Book Launch: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook | I Am An Artist (He Said)

    Thu, Feb 16, 2023, 6:30pm

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    Join SculptureCenter for a book launch with Roger Nelson, Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol, Jeannine Tang, and Ruba Katrib celebrating I Am An Artist (He Said), a collection of writings by Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook now appearing in translation for the first time.

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    I Am An Artist (He Said)
    By Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
    Translated by Kong Rithdee
    Edited and with an essay by Roger Nelson and Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol
    Published by National Gallery Singapore

    “To be an artist is…just like shit in a clogged toilet, stubborn shit that can’t decide whether it wants to be flushed or to stick around,” writes acclaimed artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook. Composed as an irreverent dialogue between masculine and feminine narrators, this book of essays is an uncategorisable fusion of art criticism, feminist theory, art pedagogy, gossip, and autofiction. It is also an invaluable insider account of Southeast Asia’s contemporary artists being catapulted into international circuits since the 1990s. Rasdjarmrearnsook’s provocative prose is lyrically translated from Thai for the first time by Kong Rithdee, one of Thailand’s most influential cultural critics.

    This book launch marks the return of Rasdjarmrearnsook’s work to SculptureCenter, following the artist’s first retrospective in the United States in 2015, curated by former SculptureCenter curator Ruba Katrib.

    Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, best known for an iconic series of video artworks in which she performs a “dialogue” with human corpses. She began exhibiting her artworks in Thailand in 1979, winning several national prizes during the 1980s for her somber printmaking. During the 1990s, she started working in sculpture, installation, and moving images. Her artworks have consistently engaged with death, desire, and the relationships between image and text and between humans and non-human animals. She has held more than 25 solo exhibitions in prestigious museums and galleries internationally, and has participated in dozens of important group exhibitions in more than 20 countries, including the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and the Asia Pacific Triennial. Rasdjarmrearnsook’s writing has been just as prolific, and although hitherto little-known in the anglosphere, it is as a writer that Rasdjarmrearnsook is perhaps best-known within Thailand, where she lives and works. She is also Professor at Chiang Mai University.

    Roger Nelson is Assistant Professor of Art History at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was the 2022 recipient of the A.L. Becker Southeast Asian Literature in Translation Prize, presented by the Association for Asian Studies. He is a co-founding co-editor of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, a scholarly journal published by NUS Press.

    Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art at McGill University, with a focus on art produced under conditions of chronic illiberalism and strong religiosity. His essay “David Medalla: Dreams of Sculpture” was recipient of the Oxford Art Journal Essay Prize in 2020. Previously, he held curatorial roles at Singapore Art Museum, Tate Britain, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

    Kong Rithdee is one of Thailand’s best-known, most respected English-language writers about art and culture, and an accomplished literary translator. He has written on art and film for The Bangkok Post regularly since 1996 and is currently Deputy Director of the Thai Film Archive. His translation of The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth by Veeraporn Nitiprapha was winner of the SEA Write Award in 2015. Kong was awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government, in recognition of his rigor, humor and skill in opening up new perspectives.