In cooperation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Director of International Projects & Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programs, Serpentine Gallery, London
On the occasion of the would-be 60th birthday of the internationally renowned Thai artist Montien Boonma (1953–2000), the Jim Thompson Art Center, the Thai Art Archives, and the Estate of Montien Boonma are delighted to announce an unprecedented collaborative exhibition [Montien Boonma]: Unbuilt / Rare Works, from 11 April through 31 July 2013, at the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok.
[Montien Boonma] celebrates the profound influence of Montien Boonma on current and future generations. The show brings to light some 60 original drawings rarely, or never before seen by the public, and newly uncovered archival ephemera, such as documents, notebooks, sketchbooks, printed matter, photographs, video footage, and related materials that have recently come to light through the collaboration of the Jim Thompson Art Center, the Thai Art Archives, and the Estate of Montien Boonma. The exhibition will be complemented by a program of guided tours and educational programs; in addition, this exhibition will feature an educational conference and a scholarly catalogue.
[Montien Boonma] is, in part, one of several culminating events of the Thai Art Archives’s “Montien Boonma Project,” first launched in 2010 with the aid of 150,000 THB provided by the James H. W. Thompson Foundation for facilitating new research and locate formerly lost or unknown archival ephemera — a goal recently aided by the generous cooperation of the Estate of Montien Boonma.
By gracious agreement with Hans Ulrich Obrist, [Montien Boonma] extends Obrist’s publication and exhibition project UNBUILT ROADS (1997), in which Obrist argues for the importance of artists’ unfinished, unrealized, or unexecuted work as important documents for shedding light on an artist’s creative processes. Notably, Obrist invited Montien to participate in a realization of UNBUILT ROADS in the late 1990s (Montien was unable to participate). The exhibition includes related correspondence between Montien, Obrist, and mutual friend Edouard Mornaud, who has graciously assisted the co-curators in its recollection. [Montien Boonma] features a conference and discussion — possibly including Hans Ulrich Obrist via SKYPE — on 9 May 2013, which will bring together early supporters of the artist and new scholarship by young researchers. The conference may be simulcast to participating venues worldwide.
This exhibition also references Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological concept of epoche , or “bracketing,” a philosophical approach calling for the examination of a subject free of all assumed truths, or received assumptions. [Montien Boonma] thus seeks to encourage a newly self-conscious extension, enrichment, and even deconstruction of the perception and the figure of Montien Boonma as his legacy is creatively engaged by current and future generations. It also attempts to explore dimensions of the artist’s work apart from already well-documented Buddhist influences, by situating Montien’s work in social, political, and economic contexts of Thailand and a newly globalized world since the late 1980s.
This exhibition is further inspired by scholar Virginia Henderson’s generous cooperation and her seminal 2005 essay, “Montien Boonma’s Unrealized Projects,” originally published in the catalogue of the distinguished posthumous retrospective Death Before Dying: The Return of Montien Boonma (2005), organized by Dr. Apinan Poshyananda (Deputy Permanent Secretary, Thailand Ministry of Culture) and a distinguished panel of curators—including current Assistant Curator Somsuda Piamsumrit—at the National Gallery, Bangkok.
In addition to celebrating the life and work of Montien Boonma on the occasion of his would-be 60th birthday (25 February 2013), this exhibition is unprecedented for featuring a surviving series of prints by Chancham (Mukdaprakorn) Boonma, Montien’s wife, who passed away prematurely in April 1994 due to breast cancer. An accomplished artist and printmaker in her own right, and a classmate of Montien at Silpakorn University—where they met before marrying in 1986—Chancham Boonma is recollected here for the first time in nearly thirty years by the generous cooperation of the Estate of Montien Boonma.
The exhibition will be on view from 11 April through 31 July 2013, 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. at The Jim Thompson Art Center, Soi Kasemsan 2 (BTS: National stadium station). Free admission.
[Montien Boonma]: Unbuilt / Rare Works
Please click to view
For further information and visuals, please contact:
Somsuda Piamsumrit, Curator of Educational Programs
The Jim Thompson Art Center
The Thai Silk Company Limited (Jim Thompson)
Sujanya Sethanandha (Kathy)
Prasit Kritsadaariyachon (Bob)