As the government institution responsible for supporting and promoting contemporary art in Thailand, the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC), Ministry of Culture, Thailand, has undertaken a national initiative of organizing an international contemporary art exhibition in the form of a biennial under the name “Thailand Biennale”. Unlike most biennials in the world, what is unique to Thailand Biennale is the alteration of provinces in Thailand to host each edition. The host cities of the first three editions, namely Krabi (2018), Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat (2021), and Chiang Rai (2023), were chosen because of their potential as the pioneers of the Ministry of Culture’s “Art City” campaign.
As the commissioner, the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture envisions the Thailand Biennale as a tool to encourage the development of Thai contemporary art and to inspire the creativity of emerging artists, as well as to strengthen curatorial practices. Most importantly, the Thailand Biennale intends to be a key factor to add intrinsic and economic value to art and culture. We are certain that the exhibition will result in increased artistic collaborations and public recognition of the true significance and relevance of art and culture in contemporary society, hence fulfilling our vision and mission.
The third edition of the Thailand Biennale, Thailand Biennale Chiang Rai 2023
Theme : The Open World
The third edition of the Thailand Biennale is scheduled to be hosted in Chiang Rai, situated at the northernmost part of the country, under the theme “The Open World”. Artistic directors Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gridthiya Gaweewong, with curators Angkrit Ajchariyasophon and Manuporn Luengaram, will collaborate in exhibiting works from Thai and international artists from the Mekong region to the Amazon and beyond. The works address topical issues such as history, cultural diversity, and nature and ecology, and will be displayed across key venues in Chiang Rai such as art galleries, exhibition halls, museums, temples, and historic sites.
Theme : Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital
The second edition of the Thailand Biennale, Thailand Biennale, Korat 2021 took place in Nakhon Ratchasima Province under the theme “Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud: Engendering Sensible Capital”, with Yuko Hasegawa as Artistic Director, and Tawatchai Somkong, Vipash Purichanont and Seiha Kurosawa as Curators. Over 53 works by Thai and international artists from 25 countries were exhibited at ‘institutional capital’ sites that included hospitals, universities, temples, museums, zoos, parks, and local communities practicing traditional crafts, such as ceramics and silk production.
Theme : Edge of the wonderland
The first edition of Thailand Biennale took place in Krabi Province in 2018 under the theme “Edge of the Wonderland”. It was curated by Jiang Jiehong and featured the works of over 50 Thai and international artists, which were exhibited throughout Krabi: from the city to the beach and the ocean, on islands, in caves, and at various sites in the surrounding forest, mountains and national parks.