Past Exhibition

Korakrit Arunanondchai Songs for dying and Songs for living

August 30 – October 30, 2022

Art Hall, Art Sonje Center

Korakrit Arunanondchai Songs for dying and Songs for living

Art Sonje Center (director Jang Un Kim) presents Korakrit Arunanondchai: Songs for dying/Songs for living from August 30 to October 30. This is the first solo exhibition in Korea of a Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai. His video-installation Songs for dying was previously presented at the 13th Gwangju Biennale. For this exhibition Songs for dying is presented together with Songs for living (created in collaboration with Alex Gvojic) in a theatrical context, where a traditional proscenium theater has been inverted to switch the role between the audience and the story, between that which possess and the medium of possession.

Arunanondchai uses rich visual references alluding to animist ritual and contemporary modes of representation to present a story in which personal narratives are entangled with historical incidents to form a view on how personhood enters collective beliefs. In Songs for dying, the artist’s personal experience with the loss of his grandfather is juxtaposed with historical episodes such as the uprising and massacres of Jeju April 3 and the on-going anti-government protest in Thailand. Examining how these personal narratives and historical events are linked through a belief system formed equally by spirituality and propaganda, the artist raises questions about being and meaning outside of a Western ontological framework. In the process, he attempts to reflect on the source of a greater power and vaster energy through which the stories of the individual self and the community become linked beyond the level of the nation, the state, history, or political order. In this way, he raises questions about the cosmic origins of life, addressing the existential constraints of life and our inability to avoid the cycle of life, growth, decomposition, and death.

If Songs for dying deals with the separation between the spirit and the body, and between the governing ideology of the state and the collectivity of the people, Songs for living concerns how collectivity can be reformed through a belief in higher power, through the metaphor of the reunification of the body and the spirit. The animist symbols that appear as visual references in Songs for living, including ghosts, shamans, and a dying sea turtle, allude to the concept of time beyond the human lifespan. The artist has said that the “linkage of the spiritual and material worlds becomes visible when fragments of memory floating between the individual and community give rise to particular movements.” His synesthetic video and installation work is his attempt to share with viewers the energy and its transformative potential that these movements generate.

About the Artists

Korakrit Arunanondchai (b. 1986, Bangkok)

Born in Bangkok, Korakrit Arunanondchai studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. He has held solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York, 2014), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2015), the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, 2015), S.M.A.K. (Ghent, 2016), Secession (Vienna, 2019), Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto, 2020), the Migros Museum (Zürich, 2022), and Moderna Museet (Stockholm, 2022). He has also taken part in the Venice Biennale (2019), the Whitney Biennial (2019), the Istanbul Biennial (2019), and the Gwangju Biennale (2021). He is currently based in Bangkok and New York.

Alex Gvojic (b. 1984, Chicago)

Alex Gvojic is a New York based environment designer and cinematographer. His work focuses on creating “hyper-reality” environments that blend video, lighting, and cinematic tropes to suspend the audience’s disbelief, creating worlds that feel both familiar and foreign. By the transmutation of physical spaces, he explores the relationships between seeing and believing. His work has been presented at the Venice Beinnale, Berlin Beinnale, Palais de Tokyo, Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, MoMA PS1, UCCA, MoMA Warsaw, etc. Gvojic’s practice involves collaboration with a variety of artists including Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ryan Trecartin, DIS, Xavier Cha, and Fatima Al Qadiri.

August 30 – October 30, 2022
Art Hall, Art Sonje Center
Korakrit Arunanondchai
Hosted by
Art Sonje Center
Curated by
Sunjung Kim (Artistic Director, Art Sonje Center), Je Yun Moon (Project Director, Art Sonje Center)
Sponsored by
Kukje Gallery