Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paisan Plienbangchang on Chatchai Puipia's 'Kohn Mai Ow Nai' Club in Silpa Wattanatham column, 31 Oct. - 6 Nov. 2008.



Paisan Plienbangchang on “The Latest Production of Chatchai Puipia, Spearhead of the ‘Kohn Mai Ow Nai’ (‘useless’) Club,” in the Silpa Wattanatham column of Siam Rath Weekly News, Yr. 56, V. 6, 31 Oct. – 6 Nov. 2008.

It has been some time since his last solo exhibition. He has been gathering his work for a show for art lovers and collectors who would like to see the fruit of Chatchai Puipia’s ideas. Opening on Sept. 20, this show has taken particularly long to prepare.

The exhibition, which Chatchai has been the spearhead in carrying forward, took time to open: 5 months were needed to prepare for the show, which will finally close in January, 2009.

Throughout the entire 5 months, works are being brought in to show to the interested public who can come by, pass through, and enjoy and appreciate the periodically changing exhibition. The works change about once a month, in sets, but all remain within the framework of a society or persons in the world today who ‘mai ow nai,’ [are useless or worthless]. Like images reflecting in fragments of a thin, unfolding mirror, reflecting some sides, some angles of ourselves in our varying roles and dignity.

Chatchai presents the pictures, works and ideas in this group of artworks as the ‘Kohn Mai Ow Nai’ Club. and himself as the head of the club, the most useless and worthless. But, if someone who works as hard as Chatchai is the most worthless, I [interjects Paisan] would be the most of the most useless, even more so than him.

Because I [says Paisan] don’t have the forceful ideas which distill and deliver imaginative experience, views and perceptions, expressing them concretely in artworks which ironically and critically reflect a materialist, consumer and capitalist society - capitalism without limits. Chatchai shows, clearly and sharply what it means to be ‘useless, worthless’ humanity today. I wouldn’t have the wit to start a club of people who ‘mai ow nai,’ as Chatchai has done. He even publishes a bi-monthly magazine for such ‘worthless’ people to read and enjoy!

Chatchai should be regarded as one who works for the good, one who has risen up to bring together ‘worthless people’ who have so much ability, urging them to create many kinds of works with many techniques, and organizing an exhibition of the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club. This is a really well organized show of some glimpses of the true worth of ‘worthlessness’.

The Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club is not just a topic or the name of Chatchai’s show. It seems the club really exists very concretely, gathering together persons who see they are all without exception worthless persons.

The objective here of the ‘Worthless Person’s Club,’ with Chatchai in front as the spearhead, has been to collect works of various kinds and many techniques – paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, videos and short films – various media with different characteristics – and the bring them together to show in the 100 Ton Son Gallery between September 2008 and January 2009.

The Kohn Mai Ow Nai members have joined together to produce a bimonthly magazine to hand out to interested persons who might like to join their club. The target is 6 volumes per year. But their most important and interesting activity has been to provide funding for people in the creative arts whose work the club finds outstanding.

For the exhibition of the art of the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club, now showing in the 100 Ton Son Gallery there has been an adapting and changing of works, as mentioned earlier, a division into segments: Part 1 of the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club, showing from 20 September to 26 October, 2008. That segment was entitled ‘Count Me In.’ The principle works were largely by Chatchai - brought together into one large sculpture and many tiny sculptures of a people raising their butt to the audience. They are all lined up in a row on the black roof set up at the far end of the exhibition hall. Below the roof are 3 television screens showing three different short films in loops. Around the frame of the screen, instead of the television sets are sculptures of people with large black heads (the heads resemble that of the leader of the club). These heads, put there to keep a watch on the place, look very laid back and uninspired. *

Furthermore, there is a black wooden frame, scorched and charred from burning, set up opposite a black sculpture of a foot emerging from the wall in a gesture of crossed legs, as of someone reclining at leisure. Adjacent to the giant feet is a black stairway leaning against the wall. Drops of gold spray these stairs. The spots look like the feces and urine of an angel.

Next to the works from a lump of Chatchai’s ideas are some photographic works by Korokot Jienpinitnan and Thongchai Laokittichoke which give a first rate feeling of another aspect of Kohn Mai Ow Nai. Another view is in the Japanese style ‘manga’ drawings by Riuta Suzuki, installed above a glass table. The legs of the table are made of wood in a most interesting style. The 100 Ton Son Gallery has said that the table legs of the glass table have been put in place by a skilled craftsman funded in his work by the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club, of which Chatchai is the originator and head.

After 26 October, the first set of works will be removed and the second set (Part 2) will be installed. There will be an official opening on 6 November, 2008, for those who would like to come in and enjoy. In Part 2, the show will be entitled ‘Museum Home: Sequential Museum.’ Most of the works, it is expected, will be cooperative endeavors by Chatchai and Anek Nawikmul. They will bring in some ‘Collected Things’ from ‘Museum Home,’ which Khun Anek created with many friends to show in the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club exhibition.

The concept is rather broad:
“This exhibition is not aimed at presenting or modeling the real atmosphere from a real place (Museum Home) in the suburbs of Bangkok (Phuttamontone 2). But it is an exhibition of some art and culture. It presents information, for example, about artists who were famous in the past, magazines and illustrators, publications, old movies and books about old ideas, newly published by Anek Nawikmul, the driving force behind the building of Museum Home.”

“Also important, the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club sees that looking back to the past for stories and information - even for little things – will surely and without fail be helpful to the crisis of life and knowledge and the present crisis in the world order.”

“It will be necessary to follow up and check some of the models and views of the past which were created anew in the space of the 100 Ton Son Gallery. The mass of ideas of the leader of the Kohn Mai Ow Nai Club can give us a start. The audience may learn that studying the mistakes and failings of the past can be a tool and a resource for helping to solve present crises.”

During all the time which has passed, it looks like the wounds and mistakes of the past have never taught humanity today to think or realize anything at all. We see therefore that new wounds and failures arise repeatedly, again and again, along with previous mistakes, from the past to the present.

It looks as if humanity never realizes or considers their past mistakes at all. For this reason, we see the wounds and conflicts in Thai society spreading and intensifying and getting bigger day by day because of greed, so much greed. It is the endless and insatiable greed of some few. No one can say exactly where this disaster, the conflict and division, will end, or how the shattered pieces will fall in an age when the knights on white horses, the ‘truly good people,’ died so many years ago. Or are all the people in our country Kohn Mai Ow Nai?

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