At CLEARING, Thai-born, New York and Bangkok-based artist Korakrit Arunanondchai continues his roving, polymorphous exploration of identity, personal biography and cultural representation. The exhibition centres on his 2017 video with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4, the most recent in a series in which the artist plays Korakrit, a Thai painter of denim, and which documents his grandparents: as well as featuring in the video, the artist’s family reappear throughout the show, as does the performer Boychild, whose head is visible in the massive, plant-covered sculpture in the main room of the gallery. In the work There’s a word I’m trying to remember from a feeling I’m about to have (let the song hold us) (2018), a cast of the artist’s grandfather’s hands unite with a monstrous rat. The works re-employ, as a stage, a maquette of the United Nations headquarters in New York, taking this as a site of near-cultic projection and re-animation. The artist’s approach to interwoven personal and cultural histories has an autobiographical mandate but a larger historical one, too: after the 2014 military junta in Thailand, as he states in a press statement, ‘history’ is a subject no longer taught in schools there.
- Pablo Larios