Thai artist Kawita Vatanajyankur is invited for her first solo show in Switzerland. With Looping Paradoxes the Gallery inaugurates its new premises.
Protagonist of the contemporary Asian, Australian and American art scene, Kawita investigates the vulnerable female condition, provoking questions surrounding the place of cultural identity, feminism, women’s work, consumerism and lived experiences – classified through a lens of hyper-coloured realism and the intensity of physical versus material composition and abandonment.
LOOPING PARADOXES features works from three different series, developed since 2015 and ongoing: Performing Textiles, Work and Splash. Performing Textiles is the title of a suite of video works in which the artist powerfully critiques the many challenges faced by Thai women (and more broadly Asian migrant women) in relation to the backbreaking physical manual labour processes of contemporary manufacturing industries.
The Work serie, is an exploration of everyday and domestic work, particularly telling of her Thai homeland. A place where, for many, daily chores aren’t always assisted by electronic contraptions or white goods but are time-consuming, physically exhausting, and often the task of women. The videos’ happy, day-glow colours, dark humour and undercurrents of violence, however, bring a universality and contemporary currency to the historical trajectory of feminist art. It is telling, for instance, that she describes her performances as “meditation postures”, when such gruelling tests of resilience and fear are quite the opposite of what we might think of now as zen. But, for Vatanajyankur, extreme physical endurance offers a way to free herself from her mind: a mechanism to lose her sense of being. This deliberate objectification, she says, turns her body into sculpture.
Splash is a new approach towards a different artistic practice as it rather focuses on commenting the modified lies, modification and manipulations behind consumerism. Packages of food are printed and painted with surrealistic happy characters and graphics, bright and colorful logos, as well as idealistic and perfect shapes and colors of meat covering the truth behind the untold, unreachable, unseen stories of exploitations, violence and disturbance. Withing the use of different media, this exhibition offers a vignette into the physicality and vulnerability of the feminine body, and the activities in which female bodies are engaged in almost impossible balancing acts, while captivating and luminous colors characterize an aesthetic research that draws on the visual language of the network, a sarcastic allusion to consumerism that claims to give instant gratification.