Jennie Guy


Nim Kruasaeng and a friend

An exhibition of work by Nim Kruasaeng and Mit Jai Inn curated by Jennie Guy for Stone Gallery in Dublin, September 2008.

It is not often enough that you can stand in front of a static object in a gallery and that it will actually hold your attention. Herein the quality of the artist Nim Kruasaeng’s talent lies. Everyday impressions and memories painted by the artist take an essential form, which are suspended on paper or canvas in primal colours. What emerges is an aesthetic harmony between the inner and outer selves and the world at large.

A retiring self-taught artist from Isan Province the border territory between Laos and Thailand, Nim Kruasaeng’s rise in the contemporary art world may seems unusual but justified. Kruasaeng found her work acknowledged by Montien Boonma in the early 1990s and artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kamin Lerchtpraisert and Mit Jai Inn have since supported her work. She is also the focus of attention for international curators and art-critics, some have said that her work has resonances with the late Palermo.

Recent exhibitions include Trance-Formations at Ver gallery, Bangkok and in Espace d’Art Contemporain in France. Nim has also exhibited in solo and group shows at the land in Chiangmai and was part of a group show All Our Everydays curated by Pier Luigi Tazzi in Ver Gallery 2008. The launch of a 180 page artist book project between Nim Kruasaeng and Rirkrit Tiranvanija last December is the result of two artists from different traditions, sharing a vision where memory, tradition, history and our living identity is the focus of attention.

Nim Kruaseang lives in Bangkok and Pattaya.

Mit Jai Inn is an elusive and unusual figure in Thai and international contemporary art spheres. Much of his time is devoted to deep meditation. When he is not in retreat Mit Jai Inn works all night producing works on canvas that he chooses not to call paintings. Recent three-dimensional pieces he also says are not sculpture. By refusing to have his work categorised the artist Mit Jai Inn builds on his vision of eukabeuk, which is a word that signifies nothing. It is this paradoxical practice of nothingness that has allowed Mit to be a seminal founder of the Chiang Mai Social Installation, to present his oil on canvas as international flags at the Palais de Tokyo (Tropical Nights Lost In Paradise, 2006) and organise Don’t be Happy. Do be worried. Fifteenth Anniversary of Worrying about: Global Climate Change/Shifting World Views/Societal Collapse/The Cult of Bourgeois Rectitude/Chiang Mai Social Installation Project. Art is Over. (Ver Gallery 2007).

Many projects Jai Inn is involved seem to cast him as wilful provocateur but on a second take what is inherent in Jai Inn’s work is sensitivity to art and life that is not always easy to find. Jai Inn’s activities both artistic and social are difficult to trace but it is important to note his prominent role in the Chiang Mai Social Installation, (a precursor to the land Foundation set up by Rirkrit Tiranvanija and Kamin Lerchpraisert). The CMSI was a non-commercial art space that evolved as a direct refusal of neo-liberalist trends to appropriate Thai-ness and Buddhist iconography for commercial reasons. Another of the main objectives of the CMSI was to liberate art from the gallery and incorporate it into the city of Chiang Mai. Differing forms of art were presented inside the ancient walls of Chiang Mai, on the canals, in Buddhist temples and cemeteries. Public lectures were given and the belief held that bringing art to these locations would re-invigorate traditional and contemporary Thai art practices.

Mit Jai Inn lives in Lamphun, Chiang Mai Province.

The catalogue of Nim Kruasaeng and a friend featured an interview between Jennie Guy and curator Pier Luigi Tazzi who has worked extensively with Nim Kruasaeng and Mit Jai Inn. The interview will present a critique and a context for an audience new to both artists work.

Pier Luigi Tazzi is an art-critic and independent curator working worldwide. Among many projects he has curated at the Venice Biennale (1988), co-directed Documenta IX in Kassel (1992), was co-curator ofWounds – Democracy and Redemption in Contemporary Art, the inaugural show of the new building for Moderna Musset in Stockholm, (1998) and of Happyness – A Survival Guide for Art and Life, the inaugural show of the new Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2003).