A TALEBEARER’S TALE: The Last Deer
8.16 – 9.23, 2017
Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok is proud to present “A Talebearer’s Tale: The Last Deer,” a solo exhibition for Sakarin Krue-On, from August 16 to September 23, 2017. This exhibition continues creative threads from the artist’s previous conceptual art, which draws inspiration from social history of Thailand and making it an accentuation of the present society.
This solo exhibition, “A Talebearer’s Tale: The Last Deer,” serves as an extension of Monument of an Awakening Era, the work that Sakarin Krue-On showed at the 2012 Busan Biennale. The key work in this exhibition, A Talebearer’s Tale, also begins with the story of the Schomburgk’s deer. When we walk into the exhibition space, a classic desk sits in the middle, bearing the lifelike head of a Schomburgk’s deer. On a nearby wall hangs a Thai folk painting from the twentieth century; a video plays on the other side of the hall, showing the artist interviewing people on the street about the legend of the Schomburgk’s deer. The exhibition also contains a rich array of historical documents, and the overall layout of the show is reminiscent of a display in a natural history museum.
Through this exhibition, Sakarin Krue-On attempts to present his thoughts after encountering the world’s only Schomburgk’s deer specimen at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. The Schomburgk’s deer, a species unique to Thailand, is now extinct. In the forests of Kanchanaburi Province in 1932, the last Schomburgk’s deer fell to a hunter’s gun. In Samut Sakhon in 1938, a drunkard beat the last recorded Schomburgk’s deer to death at a local temple. When the artist discovered this unique Schomburgk’s deer specimen in Paris, he finally realized that the legendary, beautiful animal that he had heard about since childhood actually once existed.
“A Talebearer’s Tale: The Last Deer” conveys the tragedy of the extinction of this beautiful, legendary species, but the show also explores the greed in human nature, and the irreversible impact people have had on the world and later generations due to a lack of moral restraint and reverence. The artist hopes that viewers will, through the story and extinction of the Schomburgk’s deer, consider Thailand’s social transformation, and the country’s distinctive cultural identity, values, and traditions as it attempts to find balance between the past and the future amidst globalization and economic and social development.
b.1965 Mae Hong Sorn, Thailand
Sakarin Krue-On is a contemporary Thai visual artist. His works are often site-specific installations with traditional Thai cultural influences. The art of Sakarin Krue-On involves a variety of approaches, from highly planned terraces based on traditional farming techniques to digital media installations. A key figure in establishing the media department at Silpakorn University, Thailand's premier training ground for artists and art historians, Krue-On was one of the seven representatives selected for the first-ever Thai Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), and he was the first Thai artist to participate in Documenta (2007). His Terraced Rice Field and Nang Fa (Angel), both site-specific installations at the 2007 Kassel exhibition, exemplify his interests in process art as well as traditional Thai painting. Similarly, Circle of Hope (2003), a single-screen video projection that depicts multiple images of a traditional Thai goddess in a rotating, pulsating circle of blue, pink, green, and purple concentric circles against a black background, is a compelling mix of technological imagery, somatic effect, and traditional Thai motifs.
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