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The objective and concept of this project was conducted by the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. They wanted to create a project in order to recompense the kindness of the Thai Monarchy, as the hotel is located on land owned by The Royal Family. Thus, they decided to commission Thai artists to produce artworks that would symbolise the Chakri Dynasty. With regards to the history of the Monarchy and the hotel itself, Siam Kempinski decided to use the ‘lotus flower’ as a central framework to this project. As I was selected to curate, display and make such a great project happen, I was truly appreciative and thankful for such an opportunity. I really wanted to use this project to encourage Thai artists as well.
When I chose the artists and artworks, not only did I have to study the concept of this art project, but I also had to consider the interior design and how to use an artwork to enhance the mood of an area. In addition, it was important for me to select the artists who create artworks with earnestness and determination. The artworks that they produced should convey a message to the audiences. To do this, I studied the artists’ experiences and their past works to check whether or not they were a good fit for this project. For some artists without much fame and experience, I had to get to know them to see their view and potential. They have to be able to improve and continue in this career with determination and commitment. And I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to show that being an artist is a real career, not just a mere hobby; a career with opportunities to progress and to succeed. In other words, I aimed to use this project by the Siam Kempinski hotel to connect Thai artists to Thai people.
For the artworks that were selected for this project, I was open to all kinds of techniques that could be employed by the artists. I think the artists should have the freedom to express themselves in any way they find suitable to produce exceptional art pieces. The only thing that I asked from them was that the artworks must be designed with one particular concept in mind; which was the ‘lotus’, in accordance with main purpose of the Siam Kempinski tribute. Personally, I also considered the “lotus” as the most suitable symbol to represent the relationship between the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, Thai local history and the society at large, as well as the concept of the hotel itself. I thought the lotus flower was important to Siam Kempinski in many ways. I studied the history of the hotel over the course of this project, and found that Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok stands on a plot of land that used to be a part of King Mongkut’s Summer Palace. This palace is known as Sra Prathum Palace (Lotus Pond Palace) because of the various lotus ponds situated there. In the 1960’s, part of this palace’s land was leased to build the first privately run international hotel, the former Siam Intercontinental Hotel. But in the year 2000, Siam Intercontinental Hotel was demolished to give way to Siam Paragon shopping mall and Siam Kempinski Hotel. This was the main reason why I came to think of “lotus” as the perfect symbol to connect the Sra Prathum Palace with the Siam Kempinski Hotel, a new landmark in Bangkok. The blooming lotus flower is also the logo of Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.
I was inspired by the history of the hotel. As I was researching the lotus flower, I learned that lotus is the symbol of the union of the four elements (water, earth, air and fire), representing a perfect harmony of nature. I then thought how to develop the concept further by using the rich historical and cultural background of the hotel, combined with the extensive Thai artistic heritage. Lastly, I like to consider Siam Kempinski Hotel as an oasis located in the heart of Bangkok, the hotel is a sanctuary for people to escape their busy life.
For all these reasons above, I decided to use the theme “lotus” as the focus of the artworks and to combine it with the different techniques used to design the artworks. I wanted to give a unique identity to every pieces of art while connecting them to each other, to the hotel design, history, and to Thai culture.
I will end this introduction by saying it is our aim, through the creation and installation of artworks at the Siam Kempinski hotel, and this online platform, to creatively preserve and promote Thai culture, Thai art and Thai artists, as well as the spirit of Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.
Surisak Kittisasikultorn, curator
© Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok │ Curatorial content provided by Art Consulting Thailand
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