Organised by The European Union Member States,
The European Commission and Silpakorn University
2-20 February 1999
The Art Gallery of the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and
Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University.
The Gallery of Art&Designs, the Faculty of Decorative Arts,
Silpakorn University.

Notes on "ALTER EGO

Thai-EU Contemporary Art Project, "ALTER EGO" is the first of its kind that has ever been held in Thailand. This project is the initiative of the European Union with the cooperation of Silpakorn University.

The concept of the exhibition is to develop a close relationship between Thailand and European Union countries. In pursuit of this goal, it is important to share their respective cultures. European artists will be working in Thailand as artists in residence. They will be working closely with selected Thai artists. This collaboration on the part of the artists attests to the creative stimulation and personal growth each will gain from their cross-cultural dialogues and experiences. By mixing with their Thai artistic colleagues, these individual European artists will be able to initiate a dynamic exchange that is significant to their development as well as to the deepening cultural relationship between Thailand and European countries. Hopefully, in the near future Thai artists will be able to work and exhibit their works with their European counterparts in European countries, interacting with each other within a unique cultural milieu.

The Thai-European joint exhibition will significantly enhance cross-cultural dialogues not only between the participating artists but also extend to potential interchanges of ideas and understanding for art students, other artists and the public. It is the objective of the art exchange programs to foster people's understanding of contemporary art in Thailand and European countries and their creativity as well as their cultures by promoting interaction of artists, local people and ordinary citizens. It is also hoped that the intergration of the cultural diversity through the artistic exchange between Thailand and European countries will also successfully lead to the realization of more exciting exhibitions which involve other Asian countries in the future.

The member states of the European Union selected their own artists for the project. In order to match up with the EU artists, the selection of the Thai artists who have abilities to collaborate with their European counterparts is based on characteristics of art works, media used and techniques, age as well as language ability particularly English.

Thirteen Thai artists are paired up with thirteen EU artists working collaboratively on this unique project to materialize their shared concepts, techniques via the visual arts forms. The process and communication between the artists, Thai and EU are more important than the end products.

It is important to note that each pair of artists do not neccessarily work together on the same piece of art work. Some of the pairs work seperately to exchange their dialogues. Some share the same kind of ideas on subject matters and some on the use of materials and techniques.

Despite the time constraints, the selected artists for the exhibition have interesting processes playing with artistic means and techniques, ranging from using local materials to high-tech media. Subject matters focus on socio-cultural, everyday experience, spiritual, city and inter-regional which contributes to international/global culture. Works created for this exhibition are in the forms of painting, sculpture, prints, video, computer, photography, drawing and installation.

The theme of the exhibition, "ALTER EGO" establishes that cultural exchanges and communication through art create an international language that goes beyond cultural and national boundaries.

Basically, cultural interaction tends to magnify differences but the artists selected for this exhibition have lessened the "self" and turn to encourage "the other". The artists are not so confined with their own traditional roots. As a consequence, one's own borders are dissolved.

Through commonality and differences expressed in the art work, the new language is used for communication. The artists very well apply their new sensibility to the point where art, language and reality become integrated although they only have three weeks to materialize their works together.

Somporn Rodboon curator
February 1999