Bertrand Valère, Pinaree Sanpitak : plasticienne, Montreuil, Ed. de l’oeil, 2002→
Grayson Saisha & Reilly Maura, Quietly floating : Pinaree Sanpitak, New York, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, 2010
Temporary Insanity, The Art Center, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok, 2004→
Hanging by a Thread, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 2012→
Anything Can Break, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, 2015
Thai mixed media artist.
Pinaree Sanpitak, one of Thailand’s foremost contemporary artists, received a scholarship from the Japanese government and trained in Japan, obtaining a BFA from the University of Tsukuba in 1986. Among the first wave of Thai practitioners who developed a language of contemporary art that mixed multi-media and conceptual approaches in the 1980s-1990s, P. Sanpitak participated in her first group exhibition in Tokyo, in 1986. Three years later, the artist’s international career was launched when she joined the Asia-Pacific contemporary art circuit, exhibiting in the 2nd Artists’ Regional Exchange (ARX2), in Perth, Australia.
From the beginning of her professional ascent, P. Sanpitak has demonstrated her versatile approach to medium. Effortlessly combining photography, collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, and site-specific installation, she deploys a wide array of materials and techniques, classical and unconventional, according to each work’s expressive exigencies – paper, textile, glass, candles, ceramics, topiary, sound, and food, among others. Her experimentation with media, coupled with her interest in organic structures and concepts, supports her art’s restrained lexicon of images centring on the human form.
Initially, the artist’s images were principally abstracted representations of the female body. By the late 1990s, she began focusing on breast and vessel shapes, and some years later, playing on the breast’s ambiguous outline, she devised her idiosyncratic breast-vessel-stupa representation. This conflation of forms, with its trio of powerful symbolic associations – solace, nurture, and spiritualism – extended the dynamism of P. Sanpitak’s emblematic breast image to create a metaphoric dialogue with audiences. In 2003, her Noon-Nom marked a turning point in the artist’s practice, as the installation’s sensuality and spatial command prompted viewers to participate performatively by plunging into its breast-cushion components. This action, starting as a form of surrender, evolved into a form of empowerment, such that Noon-Nom can be seen as having a social interpretation. Breast Stupa Cookery (ongoing from 2005), which is also participative and performative through the caring action of food preparation in breast-shaped moulds, also suggests critical dichotomies: those between individuals and the collective, and freedom and containment.
Recently, the artist has extended her repertoire with hammock forms emblematising rhythmic movement. Through its many modes of presentation, intimate or monumental scale, and inventive media, P. Sanpitak’s limited iconography, conveys distinctive atmospheres and responses, so remaining visually and conceptually fresh despite formal re-statement. Frequently framed within feminist discourse, P. Sanpitak’s practice transcends identity politics to speak to broadly relevant social and human concerns. In its underlining of the woman-icon, her practice is couched in a Southeast Asian cultural context where women traditionally wielded power. As one of relatively few internationally-acclaimed Thai female artists, P. Sanpitak is today an important beacon for women artists in Thailand seeking to make their mark in contemporary art.
Pinaree Sanpitak, Noon–Nom, 2001-2002, organza, synthetic fiber, variable dimension, exhibition view : Breasts and Beyond, Bangkok University Art Gallery, 2002, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Kiyoyuki Sawai
Pinaree Sanpitak, Breast Stupas, 2000-2001, 37 unthreaded silk pieces, 122 x 500 cm each fabric, fabrics by Jim Thompson, The Thai Silk Co. Ltd. Co., exhibition view: Breasts and Beyond, Chulalongkorn University Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand, 2002, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol
Pinaree Sanpitak, Anything Can Break, 2011, handmade glass, paper, specially composed music, motion sensors, sound system, variable dimensions, installation view, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, United States of America, 2014-2015, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Pinaree Sanpitak
Pinaree Sanpitak, Hanging by a Thread, 2012, tie-Hammocks with Paa-Lai, traditional Thai printed cotton fabric, variable dimensions, Collection Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, United States of America, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Museum Associates / LACMA
Pinaree Sanpitak, Vessels and Mounds : Continued – Compelled – Comforted, 2000-2001, molded scented candles, charcoal, pencil on paper, 8 drawings, 150 x 200 cm each, exhibition view Glocal Scents of Thailand, Edsvik Konst & Kultur, Sweden, 2000, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Manit Sriwanichpoom
Pinaree Sanpitak, Breast Stupa Cookery, 2005-today, 3 days event Breast Stupa Cookery Market co-organized by ROCKET and ART-U ROOM with chefs Yuki Kimura, Satoko Kobiyama and Yoyo, set up by designer Philippe Stouvenot of Transprofil and ceramist Mo Jirachaisakul and Pim Suthikam, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Pinaree Sanpitak
Pinaree Sanpitak, Murano Breast Stupa Cookery Glasswares, 2007-2008, set of 100 / 4 editions, Collection The Artist, private collections and Sansab Museum of Contemporary Art, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Pinaree Sanpitak
Pinaree Sanpitak, Breast Leaves I, 2000-2001, cast aluminum, variable dimensions, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol
Pinaree Sanpitak, The Hammock, 2014, blown glass, steel, edition of 3, collection Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, United States of America, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney Australia, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Toledo Museum of Art
Pinaree Sanpitak, The Black and the White, 1995, acrylic, pastel and charcoal on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol
Pinaree Sanpitak, The Egg (Left Painting), 1997, charcoal, acrylic and pastel on canvas, 200 x 210 cm, Collection Sansab Museum of Contemporary Art, Courtesy Pinaree Sanpitak, © Photo: Aroon Permpoonsopol