Reading for Male and Female Corpses

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

Exhibition: Dec 10, 1998 – Jan 17, 1999

Rasdjarmrearnsook’s project at ArtPace is her first installation incorporating video. The artist is presenting three pieces from a series that investigates death and rituals of mourning. Filmed inside a morgue in Thailand, the chilling, emotionally raw pieces have an indescribable visual impact. The viewer enters a darkened gallery and approaches large projections on the walls which show the artist walking among stacks of female corpses and reading a traditional text in Thai about a man with many lovers written by King Rama II (Chakgri Dynasty, 300 A.D.). The second gallery presents a more intimate view, with one projection in the room with a single column and a chair. In the video, the artist reads a text in which two women are talking as the camera focuses on the corpse of a woman. The viewer passes through a darkened corridor to the final component of the installation, with five video projectors of an almost curved wall evoking the form of a pond. The artist reads a dialogue between a man and a woman as videos of corpses floating in water are projected in a fluid, graceful style.

Throughout art history artists have investigated death as a subject matter, from Goya’s etchings of plagues to Warhol’s paintings of electric chairs. Rasdjarmrearnsook’s view of death through ritual, prayer, and the power of communication creates an especially authentic experience, one that the viewer feels with every ounce of her body as she moves through this powerful, transformative installation.

-Alexander Gray


Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Born in 1957 in Trad, Thailand Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she is on the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chaing Mai University. She holds an M.F.A. in Graphic Arts from Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Throughout the 1990’s, Rasdjarmrearnsook has shown widely, including solo exhibitions at the National Gallery and Goethe Institute in Bangkok, Thailand and Atelier Forsthaus in Gifhorn, Germany. She had been included in a number of major international exhibitions, including the 10th biennial of Sydney, 1995 Johannesburg Biennial, 1993 Asia-Pacific Triennial, and Asia Society’s “Traditions/Tensions”
Rasdjarmrearnsook is one of the few women in Thailand making art in an international context. She works across many disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, writing, and installation. With a poetic, subtle voice, her work investigates women’s roles and identities, emotions and histories.

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