Thailand to launch first Biennale – Pattaya 2014

Thailand’s first biennale will be held in the southern city of Pattaya, better known for parties than contemporary art.

The inaugural Pattaya Biennale, slated for October 2014, will take place two hours from Bangkok in one of Thailand’s infamous party towns. Promising international artists and curators, organisers aim at decentralising the art scene and improving Pattaya’s cultural cache.

Thailand's first international biennale will take place in Pattaya, rather than a more established art centre such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Thailand’s first international biennale will take place in Pattaya, rather than a more established art centre such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Details on the Pattaya Biennale are yet to be released, but Thasnai Sethaseree, the artist leading the project, told ARTINFO that the event will actively engage with the town and the general public.

We’re going to have public art, outdoor art, a main hall like at a normal biennale. And also we’re going to invade department store complexes, markets — the whole city will turn into the festival. Even if they’re not out to see works of art, people will encounter an environment that has changed.

Co-organiser Gridthiya Gaweewong, Founder of non-profit art space Project 304 and Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, also pointed out the accessible nature of the Pattaya Biennale, telling ARTINFO that the emphasis was on art scene capacity building and the participation of  “non-art people.”

Manit Sriwanichpoom, This Bloodless War # 3, edition of 5, 1997, gelatin silver print, 50.8 x 61 cm,  private collection

Manit Sriwanichpoom, ‘This Bloodless War # 3’, 1997, gelatin silver print, 50.8 x 61 cm, edition of 5, private collection. Image courtesy Singapore Art Museum.

Participants in the Pattaya Biennale 2014 

Organisers have announced the participation of Italian curator Pier Luigi Tazzi, who curated the 1988 Venice Biennale, was a two-time co-director of Documenta, and has been involved with the Thai art scene since 1998. Artists thus far named include Thasnai Sethaseree and the Danish art group Superflex.

Why Pattaya?

ARTINFO raises the question of why the seaside town of Pattaya, known around the world for  sex tourism, was chosen to host Thailand’s first Biennale rather than a city “that has an art scene to speak of.” The event may be part of a larger rebrand of Pattaya, as well as an attempt to decentralise the Thai art scene. A 2010 article in The New York Times cited the city’s attempts to change its image and invite new tourism to the region.

Pattaya City and the Ministry of Culture are reportedly backing the Biennale, and although Sethaseree states that four cities were considered for the event, Pattaya eventually won for its “richness of culture and resources”,  “infrastructure” and “cultural capital.”

Michael Shaowanasai, ‘Self-Portrait with Double South Sea Pearl Earrings’, Triptych, 2013, c-print, 76 x 50.8 cm x 3 pieces. Image courtesy: 10 Chancery Gallery

Michael Shaowanasai, ‘Self-Portrait with Double South Sea Pearl Earrings’, 2013, triptych, C-print, 76 x 50.8 cm x 3 pieces. Image courtesy 10 Chancery Gallery.

Biennales continuing their spread

Asian art watchers have identified an uptick in the number of biennials and triennials taking place across Asia-Pacific in recent years. Nine such events have been established since the year 2000: Yokohama Triennale (2001), Chengdu Biennale (2001), Busan Biennale (2002), Nanjing Triennial (2002), Guangzhou Triennial (2003), Beijing Biennale (2003), Singapore Biennale (2006), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012) and Pattaya Biennale (2014).

Curator Melissa Chiu notes the importance of “ambitious local city governments” such as Pattaya’s in contributing to the rise of biennials in Asia-Pacific. Art historian Meiqin Wang, writing on the increased popularity of the biennial and triennials for Asia Art Archive, attributes the growth of the format to two factors: the international recognition garnered by such events; and the concerted efforts made by Asian governments to support the arts, coinciding with increased economic prosperity and global tourism.

The Pattaya Biennale, due to open in October 2014, falls neatly after the opening of the Taipei Biennial and the Gwangju Biennale in September, and prior to the opening of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in December.



Related Topics: Thai artists, biennales, contemporary art as soft power 

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Thailand to launch first Biennale – Pattaya 2014 — 11 Comments

  1. Halo. Thai arttist I’m graffiti writer. Street art painting looking for jobs offer.. Just. What can I do for you ?im living in pattaya.

  2. Sawadi Kaa
    Could you please advise if you will do another project for 2015
    I have a group of Emerging artists that we have taken to several Art fairs and were very well received in London, Amsterdam and Paris
    Please advise on what is needed from us to participate
    Kindest Regards

  3. Hi Sanjay please contact the biennale. Art Radar is not affiliated with the event.

  4. Art Radar is not associated with Pattaya Biennale, but we recommend you go to the event website of Facebook and contact organisers

  5. I am Indian painter. I interested the 1 st pattaya biennale 2014. I want to participate there. Who is the contact person ?where I post my c.v?
    Please give me responds.

  6. I am interested in pattaya biennial 2014. If you sent me participant rule would be obilig to you.or contact person name .Puspita
    India artist

  7. Congratulations for organising your first biennale.
    I am an artist (painter, printmaker & photographer ) from Mauritius Island.
    I have participated in several group shows abroad.
    Last year I participated in the Beijing Art Biennale and afterthat I had one solo exhibition in Paris, France.
    I came several times to HatYai and with group artists from Thailand, China, Malaysia we exhibited in Siam Art Musuem and the Songklah Craft Market.One of our artist friend from Hat Yai is Thanakoon Boonrat.
    How to proceed as I am very interested to participate in this Biennale.

  8. Dariusz Mlacki
    Hello dear friends
    I am an artist of Polish
    A specialist is a painting and sculpture
    We participate?
    What are the conditions for participation


  9. Hello my dear friends
    I am an artist from Iraq
    The specialist is a sculpture and painting
    Can we participate ?
    What are the requirements for participation ?

    We wish you a good time of life and work,
    Yours Sincerely,

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