The work of Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook is both meditative and illuminating, often addressing the relationship between death and life in a tenderly unassuming way. Gimpel Fils previously showcased her video work “The Class” and “The Two Planets” in two separate exhibitions. In the former, Araya played the role of a teacher lecturing on the topic of death, and simulated conversation with cadavers obtained from a morgue. The result was a serenely thought-provoking piece on the enigmatic nature of the after-death conundrum. She further explored this theme of communication between different realms through her work “The Two Planets”, which engaged with issues of the perceived dichotomy between high and low culture, as well as East and West.
Her latest exhibition confronts a similar theme as she likens the predicament of stray dogs to the problems faced by ordinary members of Thai society. As part of Documenta, an exhibition of modern and contemporary art that takes place in Kassel every five years, Araya lived for several weeks in a chalet with only a dog for company. Constituting the windows of the chalet were screens playing her videos, facing the outside world. Her observations, woven unobtrusively with moments of surrealism, point quietly towards a profound humanism. Perhaps no other artist in recent years has prodded us into thinking about life in its tragic beauty as eloquently as Araya has.
Village and Elsewhere: The Treachery of the Moon is showing at Gimpel Fils in London until 20 April.
Gimpel Fils Ltd, 30 Davies Street, London W1K 4NB
All images courtesy of the gallery.