In conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2018, The Private Museum and Richard Koh Fine Art are pleased to co-present the exhibition, Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces by leading contemporary Thai visual artist, Natee Utarit.
The exhibition features a selection of 7 artworks from the artist’s Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces series, which began in 2012 and has been featured in various galleries and museums in Asia. Consisting of a total of 12 works, these works are composed of multiple panels forming a diptych, triptych, or polyptych, following the tradition of classical religious paintings with elaborate frames and settings.
The body of works takes its inspiration from paintings that have traditionally adorned the altars of Christian churches. The Altarpieces is Utarit’s critique of Western modernism; a satire of modernism and capitalism addressing its seduction of local customs and traditions.
After its debut at Ayala Museum in February 2017 and its second stop at National Gallery of Indonesia in October 2017, the travelling exhibition finds a third new home in the intimate space of The Private Museum.
Natee Utarit (b. 1970, Bangkok) studied at the College of Fine Art in 1987 and graduated in Graphic Arts at the Painting and Sculpture Faculty at Silpakorn University, both in Bangkok, Thailand in 1991. Solo exhibitions include Optimism Is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces, Ayala Museum, Manila, Philippines (2017), Illustration of the Crisis, Bangkok University Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand (2013), After Painting, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2010) and The Amusement of Dreams, Hope and Perfection, Art Center of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (2007).
Recent group exhibitions include The New Frontiers of Painting, Foundation Stelline, Milan (2017), Thai Eye, BACC, Bangkok, Thailand and Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2016/2015), Art of ASEAN, Bank Negara Museum and Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2015), Time of Others, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (2015) and Asian Art Biennale 2013: Everyday Life, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan (2013).
His work is part of many renowned collections, such the Bangkok University, Bangkok, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, British Council, Bangkok, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand, Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, Fine Art Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, Burger Collection, Hong Kong and Switzerland as well as private collections in Europe and Asia. Utarit’s multifaceted practice focuses on the exploration of the medium of painting connecting it with photography and classical Western art. Light and perspective are some of the elements the artist chose to work with, focusing on painting as a means to explore image making. His complex pictures, juggle wide-ranging metaphors usually in the format of the traditional still life, allude to Thailand’s current social and political landscapes.
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Guest of Honour:
Tan Boon Hui
Director of Asia Society Museum, New York
Saturday, 27 January 2018