Jim Thompson Art Center Unveils New Building
By Pamela Wong
On November 27, Jim Thompson Art Center (JTAC) in Bangkok reopened after three years of construction on a new building and renovation of the adjacent Jim Thompson House Museum. JTAC’s new four-story, 3,000-square-meter building was designed by the Bangkok-based architecture and design studio Design Qua (founded by Malina Palasthira and John Erskine) and houses two exhibition galleries, a functional rooftop space, library, cafe, and museum shop. The new spaces are designed to host more public programs, performances, lectures, shows, workshops, and other activities.
As part of the inaugural program, the group exhibition “Future Tense: Imagining the Unknown Future, Contemplating the Cold War Past” features 14 artists, such as Vacharanont Sinvaravatn, from Thailand, Che Onejoon from South Korea, Heman Chong from Singapore, and Austria-based Chinese sound artist Hui Ye, among others. The artists reflect on the lasting impacts of the Cold War, while ruminating on current sociopolitical unrest.
In addition to “Future Tense,” Thai sculptor Dusadee Huntrakul’s site-specific sculpture project A Trail at the End of the World (2020) is on view in the garden of the house museum. The work was inspired by the museum’s collection and the mysterious disappearance of its founder, Jim Thompson, in Malaysia, in 1967. On view inside the house museum is Thai artist Kawita Vatanajyankur’s performance video The Spinning Wheel (2018), which features the artist’s body as a component of a weaving machine.
JTAC is operated under the James H.W. Thompson Foundation, which was established in 1975, after the American military officer and businessman went missing. After being discharged from World War II, Thompson had relocated to Thailand where he established The Thai Silk Company Limited, and constructed a traditional Thai house, which displayed his Southeast Asian art collection.
Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.
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