Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thai artist Dusadee escapes Bangkok to find solitude, simplicity at Berkeley

Untitled by Dusadee Huntrakul
Photo-journalist, photographer, editor and former Vietnam War correspondent, Lance R. Woodruff, interviews and profiles Thai conceptual artist Dusadee Huntrakul on the artist´s return to Bangkok for a group show.
 
By Lance R. Woodruff
Guest Contributor - Exclusive to ArtTraveler

In a Bangkok known academically for the pursuit of MBAs, the study of business English, and making money, Dusadee Huntrakul opted to pursue art and music, completely ignoring the concept of money.

Following his recent solo show at Koi Art Gallery I talked with avant-garde Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakel about his approach for the show.

Dusadee Huntrakul

In an interview here, he said the exhibition involved collecting “...artifacts of someone that I didn’t know, but maybe I can emphathize with at some level, just like reading a book."

Bangkok Post reviewer, Brian Curtin, (“Go East Young Man (and then come back") expressed alarm at the artist’s scheduled departure for Berkeley later this month, worrying that he signified the continuing attraction of the Golden Mountain, and that Thai artists will simply leave the City of Angels, as the Thai capital is known.

Dusadee returned clothed with new recognition.

The artist found various abandoned images and molded them into his own theme.

Dusadee said he collected letters from the Internet and used photos found “anywhere”. 

He always thought he would be a rock and roll musician, but was attracted to an eclectic mix of “noise, underground punk rock´.

Also, he was influenced by French composer, Erik Satie, who led ceremonials for the Rosicrucians and once fired a cannon from a rooftop in Paris in a 1924 film, Entr’acte, shown at the intermission of Satie’s ballet Relache

Rejected by Bangkok University when he tried to enter its undergraduate art program in his home town, the 33-year-old Thai artist headed to California, scaled the linguistic and artistic walls of academia at UCLA, where he studied art and film (his first, entitled ‘My Armpit´s My Beer´), joined Los Angeles´ commando art underground, which invaded galleries for one-night art stands.

Welcomed back to the Thai capital to participate in a group show at the now creativity-oriented institution which earlier turned him down, he joined several group shows, curated another and added experiences to inspire his artwork.

He debuted  “You touch my jellyfish. I touch your oyster” at The Studio in Inglewood, suburban Los Angeles, and his second show, “Can we sit on it?”, at UCLA’s New Wight Gallery.

Untitled by Dusadee Huntrakul
Last year, Dusadee showed “Incognito 2010” at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California.

He was also a selected artist in ‘Brand New 2010′, organized by the Bangkok University Gallery (BUG), where his work recounted the story of his eventful journeys combined with imaginary wanderings.

Dusadee has attracted supporters such as Somrak Sila, who brought him to Bangkok’s WTF Café & Gallery where he presented his conceptual art with what Sila described as provocative sticker messages focused on the concept of self-censorship.

Paris in the 1920s nurtured then Siam’s first generation of idealistic intellectual revolutionaries—at least those who were successful—who put their heads together with the military and bureaucrats to bring down the absolute monarchy.
The Paris of Man Ray may have more to do with Dusadee Huntrakul’s intended pursuit of his somewhat elusive goal, art to conceptually empower his audience without a concern for making money.

This may may even yet resonate with a contemporary Bangkok where artists generally practice self-censorship and never-ending pursuit of money.

Lance Woodruff linkages in education and the arts, culture, history
and development of India, China & South East Asia, 90/4 Sukhumvit Soi
81, Apt. 2, Bangchak, Phrakanong, Bangkok 10260 Thailand.  Email: lance.woodruff@gmail.com



Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache: You won't be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace will come looking for you. -- Ajarn Chah

"Self'-portrait," by photojournalist Lance R. Woodruff, Saigon, Vietnam 1966

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

"This Way Out" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)



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