BANGKOK — Only a few weeks after Singapore hosted its first ever hotel art fair, Worlds Apart, Bangkok is following suit with its own smaller one. Due to run next weekend, the “Maduzi Hotel Fair” will fill two floors of the luxurious Sukhumvit Soi 16 boutique hotel with art from 12 Bangkok and Chiang Mai galleries.
Each of the participating galleries — which includes local heavyweights Thavibu, Numthong, H Gallery and Serindia — will get a room to fill as they see fit. Judging from the teasers on the fair's Facebook page, paintings and prints in wildly disparate styles will dominate their selections, most of them by big or emerging Thai artists.
While staying true to its regional focus with paintings by Myanmar's Aung Kyaw Htet and Vietnamese lacquer painter Dinh Quan, Thavibu Gallery's big ticket items will likely be those by Thai-Indian Navin Rawanchaikul and illustrator Thaweesak “Lolay” Srithongdee.
Meanwhile, Artery Gallery will have pieces by hirsute firebrand Vasan Sitthiket as well as graffiti street artist Alex Face; H Gallery will hang mixed-media works by Mit Jai Inn; and Numthong Gallery will hang watercolours by controversial painter Tawan Wattuya alongside works by Jiratchaya Pripwai and Promthum Woravut, among others.
Chiang Mai Art on Paper, a fine-art printmaking studio based in the northern Thai city, will also display abstract paintings by Somyot Hananuntasuk and Kitikong Tilokwattanotai. And the only works by international artists (including German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop, German illustrator Olaf Hajek and late Italian artist Piero Fornasetti) will be on show in the room by fine art and home interior boutique Seasons of Living.
Other rooms will showcase Whitespace Gallery, Serindia Gallery and Hof Art Gallery, as well as a collective of fine art graduates from Chiang Mai University who were invited to take part by the creators and organizers, local design consultancy Farmgroup. Leading Thai product designer Anon Pairot is also lined up to create a site-specific installation in one.
If the fair goes well, says Top Changtrakul, the local artist helming the project, it will become an annual event. To increase their chances of success (by luring in the city's Thai high-society it seems), they've added some razzle dazzle in the form of two “Celebrity Galleries”. The first will be curated by Dr. Disaphol Chansiri, a well-known private collector; the second by the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Bangkok, Wannaporn Poshyanonda, and her husband.
ARTINFO, for one, will be watching closely to see how it plays out sales-wise. Many of the city's galleries are looking to reach a wider audience, especially an international one, but are unable or just flat-out refuse to pay the prices of a booth at one of the region's major art fairs.
The "Maduzi Hotel Art Fair" runs 16-17 Feb, 10am-6pm, at the Maduzi Hotel, 9/1 Corner of Sukhumvit Soi 16. Entry is free.