UCCA Beijing

Surasi Kusolwong: Golden Ghost (A Guest + A Host = A Chinese Ghost)

2010.4.18 - 2010.5.20


Location:  Central Gallery

Surasi Kusolwong’s remarkable UCCA installation focuses on consumerism in a way of human activity that breaks with classic form. People can touch and participate in the artwork in a way that normally never happens in exhibition spaces. By reversing this system of values and the hierarchy of the art market, Kusolwong enables a fever around his work to create a commitment and exchange between art and visitor. He creates no frustrations or distance with visitors as they come together in this field of desires; rather he re-appropriates the exchange form of the consumer society itself and turns it into moments of happiness.

Surasi Kusolwong: The Dissipation of Separation between”Life” and “Art”

“Only when our life is entrusted fully to our own histories rather than catalogued as an object within history’s landscape, can we have a meaningful interpretation of the concept of life.” (Walter Benjamin)
Thai artists more often entangle their thinking with the loss of spirit in exchange for value, they sharply point out political discord within society, and they rethink the apparently “developed” morbid emotion of society misinterpreted and vulgarized by the public. They tend to explore inner spiritual expression, religious redemption, and consider how to release our minds from the pressure and troubles produced by this complex modern society. Their creativity often originates within Thai traditions, legends and the contemporary experience.

As those with a keen observation of the globalization process, artists refine and express their individuality through art, continuously pondering questions of identity and ethnicity; they probe and define their identity while still preserving their natural instincts to showcase a unique cultural perspective. Surasi Kusolwong is a fine representative in this regard. Kusolwong’s works typically encourages public participation by embracing the daily (psychological) experience as an integral component in his artworks, as he did with Thai message and market stall setups in other museums. With this great embrace serving as his artistic theme, it would seem that he pushes art and everyday life into ambiguous territories, but in fact, Kusolwong tears through the bounds that keep people believing what’s commonly accepted but not actually understood to discuss the linguistic concepts that extend the psychological experience.

Golden Ghost reflects upon the psychological issues of a consumer society. Kusolwong skillfully integrates traditional tales with our modern narrative; he transforms the exhibition space into a place for thinking and experiencing such issues of consumption. In this space, the artist reveals our “Golden” capitalist desires and the “Ghost” of our hidden human attributes, inciting a subtle disquiet among participants.

Kusolwong’s work challenges the common knowledge base and established perception of “art”, allowing the complexities of his investigations to brim over with a great deal of creative possibilities. He is an artist widely acknowledged within the international art scene and rightly so.

Guo Xiaoyan, UCCA Chief Curator

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