the linearity of signs and his solid colors always return to a sense of movement and an impossibility of rest. It invites us to open up the space of reflection after contemplation.
Kitti’s figures never sit still – that’s perhaps the reason why we are in love with his art: not for the alleged ease, but for the dizzying accumulative frenzy, a surrounding sensation that brings us “inside” the painting and energizes us while it pushes us out. The movement of bodies is a tangle with an entropic central vortex, it opens up for us the space far beyond the canvas.
Master of representing different points of view, Kitti is also a master of relationships: between subject and object, between past and future, between action and desire. The complication of reality becomes easy on his canvas. In the scenes, he represents all the characters meeting in a unifying embrace, with the hope that the engine of life, “the desire”, will never fail.
Happy Family Acrylic on canvas 240 x 180 cm 2022
Octet Acrylic on canvas 230 x 170 cm 2022
Brother Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2022
Laundry, Rainy and Tango Acrylic on canvas 160 x 140 cm 2022
Sofa Mi Re Do Acrylic on canvas 140 x 160 cm 2022
Public Pool Acrylic on canvas 120 x 150 cm 2022
Acapella Acrylic on canvas 120 x 150 cm 2022
Cat Play Acrylic on canvas 160 x 140 cm 2022
Tension Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2022
Memories of Red Acrylic on canvas 150 x 150 cm 2022
Beauty Privilege Acrylic on canvas 190 x 200 cm 2022
Waiting for Dinner Acrylic on canvas 150 x 100 cm 2022
Tom Cat Acrylic on canvas 120 x 120 cm 2022
Summer Wind Acrylic on canvas 180 x 150 cm 2022
Dionysus Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2022
Garden of Eden Acrylic on canvas 120 x 150 cm 2022
Say Cheese Acrylic on canvas 120 x 100 cm 2022
Monsoon Acrylic on canvas 120 x 180 cm 2022
Weekend Afternoon Acrylic on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2022
Born in 1976, Thailand
Kitti Narod trained at Wittayalai Pohchang Art College, Bangkok, from 1996 - 1998, and later obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Rajamonkong Institute of Technology in 2000. He has exhibited extensively both domestically and internationally, including in Singapore, London, Bath, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin, Cork, Montreal, and Melbourne.
Kitti Narod creates paintings that convey a sense of joy and optimism through gentle and warm portrayals of daily life and human relationships. In his paintings, everyone and everything exist together in a utopia. This notion may seem unrealistic to some, especially during an era of social division, but the artist’s work tries to remind us to appreciate the simple pleasures and raise attention to everyday mundane matters. In which, euphoric feelings will not seem so unattainable. The artist considers his works to be an intersection for diversity, where all the physical and spiritual are equal.
Kitti Narod’s recent solo exhibitions include “Fragrant City: Kitti Narod Solo Exhibition”, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand, 2021; “Roles in Life”, We Gallery, Shenzhen, China, 2020; “Joy Land”, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand, 2020; “Kitti Narod Exhibition by O‘logy”, PPP, Taipei, Taiwan, China, 2019.Recent group exhibitions include “Falling”, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2022; “The Space Between Us II” at ICONSIAM, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand, 2021; “The Space Between Us I” at ICONSIAM, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand, 2020; “A Silent Voice”, Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand, 2020; “Spectrosynthesis II - Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia”, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), Bangkok, Thailand, 2019.
Born in 1976
Michela Sena is a Rome-Bangkok-based curator and art critic. Her research relates partly to the potential of global language and the relationship and dialogue between contemporary artists coming from different territories. After she graduated in museology and art history at Roma Tre University and got a Chinese language degree at SISU Shanghai Foreign Studies University, she was Director of Primo Marella Gallery Beijing and Director of Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok. She curated a wide number of shows proposing a punctual snapshot of contemporary art research, developing in recent years a focus on Chinese and southeast Asian art.