ShanghART Singapore is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Thai artist Arin Rungjang. A pioneer of installation art in Thailand whose practice is deeply intertwined with Southeast Asian histories, symbols, and memories, this exhibition presents three of the artist's latest works that explore the diasporic narratives of migrant workers. The works are exhibited in three locations; in the main gallery space, on the balcony outside the gallery, as well as a temporary space at Blk 7, #01-13.
When the governing structures of imperialism collapsed and began fading at the end of the 19th century, kingdoms and nations around the world found themselves plagued by the forces of capitalism. Driven by the advancements in technology and media, the pervasive impact of capitalism manifests in the form of globalization that blurs the boundaries of human desires and ethics. With human migration reaching a new height, the migration of labour around the world calls into question our understanding and attitudes to those exploited by the system.
Rungjang's new works continue his explorations on the experiences of diasporic communities. Through interviewing and working with migrant workers in various countries, Rungjang pieces together the personal experience of his late father who was assaulted by racists when he was working in Germany. Connected through this theme of familial trauma, the two-part work Prayong (Aglaia odorata): Dedicated to my Father lays its focus on the long-lasting impacts of migrant labour in the private realm. The main space of the gallery will be dominated by a single-channel silent video portrait, filmed in Singapore. A sound installation will also be presented with accompanying text. An outdoor work features a scaffold as a sculptural object alongside a live performance.
The work exhibited in Blk 7 is a ten-screen video installation, Shooting an Elephant and The Leader, first presented in Shanghai Biennale 2018. The work traces back both personal narrative and social history crossing different time periods, cultures, and languages. The artist sheds light on the memories of two people who lived in Myanmar at distinct times, taking references from George Orwell's famous essay Shooting an Elephant, as well as the accounts of Watuze Ali, a man of Bengali descent born in Myanmar. With the inclusion of a culturally specific song sung in a male voice and the transcription of a monologue, the work unveils layers of hidden realities from personal memories.
Press release courtesy ShanghART.
Arin Rungjang was born in Bangkok in 1975, a time of political turmoil in Thailand. Two years prior, student demonstrations led to the fall of military dictator Thanom Kittikachorn, who returned from exile in 1976. That year, students gathered at Thammasat University to protest and the military opened fire; 46 died, 167 were wounded, and over...