A new exhibition by Vasan Sitthiket, titled Ten Evil Scenes Of Thai Politic [sic.], opens on 11th March at Number One Gallery, Bangkok. It will close on 3rd April.
In Thailand, criticisms are almost always made indirectly to save face, and discussion of sensitive subjects, even in the media, is usually camouflaged by innuendo. Vasan, however, pulls no punches; unusually for an established Thai artist, he is refreshingly direct in his treatment of politics, society, and religion. His new paintings, for example, explicitly depict politicians such as Thaksin Shinawatra and Suthep Thaugsuban as thoroughly corrupt figures succumbing to the temptations of sex and money.
In 2001, Vasan created an installation featuring wooden effigies of politicians hanging from nooses, unambiguously titled Hang Forty-Nine Thieves: Sentence The Cabinet To Death. The installation was a response to Chulalongkorn University's decision to ban forty of Vasan's paintings (The World Is Not The Theatre), which were eventually exhibited the following year. Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Withit Sembutr, and Anupong Chantorn, Vasan's depiction of monks has also caused controversy; his 1992 painting Buddha Visits Thailand depicted a monk raping a woman.
In Flavours, his book on contemporary Thai art, Steven Pettifor describes Vasan as "the country's most outrageous artist". Some of his video works, including the scatological There Must Be Something Happen, were shown at From Message To Media.