A Conversation With Arin Rungjang

Arin Rungjang revisits lesser-known events in Thai history, deftly drawing together distant events across time and space to find their intersections with the present. His practice spans different media and often involves video and site-responsive installations. In this photo-feature, Arin brings ART SG on a journey through Bangkok to the Democracy Monument and Wat Borom Niwat, places that have inspired his work.

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Portrait of Arin Rungjang

Interview by Tan Siuli

Images by Marisa Srijunplaeng

Arin Rungjang’s research-led work interweaves personal, cultural and political histories. His video installations often focus on objects or symbols that connect major and minor narratives across time and space, offering up a lens from the present to view overlooked episodes from the past, and vice-versa. He represented Thailand at the 55th Venice Biennale with his artwork Golden Teardrop (2013) which centres on a traditional Thai dessert, through which Arin narrates a journey spanning five centuries of trade, war, and political intrigue. Another work, Mongkut, presented at the Jeu De Paume in 2015, traces the history of Franco-Thai relations through the cherished symbol of the royal crown, the title of the work itself a play on King Rama IV’s name (Mongkut) as well as the Thai word for ‘crown’ (Mongkut).

In this feature, Arin takes ART SG around sites in Bangkok that have inspired his projects, including his monumental work for documenta 14, and an upcoming presentation that revisits the reign of King Rama IV and his deft negotiation of power and sovereignty through the use of symbols and aesthetics.

WAT BOROM NIWAT

DEMOCRACY MONUMENT

Arin Rungjang, “246247596248914102516… And then there were none”, 2017.
Installation view, images courtesy of the artist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TAN SIULI

Tan Siuli is an independent curator with over a decade of experience encompassing the research, presentation and commissioning of contemporary art from Southeast Asia. Major exhibition projects include two editions of the Singapore Biennale (2013 and 2016), inter-institutional traveling exhibitions, as well as mentoring and commissioning platforms such as the President’s Young Talents exhibition series. She has also lectured on Museum-based learning and Southeast Asian art history at institutes of higher learning in Singapore. Her recent speaking engagements include presentations on Southeast Asian contemporary art at Frieze Academy London and Bloomberg’s Brilliant Ideas series.

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