Tang Contemporary Art is set to present “Fragrant City,” a new solo show by Thai artist Kitti Narod. Curated by Guo Weiwei, this exhibition will run from May 15 to June 13.
Relationships have always been the focus of Narod’s paintings: Cats meow and curl around the feet of their owners; lovers embrace one another; men and women fall in love, running toward each other wild with joy; and nude men and women striking different poses wander into a dream-like world. In his work, people, animals and nature are connected and long for one another in different ways. These images, painted in bright, warm colours, often convey joy and healing. Everything Narod paints coexists in a city permeated with a strong fragrance.
Like everyone else, Narod has experienced complex emotions in the past year. In addition to the global pandemic, Thailand experienced political, economic and social turmoil. Narod observed and participated in various public gatherings advocating for the protection of people’s rights, equality and freedom. These economic and social issues became fresh sources of inspiration, which are presented in his new work using his characteristic style.
He depicts dozens of scared or angry cats expressing their emotions, or men and women shedding their clothes to show that all people were born naked and equal. “Regardless of socio-economic status or sexual orientation, everyone is the same… Everyone’s shared spaces and circumstances are represented in a utopia, or my ideal society—we respect every individual and equality,” he says.
Narod draws much inspiration from Renaissance church painting. The simplified features, slender bodies and physical shadows of the figures in his work are reminiscent of early Christian painting. In an overall effect that blends numerous elements, he repeats and layers one dozen or one hundred forms, without the space feeling cramped. These compositions draw on the way that Christian religious painting incorporates an array of complex details. He clearly segments simple backgrounds with straight lines, then spreads the people and animals over the painting in the most direct yet subjective way.
Narod makes easy and free use of individuals and parts, combining techniques and elements from Matisse and South American art. He portrays different features and identities with the simplest of forms. These forms are then grouped and layered into an agreeable, comfortable whole, achieving a complex unity in the paintings. These works embody personal memories and emotional experiences, transformed into shared memory.
In an era of social divisions, Narod’s work reminds us to appreciate simple joys and to focus on the ordinary, basic details of everyday life. As in his solo show “Joy Land,” he wants “Fragrant City” to express the desire for togetherness, unity and equality. For Narod, this exhibition is a healing process for a beautiful city, but it also offers us a brighter perspective on our relationships with a challenging world.
For an exhibition preview or more information, please contact [email protected]
*Please kindly note: Due to the severity of COVID-19 in Bangkok at the moment, the gallery will take extra care to limit visitors, maintain a safe distance between guests and take other precautionary measures. For the opening reception, the gallery will not serve any refreshments to ensure the safety of guests and staff. They apologize for this inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding.
Fragrant City: Kitti Narod Solo Exhibition
May 15, 2021 – June 13, 2021
Opening Reception: May 15, 2021 at 4pm
Curated by Guo Weiwei
Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok