MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Cold War: the mysterious, the first-ever large-scale solo exhibition in Chiang Mai by contemporary artist, lecturer, and democracy and civil rights activist Thasnai Sethaseree. Along with a newly commissioned site specific work to be displayed permanently in the museum, the exhibition showcases a carefully handpicked selection of over 60 works in the form of multi-technical painting, sculpture, and video interviews that assist audiences in gaining a better understanding of the artist’s artistic process and practice.
Cold War: the mysterious investigates the relationship between “image” and political history from the Cold War onwards; The exhibition delves into events and narratives in complicated relationships and ideological conflicts between the hegemons that amounted to a series of proxy wars across the world, especially in Southeast Asia. The flames of the wars consequently fanned the political discord in Thailand that eventually spiraled down into the unforgotten tragedy of the 6 October 1976, among many other incidents of state violence, from enforced disappearance to extrajudicial killing.
This web of entangled relationships has been thoughtfully woven into a collection of collage works newly produced specifically for this exhibition, with each using a disparate smooth amalgamation of Lanna’s traditional paper-cutting techniques and. the artist’s unique image-transferring, paper-making and -dyeing, and color-making processes.
Sethaseree’s collages, both in painting and sculpture, are particularly thick, with dozens of overlapping layers of paper. Not only does their thickness represent the overlapping of visual elements, but it also symbolizes stories of atrocity in recent history that are hidden or shrouded in the beauty of spectacular colors. At the same time, these colored lines also line up to form symbolisms in iconography laden with a myriad of hidden codes that can be interpreted and linked to Cold War’s influence on popular culture, as well as socio-political theorists and pro-democracy fighters. As much as a series of individual points in history that are strung together into a narrative, this exhibition serves as a frontstage of the theater-state that is the Thai society and a memorial monument to those who have deceased.
The artist takes audiences to a visual experience where the complexity of the contents as well as the images present is intended to push the boundaries of visual perception; Visitors will be led around the exhibition by audio guides that narrate the story, event, and social contexts behind each work. Cold War: the mysterious will be on display from March 12, 2022, to February 14, 2023, and will feature public events, such as exhibition catalog launches, screenings of selected films, academic talks, among many other activities throughout the exhibition period.
On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition on March 12, 2022, there will be live music performances by The COMMON(ER) from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM and MAI Market from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Remark: Due to the COVID-19 situation, all participants are required to undergo ATK testing at the venue. We thank you for your cooperation.