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Nova Contemporary, Bangkok, Thailand
Nova Contemporary proudly presents, Splashed, a debut solo exhibition from Bangkok-based artist Kawita Vatanajyankur.
In Splashed, Vatanajyankur body is a conduit for those affected by the blind consumerism that fuels today’s society. Within the three performative videos exhibited, she is seen undergoing several physical experiments that playfully and painfully test her body’s limits - challenges that are as unavoidably compelling as they are uncomfortable to witness.
In Big Fish in a Small Pond (2017), Vatanajyankur is hooked up to wire through her mouth, and suspended by ropes that pulls her up away from the fishes below her, and in Carrier (Fish) (2017), she supports buckets of fishes whilst being swung back and forth on a rope. These images allude to the everyday physical labour endured by workers of the fishing industry and other consumerist means of production. With her eyes shut and expression solid, she performs repeated motions familiar to these unseen workers, evoking both them and the commodity that they handle. Ice (2017) is a continuation of a previous piece The Scale 2 (2015), as she is suspended and assaulted with ice instead of rice, signifying a thematic shift within this body of work. These works are bright and colorful, distinctive to the artist’s aesthetic, tapping into a globalized and digitally networked visual language of consumption and instant gratification that often fronts these industries.
The notion of labour is not new to Vatanajyankur’s practice, as she has undertaken similar strenuous physical tasks in many of her past videos. In her earlier work The Dustpan (2014) she is strapped upside down and dragged repeatedly across the floor, her hair sweeping away at the ground inches away from her face. In another, The Scale (2015), she balances herself against the ground, with her feet pointed upwards, acting as a platform for a plastic crate that catches the debris of watermelon pieces being dropped onto her. All of these performances seek to examine the psychological, social and cultural ways of viewing and valuing the challenges of women’s everyday labour. Her body becomes a site where multiple themes can be explored, from ideas of feminism and oppression to the endurance of the body.
Splashed is a progression of this body of work. And though her subject matter may change, what remains at the center of her work, through the varying backgrounds and positions, which she assumes, it is uncomfortable that drive us to experience with the artist.
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