Curators: Pandit Chanrochanakit & Steven Pettifor
Commissioner: Prisna Pongtadsirikul
Marking Thailand’s fifth occasion at La Biennale di Venezia 2011, the Thai Ministry of Culture’s Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC) has taken the initiative of inviting artist Navin Rawanchaikul to establish the para-pavilion of Paradiso di Navin as the inaugural convening point to endorse global recognition for Navinland. In what is Thailand’s most ambitious national presentation to date, the Navinland Pavilion is site-responsive to the historic and entertaining locale of the Paradiso along the Giardini’s splendid waterfront.
Conscious to both the exhibition’s theme of ILLUMInations and Thailand’s ongoing fractious political landscape, Navinland is a multifaceted situational environment that challenges perceptions of identity and nationhood, through the trajectory of a borderless community. An extension of the Navin Party, a previously established network to connect Navins of the world, Navinland acknowledges the historical framework of kingdoms, republics, unions, micronations, and transnations, while extricating itself from geographic, theological or ideological containment.
At Paradiso di Navin, the public is asked to consider and register support for the fledgling non-nation of Navinland. At the transit area for the burgeoning collective of Navins and friends of Navin, Chairman Navin satirically subverts utopian idealism in extant art agendas.
Typically approached from a site-specific geo-cultural viewpoint, Navin Rawanchaikul is renowned for dynamic art works that involve direct interventions, social commentary, and an innovative style of integrating community or individual experiences into eccentric fictional tales. Incorporating everyday culture relevant and current to the chosen environment, Navin explores the negotiation between local circumstances and trends of globalisation. His oeuvre encompasses a broad array of media including installation, film, performance, mobile galleries, billboards, comics, games, merchandise and cocktails.
At Paradiso di Navin, the artist collaborates with Jim Thompson, to style the Paradiso restaurant and bar with indigenous Pha Khao Mar textile motifs. A leading Thai brand of fine fabrics and a dedicated promoter of art from Thailand, Jim Thompson also teams up with Rawanchaikul to produce associated memorabilia toward the greater recognition of Navinland.
Paradiso di Navin is organised by Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture, Thailand, in collaboration with the European Council of Art (Concilio Europeo dell’Arte). The project is made possible through the support of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited; Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong; Gallery Niklas Belenius, Stockholm; Double A (1991) Public Company Limited; and Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company Limited.
Born in 1971 in Chiang Mai, Navin Rawanchaikul is an internationally recognised Thai artist of Indian descent who has developed a unique and vast body of works that rely heavily on team spirit and collaboration. Questioning modern systems of artistic production and presentation, Rawanchaikul seeks for ways to put art in touch with the lives of everyday people. His work is often produced under the banner of Navin Production Co., Ltd., his production studio founded in 1994. In 1995, he initiated his landmark project Navin Gallery Bangkok, in which an ordinary Bangkok taxicab was transformed into a mobile art gallery. In 2006 the Navin Party was founded to unite Navins of the world under the common bond of a first name.
In addition to a series of community-based art projects that he has continually presented in public sphere, Rawanchaikul has held solo shows at prestigious institutions including New York’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre (2001), the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2002), Jim Thompson Art Centre in Bangkok (2006) and Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing (2009) among being included in several international art exhibitions and festivals. His works are housed in the collection of international museums and art centres including Foundazione Sandretto Re Rebaundengo per L’Arte in Italy, FRAC in France, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, Singapore Art Museum, Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, Inhotim in Brazil and Moderna Museet in Sweden. Rawanchaikul divides his time between his family in Fukuoka, Japan, and his hometown of Chiang Mai where Navin Production is based.