PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT ALAÏA FONK
Exploring he interface between cultural heritage and contemporary art, this was the theme of the show “Transmission” in The Jim Thompson Art Centre. Located in the heart of Bangkok, the Jim Thompson Art Centre is situated in the same compound as the unique and famous Jim Thompson House Museum.
With storied collection of art and artefacts as its starting point, Transmission is a collection that is almost synonymous with Thai heritage. Thanks to the Jim Thompson Thai House and Museum its preservation and promotion of Thai culture. It is all about old and new, taking in centuries of cultural exchange and an area now bridging many countries.
The collection offers a glimpse into Thailand’s pre-national unconscious through the looking glass of contemporary art. Including seven contemporary artists from Thailand and Southeast Asia who all respond to the Jim Thompson collection in their own way. What Transmission suggests is that heritage offers much more than a sense of identity. Renewable resources for thinking, feeling, and making – conceptual, spiritual and practical knowledge, are also covered in the collection. Tradition is not just an inheritance of forms and techniques, but also a live process of translation and adaption that is integral to the experience of modernity.
Transmission opens a dialogue amongst forms – ancient, modern and contemporary – that reflects the region’s deeper, shared past and its inevitably common future. Through new and recent creations in wide variety of media, which ranges from woodwork and painting to video and sound installation, the collection raises the question of how knowledge is transmitted. Like the Jim Thompson brand itself, founded on giving time-honoured techniques a contemporary expression, Transmission advances a forward-looking view of the past.