MORE OR LESS QUEER
Curated by Brian Curtin
Nospace Gallery, Bangkok
March 3-13, 2011
Opening Party on Thursday, March 3 from 18.30
Nospace Gallery is very pleased to announce the first queer-themed exhibition of visual art for Bangkok. More or Less Queer revisits the radical ambitions of the initial emergence of theorized notions of queer-ness in terms of contemporary significance. The title points to tensions between these ambitions and issues such as the politics of assimilation, the on-going demands of divisive categories of gender and sexuality, and new global contexts.
Queer Theory emerged as an academic discipline in North America in the 1990s further to the impact of feminism, gay and lesbian studies and critical theory, amongst other disciplines and factors. This emergence was premised on the claim that normative categories of identity are inherently unstable and therefore an insufficient foundation for issues of who or what we are. Further, Queer Theory distinguished itself with a central focus on language and/or representation.
Queer Theory is now established as an academic discipline and is burgeoning in Asia. Contexts that use the term queer are widespread.
However, the initial context and background for the emergence of Queer Theory has all but disappeared. Major socio-cultural shifts include the groundswell of support for gay marriage and, in tandem, a shift in the terms by which gay men and lesbians might view themselves. Further, ideas of ‘gay culture’ and ‘queer communities’ have become extensively commodified and commercialized; and brutality, oppression and intolerance continue to characterize the lives of those who are perceived as not representing a normative model of identity. Finally, international flows of information and knowledge continually re-figure the understanding and use of Queer Theory.
More or Less Queer essentially re-examines how a critical engagement with representation can provoke and resist ever-shifting understandings of identity and subjectivity. More or Less Queer inquires into the new possibilities and limits of such critical engagement for contemporary contexts.
The artists included cross generations and nationalities. A humorous but disconcerting short film by Ohm Phanphiroj places the viewer in the position of gay man attempting to seduce a beautiful, young white straight man. Filmed at night in a bedroom, the naked young man responds to provocative questions by a disembodied voice with a conflicted sense of interest, desire, resistance and agitation; a perfect description of how any of us negotiate the given rules of sexual identity. Rene Smith’s collages employ pin-ups from the early years of Playgirl magazine and play with ideas of gendered spectatorship and ever-shifting historical mediations of visual culture. Mark Robbins probes the social contexts of normative notions of artificiality and gay male subjectivity by raising questions about how queer identities exist in relation to the spaces we think we already know. Panpan Narkprasert directly engages the manipulative rhetoric of visual representation with a seemingly pornographic short film that demands we re-consider the terms of interpretation and comprehension.
Panpan Narkprasert is a BFA graduate from UCLA, where he studied under artists such as Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie, and held an acclaimed exhibition titled Kiss My Reers at H Gallery in Bangkok during 2010. Ohm Phanphiroj is an award-winning international artist and photographer who has received more than 10 international awards and published 11 books, 3 of which are solos. Ohm was named one of twelve most influential artists in 2004 by Genre magazine, and his book Rare Views was named the best photography book in 2005 by the same magazine. Mark Robbins bridges the fields of art and architecture. He explores the intersection of the built environment with cultural practices, focusing on the relationship between commercial and mainstream political representations and the actualities of daily life. He is a recipient of a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Households was published as a book by Monacelli Press and Angles of Incidence, a monograph on Robbins' projects, was published by Princeton Architectural Press. Rene Smith received her MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and was a visiting lecturer in fine art at Chiang Mai University in 2008-09. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at Saint Thomas Aquinas College in New York. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Chiang Mai University, a two person show at Koi Art Gallery Bangkok, and the Siam Art Fair with BKK Art House Gallery.
Brian Curtin is an Irish-born lecturer, art critic and curator of contemporary art. He holds a Ph.D. in studio art from the University of Bristol and has been based in Bangkok for ten years. Teaching posts include the Faculty of Architecture of Chulalongkorn University, the School of Architecture and Design at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi and Raffles Design Institute. Brian publishes internationally with magazines such as Frieze, Flash Art and Artforum.com. He is a contributing editor to Photo Art: Contemporary and Fine Art Photography and a regular writer for Art 4D and the Bangkok Post. Curatorial projects include Here, There, Now: Contemporary Art from India for Gallery Soulflower in 2007, Sensational Selves: Thinking through the Human Body in Some Recent Art from Bangkok for the Art Center of Chulalongkorn University in 2008 and, with Professor Steve Dutton, Unspeaking Engagements, which traveled between Bangkok and Coventry University in the UK during 2009-10. He is currently working on a number of writing projects about images of protest in relation to political unrest in Thailand and will curate /Bangkok/, an exhibition that reflects on representations of the city, for Ardel DOB Gallery in January 2011.
Brian was a judge for the Royal Over-Seas League annual art competition during November 2010
More Information: http://mediaart.bu.ac.th/index.php/faculty/1/31
Sample Picture of Mark Robbins's Artwork
Sample Picture of Rene Smith's Artwork
Nospace Gallery: Opening Hours: Thursday-Sunday: 2PM-8PM
(Close Monday-Wednesday) Please phone for appointment: 084-1341184