A LITTLE RICH COUNTRY ประเทศเล็กที่สมบูรณ์

Prateep Suthathongthai 22 Nov 2018 - 05 May 2019
In 1947 there has been rumours saying that Isan (Northeastern region of Thailand) is starving to death and the land itself is turning into a desert. A journalist from Siamrath immediately board the train to see what was there with his own eyes. His report of the region is compiled into a book titled “There’s no laughter from Isan” published with a pen name ‘Nai Rum’. In the time where communication comes in a form of whispers that drifted from train to train, the book is published to inform people about the far away situation as well as to criticised the government at the time of their abandonment of the region. 

But the most striking aspect might be the cover art itself. In which it depicted an image of a crying woman holding a baby. The image comes from a famous low-relief sculpture that is decorated on a bridge in Bangkok, the sculpture was created to express the grief of the country after the passing of King Chulalongkorn in 1910. 

A Little Rich Country, Prateep Suthathongthai’s third exhibition with 100 Tonson Gallery. In these new series of work featuring paintings and video works, Prateep continues to investigate the deep rooted problems of Isan region through its historiography and circulation of printed matters which influenced and casted the image of Isan since the Cold War era. The paintings in this exhibition depicted worn-out and faded cover of books that were once carried a heavy agenda to influence and promote certain message, the deed is now done and the books have already fulfilled its duties therefore it has become obsolete in its purpose. By revisiting these books the viewer will discern the once importance objective of why these books were created whether it’ll be to promote regionalism and nationalism or to inform people of the world’s matters at the time. 

In this exhibition Prateep also works with Paisarn Am-Pim to produce a video work titled “Isan chan roo khun kao jai chan roo khun kao jai Isan” (2018) In contradiction to Nai Rum’s “There’s no laughter from Isan”, one of the fragments from the video shows a sumptuous gatherings of people celebrating Kathin festival by cooking an abundant amount of food, manifesting the richness of the land. The video is both celebrating and scrutinising the conventional image of Isan in the present climate. 

The latter part of the exhibition is a collaboration between Prateep and Dujdao Vadhanapakorn, Thailand’s only dance therapist who will examine the conditions of how knowledge is produce and rendered obsolete through the use of body and sound. 

Prateep Suthathongthai (b.1980) is a Thai artist based in Mahasarakham, Thailand. He acquired Master of Fine Arts (Painting) from Silpakorn University. Selected exhibitions include : Khonkean Manifesto 2018, Khon Kaen, Thailand (2018); inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival 2015 – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront, New York, USA (2015); 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow, Russia (2014); Singapore Biennale 2013, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2013); Holy Production, 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand (2013) Ghost of the Coast at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia (2006).
Sponsored by inCube Arts