Yavuz Fine Art is pleased to present Thai artist Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew in his first solo exhibition in Singapore.
Winner of the prestigious Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2006, Nimmalaikaew has established himself as one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting new generation artists through his unique mixing of media, manipulating and combining traditional techniques in an innovative new way. Each work consists of layers of canvas, sheer fabric and netting set within a deep encasement, with pieces of loose thread deliberately draped and woven throughout. The artist then carefully hand-paints or screen prints his figures on each layer, resulting in mesmerising three-dimensional scenes that seem to shift with our own movements, as we peer deeply into the glass to study each layer, or take a step back to consider the whole.
A devout Buddhist, Nimmalaikaew’s oeuvre is grounded in Buddhist philosophy, and Dukkha: The Imagery of Suffering continues to explore religious themes. At the heart this exhibition, and of Nimmalaikaew’s practice, is the idea of ‘dukkha‘, a central term in Buddhism that is most commonly used to describe suffering caused by constant change and the unavoidable truth of life.
Yet, the eight new works on view are hopeful, rather than morbid. These otherworldly portraits depict the artist’s own family members, each in a different stage of life. While Nimmalaikaew paints his own aging father in Portrait (Father) and asks us to confront fears of our own mortality, Image of Inside depicts his niece, still a young girl, peering serenely out of the perforated cloth. There is a meditative quality to the works, a sense of the artist moving from anxiety, to understanding and acceptance, as he weaves his thread through the delicate layers.
Though inspired by Buddhist thought, the show’s thematic concerns are universal: suffering and sadness; change and uncertainty; impermanence and mortality; the cycle of life and death. Nimmalaikaew presents quiet scenes that ask for pause and contemplation, to consider life as the artist does.
Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew (b. 1980) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology and Master of Fine Arts from Silpakorn University. His works have been shown in Thailand, Canada and the USA, including a 2013 group exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, one of Thailand’s leading contemporary art spaces. He currently lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.