- b. 1970 in Bangkok, Thailand
- Working in Bangkok, Thailand
- Showing at Asia Society Museum
- On view October 27, 2020, through February 7, 2021
Natee Utarit, The Dream of Siamese Monks, 2020. Oil on canvas. Six panels, each: H. 74 3/4 x W. 70 7/8 in. (190 x 180 cm); overall H. 149 5/8 x W. 212 5/8 in. (380 x 540 cm). Courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist. Photograph courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist
- Location: Asia Society Museum
Natee Utarit, Casa Buddha, 2019. Embroidery, spray paint, and acrylic on linen. H. 118 1/8 x W. 472 1/2 in. (300 x 1200 cm). Courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist. Photograph courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist
Natee Utarit, Theatre of the Absurd, 2015. Oil on canvas. Triptych, overall: H. 98 3/8 x W. 212 5/8 in. (250 x 540 cm). Courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist. Photograph courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist
Natee Utarit, The micro history of politic no.3-Lost, 2007. Oil on canvas. H. 70 7/8 x W. 63 in. (180 x 160 cm). Courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist. Photograph courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist
This work was commissioned by Asia Society Museum, New York, for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone.
Natee Utarit’s practice focuses on interrogating the relevance of historical European painting, specifically within the context of post-colonial Southeast Asia. Working in series through the genres of history painting, portraiture, landscape, and still life, Utarit’s paintings expose and question the visual strategies that have been inherited and ingrained in contemporary painting outside the West, raising issues of how we perceive origination, authenticity, and hybridity in contemporary painting in the “post-West” era. Utarit graduated in graphic arts from the Painting and Sculpture Faculty at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, in 1991.
Khrua In Khong, one of the most celebrated nineteenth-century Siamese painters, has long interested Utarit as a historical example of an artist who had to assimilate a western aesthetic tradition alongside Siamese aesthetic traditions in his search for a new aesthetic style that would be responsive to modern times. Following this predecessor, Utarit’s use of kitsch imagery has produced an unusual series of paintings such as the Ballad for Khrua In Khong/Greyscale (2005). In this Triennial commission, The Dream of Siamese Monks, Utarit responds to a well-known mural by Khrua In Khong, People Viewing Giant Lotus (1865), located in Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, Bangkok, by assembling landscape elements from photographs, postcards, and mass-produced calendars as a reimagining of Khrua In Khong’s artistic process. The latter was known for incorporating imagery of people, places, and objects that he had only encountered through the prevalent forms of nineteenth-century mass media such as postcards and newspapers. The reference to monks in the title alludes to King Mongkut, who was in the monkhood for twenty-seven years before ascending to the throne and launching his dream of a modern Siam. Khrua In Khong developed a new aesthetic style fusing the flat lines and colors of traditional painting as exemplified by temple mural paintings, with western-style realistic gestures and a three-dimensional perspective. Most active in the 1850s and 1860s, his chief patron was King Rama IV (Mongkut). The ruler had embarked on a modernization policy that aimed to also learn from the West. It was the king who directed Khrua In Khong to create his new style of painting.
Supported by Richard Koh Fine Art