Spinning Wheels by Kawita Vatanajyankur
At Jim Thompson House Museum
In Spinning Wheels, Kawita Vatanajyankur references the tasks undertaken by physical laborers in the textiles industry. In the work, she transforms herself into a hybrid of machine and organism, like a cyborg, and puts her body into arduous positions with repetitive motions. These actions are performed in quasi-nude form and set against a hyper-colored painterly backdrop. The constant motion signifies the territories of production and reproduction in a materialistic world - consumerism. In her work, her body becomes a site of tension for the struggle of human existence against becoming a simple cog in a machine. Her meditative approach shows, for instance, a laborer’s hardship yet at the same time shows the endurance and unwavering resilience against it. It also indicates that dualistic relationships of public and private, pain and joy, mechanism and self-enlightenment, resistance and acceptance can be physically manifested. Her performative oscillation between human and machine is suggestive of the possibility of human transformation and evolution. The site-specific and historical space of the Jim Thompson House Museum enables a contextual exploration of themes prevalent in her practice, including materialism, labor issues, feminism, humanity and machines.
About the artist:
Kawita Vatanajyankur was born in Bangkok in 1987 and earned her BA from RMIT University in 2011. Known for her videos and performances, Vatanajyankur believes art serves as a voice for the neglected and the marginalised. Her works have been exhibited at Singapore Art Museum, Dunedin Art Museum, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, and MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art (Bangkok). She currently lives and works in Bangkok.
This project is a collaboration between Jim Thompson House Museum, Jim Thompson Art Center and Nova Contemporary, Bangkok, with the support of the James H.W. Thompson Foundation. The artist wishes to thank 100 Tonson Foundation and Ban Sri Yan.