Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present Fragrant City, a solo show for Thai artist Kitti Narod, curated by Guo Weiwei, in Bangkok space. After Joy Land, this is Narod's second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Relationships have always been the focus of Narod's paintings: cats meow and curl around the feet of their owners; lovers embrace one another; men and women falling in love, running toward each other wild with joy; and nude men and women striking different poses wander into a dream-like world. In his work, people, animals, and nature are connected and long for one another in different ways. These images, painted in bright, warm colors, often convey joy and healing; everything Narod paints coexists in a city permeated with a strong fragrance.
Like everyone else, Kitti Narod has experienced a lot of complex emotions in the last year. In addition to the global coronavirus pandemic, Thailand experienced political, economic, and social turmoil. Narod observed and participated in various public gatherings advocating for the protection of people's rights, equality, and freedom. These economic and social issues became fresh sources of inspiration, which are presented in his new work using his characteristic style. He depicts dozens of scared or angry cats expressing their emotions, or men and women shedding their clothes to show that all people were born naked and equal. 'Regardless of socio-economic status or sexual orientation, everyone is the same... Everyone's shared spaces and circumstances are represented in a utopia, or my ideal society—we respect every individual and equality.'
Narod draws a lot of inspiration from Renaissance church painting. The simplified features, slender bodies, and physical shadows of the figures in his work are reminiscent of early Christian painting. In an overall effect that blends numerous elements, he repeats and layers one dozen or one hundred forms, without the space feeling cramped; these compositions draw on the way that Christian religious painting incorporates an array of complex details. He clearly segments the simple backgrounds with straight lines, then spreads the people and animals over the painting in the most direct yet subjective way. Narod makes easy and free use of individuals and parts, combining techniques and elements from Matisse and South American art. He portrays different features and identities with the simplest of forms. These forms are then grouped and layered into an agreeable, comfortable whole, achieving a complex unity in the paintings. These works embody personal memories and emotional experiences, transformed into shared memory.
In an era of social divisions, Narod's work reminds us to appreciate simple joys and to focus on the ordinary, basic details of everyday life. As in his solo show Joy Land, he wants Fragrant City to express the desire for togetherness, unity, and equality. For Kitti Narod, this exhibition is a healing process for a beautiful city, but it also offers us a brighter perspective on our relationships with a challenging world.
Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.
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