In a day and age where Coronavirus has forced us to cancel the vast majority of the world’s cultural events, the confirmation of the Bangkok Art Biennale’s second edition, which will run from 29 October 2020 until 31 January 2021, couldn’t be more reassuring. Under the theme ‘Escape Routes’, this year’s artists will lend their vision to challenge today’s most pressing humanitarian issues, igniting conversations on migration, unemployment, racism, discrimination, terrorism, pollution and climate change, source of our collective desire for escapism. In today’s “new normal”, the desire to escape from the pandemic’s global disruption will also be a component of the biennale, which has had to adapt to new ways of showcasing art, paving the way for a post-pandemic cultural landscape.
This week, 56 out of 82 selected artists were revealed, among them: Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović, Bill Viola, Andres Serrano, Yoko Ono, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Leandro Erlich, Dinh Q. Lê, Lu Yang, Rachel Maclean, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsuk, Choy Ka Fai, Christian Jankowski, Elina Brotherus, Massimo Bartolini, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, and New-Territories. The international advisory committee includes David Stuart Elliott, Alexandra Munroe, Nanjo Fumio, Marina Abramović and Wang Chen.
"The return of Bangkok Art Biennale, which features a stellar lineup of internationally renowned artists, will bring together art enthusiasts from across the globe to the world’s favourite destination for art and culture. Marking the country’s recovery post-COVID-19, the inauguration of BAB 2020 will attest to Thailand’s proven capabilities and readiness to welcome every traveller with smiles and safety,” said Mr Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The biennale will welcome 51 artists from 34 nations, alongside 31 Thai artists and will be showcased across nine venues including Bangkok’s contemporary arts centre, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and Museum Siam, which was established in 2007 in the former Ministry of Commerce. For the second time, historic temples will become a platform to showcase artworks, including Wat Pho Temple (commonly known at Temple of the Reclining Buddha); Wat Arun Temple and Wat Prayoon Temple.