29 Oct. 2020 – 31 Jan. 2021
(Bangkok, Thailand; 15th June 2020) Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 (BAB 2020), curated under the theme, Escape Routes, will take place from 29 October 2020 until 31 January 2021. Today, 56 out of 82 selected artists are revealed, among them include: Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović, Bill Viola, Andres Serrano, Yoko Ono, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Leandro Erlich, Dinh Q. Lê, Lu Yang, Rachel Maclean, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsuk, Choy Ka Fai, Christian Jankowski, Elina Brotherus, Massimo Bartolini, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, and New-Territories. The international advisory committee includes David Stuart Elliott, Alexandra Munroe, Nanjo Fumio, Marina Abramović and Wang Chen.
The biennale welcomes 51 artists from 34 nations, alongside 31 Thai artists and will be showcased across nine venues including Bangkok’s contemporary arts centre, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and Museum Siam, which was established in 2007 in the former Ministry of Commerce. For the second time, historic temples will become a platform to showcase art works, including Wat Pho Temple (commonly known at Temple of the Reclining Buddha); Wat Arun Temple and Wat Prayoon Temple. Each of these temples were used in the inaugural edition, which welcomed more than 2 million visitors in its 4-month duration. (See notes to editor for a full list of 2020 venues)
Prof. Dr Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale said: ‘In the grave, fragile “new normal” world we live in, cracks are appearing everywhere. In recent months, we have been immersed in fear and despair of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused unprecedented calamity and disruption worldwide. The pandemic is a component in the desire for escapism.
‘Migration, unemployment, racism, discrimination, terrorism, pollution and climate change are pressing issues that urge the human desire to escape from despair and desperation. This brings out our primal instinct as humans to react under suppression and threat.
‘We announced Escape Routes in November 2019 under premises of the “old normal”. Escape Routes is the theme that will challenge issues stemming from the current predicament. With many international art events and biennials in disruption due to postponement and cancellation, art viewing has relied on digital and social media.
‘The challenge now, however, is how to represent art works physically as well as online. Escaping from despair and unhappiness are our common goals but ways and means may differ. By experiencing art in the new era of pandemic and protests, art is a form of sympathy, release and hope. We remain resilient during uncertainty and will fight for our industry to continue presenting work. The biennale world was once crowded, now heavily retrenched, we present this show within a different context and will be one of the few this year.’
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, ‘The return of Bangkok Art Biennale, which features a stellar lineup of internationally renowned artists, will bring together art enthusiasts from across the globe to the world’s favorite destination for art and culture. Marking the country’s recovery post-COVID-19, the inauguration of BAB 2020 will attest to Thailand’s proven capabilities and readiness to welcome every traveler with smiles and safety.’
Mr. Thapana Sirivadhabhakdi, President and CEO of Thai Beverage Pubic Company and Founder of Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation stated that, ‘As organizers, we wish to offer the confidence that Bangkok, as an international art destination, will be ready to receive visitors of Bangkok Art Biennale. We welcome you to enjoy BAB 2020 with events that have been adapted to the new normal, and we will take necessary precautions and facilitate viewers with utmost care, safety and comply to healthcare standards.’
Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) commented, ‘Bangkok Art Biennale in October 2020 is a mega event that will stimulate the economy as well as bring empathy and compassion after the COVID-19 crisis. TCEB is confident that this international event will draw interest from all over the world to Bangkok.’