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Helmed by Dr Apinan Poshyananda, the second edition will explore the theme of 'Escape Routes'. The first 16 participating artists have been announced.

Marina Abramović and Dr Apinan Poshyananda with Sanitas Pradittasnee's 'Across the Universe and Beyond' (2018). Courtesy Bangkok Art Biennale.

The inaugural edition of the Bangkok Art Biennale, which took place from October 2018 to February 2019, was an unlikely success. Despite limited government support and budget problems faced by the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, it was well received, with over 2 million visitors.

The event featured works by 75 artists displayed in 20 locations, including several of the city's temples, or Wats. Showing contemporary art in some of Thailand's most significant temples for the first time ever required some serious persuasion on the part of the event's artistic director, Dr Apinan Poshyananda.

'I spent a lot of time talking to Abbots,' he said at the time.

Starting on 10 October 2020, the second edition will again display works at the Temple of Dawn, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the Temple of Iron Fences, all of which are situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

Komkrit Tethrian, Arun Garuda (2018). Courtesy Bangkok Art Biennale.

The theme for the second edition of the biennale is 'Escape Routes', responses to contemporary predicaments that Dr Poshyananda says offer 'paths of sufficiency, sustainability and inclusivity'.

He says artists also offer a kind of 'mind escapism'—distinct from the hedonistic escapism typically associated with tourism in Thailand—through 'meditation, contemplation, ritualism, healing and performance [that] become the essence of hope and optimism.'

Marina Abramović, whose institute performed in the inaugural event, is again participating in the Biennale. She's one of the event's international advisors, alongside David Stuart Elliott, Alexandra Munroe and Fumio Nanjo.

In addition to Dr Poshyananda, the curatorial team includes Ong Puay Khim, Dow Wasiksiri and Kitti Sangkaew, and Sook-Kyung Lee.

The 16 participating artists announced so far are: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nipan Oranniwesna, Thanet Aowsinsiri, and Yuree Kensaku (Thailand); Lu Yang and Zhang Kechun (China); Anish Kapoor (UK); Bill Viola (USA); Julia Fullerton-Batten (Germany); Leandro Erlich (Argentina); Melati Suryodarmo (Indonesia); Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnam); Ana Prvački (Serbia); Baatarzorig Batjargal Mongolia); and Ho Rui An (Singapore). —[O]

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