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Figures: ‘Anthropos’ at Sundaram Tagore

Nothing like walking over skulls barefoot to give you a new lease on life.

Nino Surabatra's installation What Will You Leave Behind?

Nino Sarabatra’s installation What Will You Leave Behind?

Don’t believe me? Go check ouAnthropos, currently on view Sundaram Tagore  galleries in Chelsea and on Madison Ave, where visitors can do just that–tiptoe across miniature porcelain skulls. On Anthropos‘ opening night in Chelsea artist Nino Sarabutra was on hand to guide curious gallery-goers across a runway of hundreds of these minuscule creations. Sarabutra is one of 12 artists in the group show of artists from Singapore and Thailand whose work considers human nature and the body from multiple perspectives.  The resulting melange of works render human subjects alternately as slashed remnants of canvas, residents of a fictional island kingdom, and traditional Thai shadow puppets.

Sarabutra’s skull installation, titled What Will You Leave Behind?, arguably stole the show. It elegantly divided up the space, commanding the attention of the entire gallery. She envisioned the work as a meditation on what is most meaningful, mindfully focusing on life over death. Anthropos‘ focus on the human body is most present in Sarabutra’s work: she is the only artist who not only allows us to look closely at the human body, but also encourages physical interaction with the work.

Kamolpan Chotvichai’s prints on hand cut canvas

Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, Asian art specialist, curated these works by eclectic emerging and established artists expounding on the human experience with their sculptures, installations, photographs and paintings. The show not only reveals the diverse cultural reference points for artists in Southeast Asia, but also traces new developments in these countries, particularly Singapore, where a growing interest in the arts has spawned new platforms for artists to garner critical acclaim.

Jason Wee is an artist based in Singapore and New York whose works for the show consist of abstracted portraits of residents from his fictional island center, Master Plan / New Black City. In 2008, Wee witnessed the difficulties emerging Singapore artists had early in their careers finding support and founded Grey Projects, a non-market based artists’ space that he continues to run, serving over 60 artists annually. He is hopeful that shows such as Anthropos will help artists forge connections abroad and develop a new connections they may not have forged by remaining at home.

Anthropos finds provocative and surprising ways of considering the human form. It’s also a fun reminder that whether based in Bangkok or Budapest, the human figure has remained a source of inspiration for centuries and will remain one for years to come. Perhaps Chusak Srikwan’s elegant cowhide silhouettes sum up the exhibition best: created to reflect traditional Thai shadow puppetry but referencing art historical models such as Botticelli’s Venus (The Birth of Venus) and Michaelangelo’s David, they titillate the senses while remaining timeless. Much like the human spirit itself.

Anthropos is on view at Sundaram Tagore gallery, 547 W 27th Street and 1100 Madison Ave, until October 4, 2014.

Chusak Srikwan’s cowhide creations

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  1. […] in full swing here in NYC. Have you ever wanted to walk across skulls inside a Chelsea Art Gallery? Check out Audra Lambert’s review of  Anthropos, currently on view Sundaram Tagore in Art […]

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