Storytellers of the Town

Art Life , Exhibitions Apr 18, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook is no stranger to Australia, having exhibited her work back in 1993 in the first Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery. Storytellers of the Town presents an opportunity to view a mini-retrospective of the work of this internationally recognised artist spanning the two decades since. In addition to her practice as an artist, Rasdjarmrearnsook is an experienced writer and teacher. These separate pursuits come together here in a sculptural installation and 4 video installation works, including one multi-channel piece.

4A, Araya Rasdjarmearnsook

Has Girl Lost her Memory has been recreated several times since first exhibited in 1994. In a corner of the gallery, a large pile of corn husks support an upturned institution-style bed frame. The husks, pale yellow in colour, are sometimes used as offerings in Buddhist cremation ceremonies. A young artist when she originally made the work, Rasdjarmrearnsook, who lost her own mother when she was only 3 years old, has employed them as metaphors for the vulnerability and fragility of young women, while the bed symbolises “the ending of it all”.
Well-known for the use of dead bodies in her art, in her video The Class the artist – as teacher – appears before a room full of cadavers to deliver a seminar. Darkly funny, the artist interacts with her pupils with the intent of stripping away the colourless and humdrum ceremonies generally associated with the end of life.

Spread across two venues, Rasdjarmrearnsook’s early print works and two more videos from The Two Planets Series are exhibited simultaneously at the Drill Hall, University of Sydney.

Until May 10
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Haymarket
Pic: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Has Girl Lost her Memory (1994), recreated installation, corn husks and bed frame, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook. Photo: Zan Wimberley.

Sharne Wolff

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