Wit Pimkanchanpong, Paddling Mekong River, 2019
Thailand Biennale 2023 / The Open World
Dec 9, 2023 – Apr 30, 2024
Thailand Biennale
Mueang Chiang Rai, Thailand

The first edition of Thailand Biennale was initiated by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Thailand’s Ministry of Culture in Krabi in 2018, followed by Korat in 2021. By alternating the locations from various provinces throughout the country, the spirit of the Thailand Biennale decentralizes artistic activities, highlights site specificity, and revitalizes local relics. In December 2023, Thailand Biennale is returning for its third edition in Chiang Rai, the northernmost part of Thailand, with Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gridthiya Gaweewong as Artistic Directors and Angkrit Ajchariyasophon and Manuporn Luengaram as Curators.

Situated between Mae Kok and Mekong River, Chiang Rai has had a long and complex history stretching back to at least the thirteenth century. The curatorial team embraces this historical context as a departure point and emphasizes Chiang Rai’s rich cultural heritage to explore the many facets of this vibrant and contemporary region that manifests the importance of the past. The power of multicultural exchange can orient the current global community. Chiang Rai has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and has been shaped by many different civilizational flows due to its strategic position as an intersection of intra-Asian connectivity. Its transformation from the center of an ancient kingdom to an outpost town, and a modern border city symbolizes how societies throughout the world have changed with the passage of time.

Titled The Open World, the theme takes its name from the Buddha image enshrined in Wat Pa Sak, one of the most important ancient sites in Chiang Rai. The posture represents wisdom and awakening as Lord Buddha descends from Tavatimsa Heaven to perform a miracle of revelation. With his power, he opens the three worlds – the god world, the underworld, and the human world so that they can see one another.