The 5th Beijing Biennale marks the return to the Biennale for Kriangkrai Kongkhanun who previously had his work displayed there in 2008 when the Biennale coincided with the Beijing Olympics. This year, the Biennale proved no less eventful with 261 artists originating from 85 countries. So far, the Beijing Biennale has been held successively for four times in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010. The participating artists have totaled more than 2000 and the visitor numbers have reached an estimated one million during the past seven years.
|Kriangkrai Kongkhanun, Whirlpool 1-3, Woodcut, 200x300 cm, 2010|
|Kriangkrai Kongkhanun, Beijing Biennale 2012|
Apart from the physical world which we inhabit, another aspect which directs us to our future is our spiritual strength. By understanding our inner core, we can determine the course of our lives. Lack of understanding can cause us to lose our way. Kriangkrai Kongkhanun’s work explores the idea that hell is within us. His work – woodcut prints – that was selected for the Biennale was exhibited in a series of three panels, each depicting aquatic scenes with amorphic, mutated versions of sea creatures. These brutal creatures of his imagination have fluid-like motion that seems to drag the viewer down - literally into the pits of hell. This feeling of the hell within us is a constant theme in Kriangkrai’s work as he is largely influenced by the Theravada strain of Buddhism, the predominant religion of his native country, Thailand. Even though this work is based on religion, the sensations depicted in the work – anger, confusion, helplessness – is a constant presence in most people’s lives. These emotions shape our reality and can define our future. If we become overwhelmed by our emotions, what does this mean for our personal future? Can we hope to attain our lofty goals when our own compass us fails due to our inner turmoil?