Oblivion beckons

YVONNE BOHWONGPRASERT, Bangkok Post , 9 November 2021

Contemporary artist Arin Rungjang's enigmatic artwork in "Oblivion" is a testament to the ingenious manner with which he addresses his subject matter, in this case, site-specific works bringing together video, installations and paintings. In this process, he creates a metaphysical existence of being and the state of nothingness in relation to the inherent desire for man to be free.

Housed at Nova Contemporary Gallery from today until early next year, the veteran artist's work takes you through the history of King Rama VI, coupled with his private life-changing memories that reflect on the universality of human emotions, regardless of one's social standing and creed.

The loss of his sister and the drastic limitation of individual freedom during periods of political and social uncertainties in the nation becomes the nexus behind Arin's new series of artworks. These private moments drive his desire to reconfigure, reframe and re-establish the subject/object, space/time, material/immaterial, and the senses/perception of his thought pattern.

Thus his artwork in "Oblivion" becomes a life journey of searching for the meaning of existence, with its ups and downs within uncharted territory.

rin, who is well-known for his smart use of themes, here jogs his artistic practice of revisiting history while overlapping major and minor narratives across time, places and language to tap the psychological aspects of humanity.

In this exhibition, the 46-year-old orchestrates a multi-sensory discourse to ignite the non-optical senses -- the smell of perfume of his late sister and the iron ore of their childhood home for one. Included in these are also the natural earthy textures of the paintings, abstract forms of the installations, and piano sounds to usher the audience into his private world, a place where he purposively silences the narratives to initiate the voidness where viewers find themselves surrounded by powerful evocative sensations and past memories.

The open-end structure in "Oblivion" enables the viewers to form their personal interpretations of what is on display, augmenting the existence of the being. Through the various apparatuses at his disposal, Arin tries to negotiate space for the arbitrary.

The idea is for the viewer to encounter the process of being a new self, free from past negative memories and heading towards a process where they can experience freedom. In doing so, Arin develops his unique artistic genre of utilising special moments to investigate political issues of the past as well.

Arin says "Oblivion" attempts to construct a sphere where viewers experience a vortex of emotions, some leading to more questions than answers. The remnant strands encourage public conversation in matters that are usually swept under the rug.