Historic sites (and malls) to become backdrops for contemporary art.

Now less than a month away, the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale has been talked up as one of the city’s cultural events of the decade. 

The event kicks off on Oct 19 and will run all the way through until Feb 3, 2019, showcasing 75 artists from 33 countries across 20 Bangkok venues, though concrete information on installations and exhibitions has so far been hard to come by. 

In the latest press conference, plans were announced to display contemporary artwork against historical backdrops including Wat Arun and Wat Pho.

To coincide with the event's opening, the riverside East Asiatic Company building is to play host to Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset, whose previous architectural and sculptural installations and performance art have been used to transform spaces, questioning cultural norms through subversive wit.

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) will get a taste of the Marina Abramovic Institute’s groundbreaking long-duration performances with a new work called The Method held from Oct 19-Nov 11. Serbia-hailing Abramovic is a Golden Lion winner and the subject of New York MoMA’s biggest ever performance art exhibition. Abramovic herself has also been announced to give a lecture at Siam Pavalai Royal Grand Theatre on Oct 24. 

After causing a stir in Singapore, Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s work will be gracing Bangkok, with the Bangkok Art Biennale website listing a variety of her iconic pumpkin installations as showing at Siam Paragon and CentralWorld malls. Both the art and luxury worlds go wild for this polka-dot loving octogenarian, whose recent “Infinity Mirrors” saw the exhibits and their viewers reflected infinitely in mirror-covered walls—a bid to capture the artist’s hallucinatory visions, which in the ‘70s saw her become a voluntary ward of the psychiatric asylum where she still resides today.

Some 36 Thai artists will also be represented at the four-month-long event including highly established names like Sakarin Krue-on, known for his elaborate large-scale installations with Thai cultural influences, and performance artist Chumpon Apisuk, as well as rising forces Kawita Vatanajyankur and Latthapon Korkiatarkul.

The event is expected to draw a significant number of visitors from both Thailand and abroad. An information center will be situated in the new One Bangkok complex near Lumphini Park to provide schedules, transport guidance and background information on the artists and exhibitions.

See more: www.bkkartbiennale.com