Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3
In a room full of messy paint splattered across every item in sight, Korakrit gave the impression of what it takes to become a painter. Korakrit Arunanondchai is a video artist from Thailand who has created a series of installations called “Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names”. This particular installation is the final piece to a trilogy that has taken place over the past four years and was displayed in Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2015. The video for this installation is named, “Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3 (Trailer)” and incorporates the denim and messy paint of the installation throughout.
The video begins with a man’s voice narrating in a foreign language as the sun sets over a grassy landscape. Subtitles in English flash across the bottom of the screen. Quickly, it transitions to Bangkok’s skyline during the daytime. Local people are all wearing distressed and torn denim clothing ranging from jackets to pants, standing in a mob with blank stares on their faces as they slowly dance to calming and dreamy music. In big bold words, “BANGKOK CITY” appears across the screen with a sudden change of music to an upbeat pop song. Next, there is an overhead view of a green swamp with alligators swimming. The people wearing denim get closer to the alligators and fearlessly play with them. Close up views of Thai people’s faces with no emotion. Scenes flash quickly to monkeys and back to people dancing in distressed denim. Finally, a shirtless man’s back is shown covered in rainbow splatter paint, as he slowly walks into a body of water.
Although this video may seem like a lot of randomness to the viewer, it depicts the making of a painter. Korakrit explains his character throughout the trailer, which is a Thai denim painter. He combines globalization, the culture of Thailand, and his autobiography into one piece. This installation consists of two parts: The Body and The Spirit.
Buddhism is a popular religion in Thailand so Korakrit explores how religion, politics, and technology impact Thai culture and how that affects artists. Denim is often a clothing item that is outsourced to Asian countries to be produced, therefore giving the viewer the impression of how Asian people are affected by sweat factories. Korakrit does a great job at incorporating the Thai culture into this trailer and it can easily be seen throughout the video with the city and landscape views as well as the Thai people acting in the video. The way he added in the installation pieces – the painted denim – into the trailer video is very creative and gives the installation an animated feeling. The viewer is constantly engaged in the trailer as it switches scenes and music very rapidly. The distressed denim pieces and messy paint that is seen throughout the trailer show that painters are messy and not perfect throughout their painting career. This installation and trailer video are both effective and convey the message of creating a painter.
Korakrit Arunanondchai has created other video art pieces which are similar. One in particular is called 2012-2555. Because Korakrit is a painter, this video includes lots of brightly colored painted sculptures and buildings. The whole video is 20 minutes long and there are two screens shown, which change to different video clips. This video is also very random, just like Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3. The various video clips shown in 2012-2555 depict nature and people, similar to the video art piece. 2012-2555 is mostly about death and it describes what a Thai funeral is like through the video. Culture plays an important role in both of Korakrit’s video art pieces and he conveys how unique the Thai culture is. Both pieces are similar because of the way Korakrit involves Thai culture and being a painter into video art, but their contexts are very different. Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3 is more about Korakrit’s life as a painter while 2012-2555 is about Korakrit looking back on life and memories and it involves ideas around death.
Another similar video art piece is called Three Faces by artist Brian Bress. This piece displays three very different and colorful characters on three monitors. Each character looks mashup up and composed of different face parts, but the video slowly shows the faces unscrambling themselves until they reveal their identity at the end of the video. This video is very abstract and represents one finding their identity in our world today. Everyone struggles with this issue, especially in their teenage and young adult years as they go through big changes in life. This artwork is similar to Korakrit’s piece Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3 because they both are about finding one’s self and identity. They are both video art pieces that convey this message, but Painting with history in a room filled with men with funny names 3 is much different because it relates to cultural identity rather than personal identity.
Thai culture can be seen throughout most of Korakrit Arunanondchai’s works of art. He is a very unique artist because he embodies his own personality and culture into every piece. It is interesting how he finds ways to show his paintings in a form of video art. His works of art all have powerful messages that can relate to a whole audience.
Video Link: (Due to privacy settings, video cannot be displayed on blog)
D'Angelo, Madelaine. "Korakrit Arunanondchai "Painting With History in a Room Filled With People With Funny Names 3" at Palais De Tokyo, Paris." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.
Korakrit Arunanondchai. (2015, July 30). Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://moussemagazine.it/korakrit-arunanondchai-palaisdetokyo/
(2017, April 11). Retrieved April 11, 2017, from https://vimeo.com/127799868