site-specific installation (in collaboration with Meike Kuhnert),
Installation views @ Sangnual lap Bangkok/Thailand
as part of La fete/ Galleries Night Bangkok 2019
Cultural Displacement Complex
acrylic colour, binder,
pigments & transfer print on canvas,
series of 6 paintings,
Mirrors and Markers of Charoen Krung Road
acrylic colour, binder & transfer print on Chinese lanterns,
diameter approx. 50cm,
edition of 3
Backstage Society - Truth and Lies
plastic masks, nylon thread, two fans, LED,
House of Tangle
mixed media fabric installation covering all five floors @ Sangnual lap,
Sangual lap presented the new collaborative project Second Life by Berlin based visual artists Michel Aniol and Meike Kuhnert on the occasion of Galleries Night Bangkok 2019.
The project started with a research trip to Thailand and Bangkok for eight weeks from December 2018 until January 2019. At this the artists investigated aspects of how foreign visitors and their various cultural backgrounds have affected the traditional way of living in Thailand (and vice versa) in the course of time and which forms of commingling of domestic and international cultural elements did and do evolve from this. In that sense Thailand is a fascinating place to deepen this topic as it is one of Southeast Asia‘s leading emerging economies due to its rapid economic development in recent decades, global trade and growth of tourism that are connected with a more or less big influence of international visitors and their respective cultural backgrounds. Through that influences local preserved traditions mark at different levels interesting transitional forms of material culture. Furthermore, points of contact of different cultural, regional and supra-regional influences are to be considered, which have repeatedly played an important role in the historical context of Thailand during the last centuries up until now.
The fact, that Thailand is the only country in the region which was never under direct colonial influence by western countries and rather trying itself to import useful elements of foreign countries and their respective social, technological, cultural and architectural goods and pawns, is another interesting aspect of the research topic. All the artworks on display at Sangnual lap were developed and produced on that journey. The exhibition Second Life covered all five floors at Sangnual lap showing a large-scale fabric installation by Meike Kuhnert and sculptural works, paintings and a site-specific installation by Michel Aniol. At several points of the exhibition the artists‘ works were overlapping each other initiating a dialogical get together.
Michel Aniol showed the series Cultural Displacement Complex consisting of six transfer-printed canvases as well as the sculptural work Mirrors and Markers of Charoen Krung Road, that is dealing with traditional Chinese lanterns. The third work by Aniol on display was the spatial and site-specific installation Backstage Society - Truth and Lies, that was formed by a range of various masks and was installed inaccessible at the backside of Kuhnert‘s fabric collage. These three works by Aniol referred to each other and blended into a mix of personal experiences and the research results in Bangkok and Thailand. In the beginning of the research phase Aniol focused on taking and collecting photographs of objects and situations in Bangkok that contained a variety of double meanings in a cultural context and were potentially able to be reflected on multi-perspective views of interpreting their respective cultural circumstances and potential prejudices.
For Cultural Displacement Complex a part of this footage material was used to be transfer printed by hand on classical canvases, combining photographs with partly painted transparent and half-transparent layers and forming images out of it that blend into each other and thus marking the idea of simultaneity, superimposition and commingling of various found cultural elements from different origins in Thailand.
Following this idea Aniol used Chinese lanterns that can be found all around the exhibition venue in the public space of Chinatown (as well as almost anywhere else in Thailand) for his work Mirrors and Markers of Charoen Krung Road. Those lanterns were allienated by transfer printing parts of the previously collected footage material of the surrounding area on the lanterns‘ surfaces, integrating the idea of a cultural mirror. The duality of Chinese lanterns serving as religious and spiritual as well as profane decorative and business related objects is another important element in the conception of this work.
The installation Backstage Society - Truth and Lies was consisting of various suspended masks, that got moved back and foth by a hidden ventilation system and were all purchased in nearby market areas of Chinatown. This work plays with the idea of various cultural „costumes“ and codices that many people encounter in their daily life. The main group of the hanging and moving masks is installed unreachable behind a big fabric piece by Kuhnert and can only be discovered by looking through the eyes of the backside of two attached masks on this fabric. In this way the spectators became automatically part of this backstage society by looking through the masks. The work is trying to trigger a self-questioning of the visitors‘ position in this symbolic constellation.